BEOWULF SHAKESPEARE AMERICAN ENGLISH PLAIN ENGLISH BEST ESSAYS

AND ALL THAT

1066 HOME OLD ENGLISH MIDDLE ENGLISH MODERN ENGLISH CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH
 
   

Legal English

 

Legal English Today

In the modern language of the law there is still a substantial group of French words, which have remained the particular property of lawyers. These words and phrases of law French have never become “naturalized” in the manner of other loan words. They are probably used much less frequently than once was the custom, but they play an important role as technical terms and so constitute an active and highly distinctive part of the legal vocabulary. Examples of these terms are: 

 
alien (in the sense of “to transfer”)
amerce
cestui que trust
cestui (a) que vie
chose in action
de son tort
demurrer
en ventre sa mere
estoppel
estoppel in pais
esquire
eyre
fee simple
fee tail
implead
jeofail
laches
lèse majesté
mainour
malfeasance
metes and bounds
oyez
puisne
pur autre vie
quash
roll as in judgment roll
save (in the sense of “except”)
specialty (in the sense of “sealed contract”)
style (as in the tautology name and style”)
voir dire
 

These words and phrases are mostly of Old French and Anglo-Norman origin and would baffle the modern Frenchman no less than the modern Englishman. Thus, for instance, jeofail meant in Anglo-Norman “an oversight”, the acknowledgement of an error in pleading, from je faille, “I mistake”. Oyez is the imperative of the Anglo-Norman verb oyer, “to hear”. A puisne judge is one of junior status (Old French puis né) and the word has survived, with a change of spelling as well as meaning, in the English word puny. Voir dire could be taken to mean “to see him speak” in Modern French. But the law words voir dire (also spelled voire dire) carry their Old French meaning “to speak the truth”, the same meaning as Old French voir dit, which ended up in English and Modern French as verdict

French influence is also seen in numerous legal terms in which the adjective follows its noun: a word order unusual in English but customary in French. Examples include attorney general, body politic, court martial, freehold absolute, heir presumptive, issue male, letters patent, malice prepense (alongside its partial translation malice aforethought), proof demonstrative, proof positive, and many others.

 

Copyrighted material

 
 
WE ARE PARTNERS
 


 

LEGAL ENGLISH

  The Origins of Legal English

  Attempts to Restrict Law French

  "Turning Law into English"

  Tenacity of Law French

  Legal English Today

  Doubling, Tripling & Quadrupling

  The French Legacy

  An Example of Modern Legal English

CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH

  English Today

  English among Other Languages

  Plain English Home

  Email, SMS & Online Chat

  More

 

 
 
 
 

Site Map || Feedback || About || Links

Copyright Alex Chubarov 1066-2066

All Rights Reserved

 

GOBBLEDYGOOK GENERATOR

 
 

Have you ever wanted to use meaningless, empty phrases that make it look like you know what you are talking about? Simply click on the button below this paragraph and a random piece of business jargon will appear in the box. If you need more than one buzzphrase, just click the button again and again.

Courtesy of Plain English Campaign