Karolina Gortych-Michalak: Simplification and easification of legal language through the lens of the Press language. A diachronic study of press texts concerning changes in Greek family law

Karolina Gortych-Michalak Αναπληρώτρια Καθηγήτρια Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών, Πανεπιστήμιο Adam Mickiewicz, Πόζναν, Πολωνία

Language and law are mutually dependent especially in the frame of legal communication. Law needs to be communicated to be enacted and obeyed and thus it needs language to be expressed while legal communication is executed between legislator and addressees of legal messages – they are parameters of legal communication which is very specific (Sandrini 2009, Kurzon 1998 et al.). Legal communication needs language as an instrument (organon) to communicate (Bühler 2004).

In the light of informative function Press language can be seen as an organon too, but the distinction between them revolves around the typology of senders and receivers of messages. The line of legal communication goes from an abstract legislator to real objectives of the law, whereas the line of Press communication goes from a journalist(s) to readers who are not lawyers in most cases. In this perspective the language of the Press communication is much more “plain” when compared with the legal communication, even if they have the same topic: the law and its changes.

The goal of the paper is to study means, tools and methods used to create press texts concerning the law in historic perspective. It concentrates on: 1) stylistic methods and means and 2) historical language variants which have been observed in press texts concerning historical changes in Greek family law in last 50 years. They can be classified as means of simplification and easification respectively.

The research material is a collection of press texts of the journals: To Vima and Ta Nea which have covered the social, legal and pragmatic issues connected with the Greek Civil Code changes.
The press texts are analysed on the basis of Critical Discourse Analysis – CDA basic principles (Fairclough & Wodak 1997) and simultaneously the referred to the source texts which are historical versions of the Greek Civil Code (part Family Law). Since the simplification of specialised text can cover language variants, including historical variants, the analysis of the aforementioned press texts is performed on structuralistic principles of comparative analysis.

It expected that the results of two-way analysis will provide information about the linkage between stylistic and structure-language means and methods. The potential linkage will be a part of departure to holistic view of simplification and easification of legal language filtered by the lend of press language in historical perspective.


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