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By Harold J. Berman

Accomplished in 1964, Harold J. Berman's long-lost tract indicates how appropriately negotiated, translated and formalised felony language is key to fostering peace and knowing inside of neighborhood and foreign groups. Exemplifying interdisciplinary and comparative criminal scholarship lengthy prior to they have been trendy, it's a attention-grabbing prequel to Berman's huge legislation and Revolution sequence. It additionally anticipates a few of the major issues of the fashionable activities of legislation, language and ethics. In his advent, John Witte, Jr, a scholar and colleague of Berman, contextualises the textual content in the improvement of Berman's criminal concept and within the evolution of interdisciplinary felony experiences. He has additionally pieced jointly a number of the lacking sections from Berman's different early writings and supplied notes and significant equipment all through. An Afterword by means of Tibor Várady, one other pupil and colleague of Berman, illustrates through glossy circumstances the knowledge and software of Berman's theories of legislations, language and group.

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John B. Carroll, The Study of Language: A Survey of Linguistics and Other Related Disciplines in America (Harvard University Press, 1953), 1–3, 8. Roman Jakobson, one of America’s most distinguished authorities on linguistics, has deplored this tendency toward specialization within linguistics and toward the divorce of linguistics from other sciences. , 1956), 55. See also Jakobson’s concluding statement in “Results of the Conference of Anthropologists and Linguists,” in Indiana University Publications in Anthropology and Linguistics: Memoir, Issue 8 (Baltimore, MD: Waverly Press, 1953).

103 The problem of translation into legal argument, especially within the courtroom, is taken up in earnest by Milner S. Ball in The Promise of American Law. Ball, a longstanding friend and admirer of Berman, moves from the translation of legal languages to the translation of law into dramatic enactment. Ball conceives the entire legal process along the lines of theater, where justice must be done, but, just as importantly, justice must be seen to be done. The trial itself, for Ball, is an event of community ratification and belonging.

Much contemporary work on law and language within the “linguistic school” is done to improve the conduct of trials before juries. The “plain language” movement has been an American echo of Bentham’s original cry for clarity in legal vocabulary, later echoed by Mellinkoff. 112 This plain language movement goes beyond what Berman called for in Law and Language. 114 Modern legal linguists may disagree with the latter accent. As Gail Stygall notes, courtroom discourse, though highly predictable if understood, is at a distance from ordinary language.

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