15 January 2014

Edited Judgmental Appendix

In 'V v Judgments' I wrote about a quaint legal tradition. At the time I vaguely recalled passing a similar remark elsewhere but could not find the reference. After a few months of searching, I re-read an old book, and the text reappeared!

That book is Lon Fuller's Anatomy of the Law, and the following quotes are from page 11, under the heading, 'Law as a dimension of human life' (p 10). This post splits, edits, and comments on his analysis, to help justify the need to use legal language to students.


1. Fuller's Analysis

1.1 Language Factory

[L]aw throughout its history has (…) remain[ed] immersed in the stream of human life itself[;] inevitably the forms of its thought have become a part of the vocabulary of everyday living. The law has (…) made indispensable contributions to language[,] (…) such words as 'judgment', 'judicious', and 'just'.
As 'judgment' is a legal product, then--in more ways than one--it is clearer why legal communication remains faithful to its historical spelling. While common language appears to have added an 'e', to so add in law might try to fix something not broken.

1.2 Overtime

[T]he contributions are [not] always (…) so obvious (…); the words 'average' and 'thing', for example, took their origin in a legal and legislative context.
This implies law's determination to spell 'judgment' without a middle 'e' is to facilitate law getting some of the credit it deserves for contributing. This also reinforces why law may demand how its own creations are used internally.

1.3 Overseer

To have contributed ['thing'] (…) may not seem (…) significant (…) until we notice the degree of abstraction involved in it (…). The reader may recapture some of the significance of this particular step if he asks himself how, if he were a dictionary maker, he would define the word 'thing'.
This final quote explains that words created by legal machinations may not exist without law. As those words are useful to society--'thing' is tool to allow explanations without all the details--we should thank law for them. And this might begin with acknowledging and respecting that law still attributes restricted meanings to its internal use of a standardised vocabulary.

2. Editing Quotes

It is useful to learn the editing process, above--the additions or changes inside square brackets, [ ], and deletions marked by bracketed ellipses, (…). Students will find that many words within quotes may be irrelevant to the quote's purpose.

Deleting and changing the quote--without altering meaning--is a handy skill: it will allow word count-reduction; and demonstrate sharper analytical selection.

Moreover, it seems to me, cleaned up quotes look cleaner--which aesthetic is fashionable in current academic writing. See the following for the good reasons behind that fashion:


Created: 15 January 2014. Version 1.0.





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