Corruption in words: a study of Spanish and English criminal terminology in Europe

María Ángeles Orts, Ángela Almela


Political corruption –conceived here, in accordance with Transparency International’s definition, as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gains” – is perceived as a dire problem in Europe, where there is a deep sense of frustration that institutions and political actors are not living up to ethical standards. The present work endeavours both a qualitative and a quantitative study of criminal terminology regarding corruption in Spanish and its version in English. Precisely, the goal of this paper is, first, to give an account of the way in which corruption terminology is applied in the legal discourse of both languages, and then, whether such usage occurs in a similar way in the press of either language. In general terms, terminological irregularities regarding the normativization of corruption crimes within the EU should arise as might be expected because it is a supranational rule of law that mainly contains two systems springing from two different legal traditions: the English-speaking Common law and the Continental, or Civil law.

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