Il diritto come strumento di diffusione dell’italiano in Europa e nel mondo

CopertinaSILVIA FERRERI – CDCT Working Paper 33-2014 / CTL 15

Abstract: Overseas, the association between “Italian and the Law” is not that apparent: an oft-repeated cliché, both in official circumstances and generally, is that the language of the law should be French, while Italian is the language of song. It’s true that the musicality of the language tends to leave a lasting impact abroad; in the naming of areas (Belvedere), places (usually restaurants) or products that exploit an evocative pronunciation. Italian expressions can sometimes be understood in a figurative manner and extended beyond the original meaning. Once fashion, food and art and other shields are taken out of consideration, there are legacies in navigation and consequently in the jurisdiction of certain maritime matters. Commercially, there are still important examples of Italian terms in use in foreign languages. In the legal field however, it is less usual to find words that are successful on their own accord, regardless of the concepts contained within them. The probability of dissemination depends on the clarity of the meaning of the word: when the concept is unclear, or hidden under a euphemism, it is less easy for the word to catch on elsewhere. Aside from the legacy of Roman law (many words found in the legal language of other nations are actually Latin), the spread of legal Italian is linked to the expatriate studies of scholars during the fascist era, or the imitation of legislative choices made in the past, for example, in the area of criminal law (successive concatenation of legal imitation has brought Italian law to Syria and Turkey). Imitations can still occur further afield on occasion in countries such as Japan (labour law, constitutional law), but the mechanisms of dissemination of Italian law are not as effective as they could be, if examined in the context of an example such as the French experience.

CDCT Working Paper 33-2014 / CTL 15
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