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Introducing a Local Legal Vocabulary in a Latin Context. A Study of Two Swedish 17th Century Approaches

Journal article
Authors Hans Landqvist
Lena Rogström
Published in Fachsprache. Journal of Professional and Scientific Communication
Volume 40
Issue 3–4
Pages 162–179
ISSN 1017-3285
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 162–179
Language en
Keywords legal handbooks, 17th century, Latin, Swedish, language use, language policy, lexica- tion, professionalization, Clas Rålamb, Claudius Kloot
Subject categories Civil procedure, Latin language, Swedish language


In this article, the use and consolidation of legal vocabulary is investigated in two Swed- ish legal handbooks from the 17th century written by Clas Rålamb and Claudius Kloot respectively. Both handbooks were written in Swedish but include elements in Latin. These elements represent original Latin as well as modified Latin, i. e. words and phrases that have been adapted to Swedish morphology. Sections of the handbooks that deal with civil cases were analyzed from a lexicolog- ical starting point. The 106 legal concepts (LC) and 169 lexical units (LU) identified are sorted into four central semantic areas of the legal process: ACTIONS, ARENAS, PARTICIPANTS and TOOLS. Kloot uses more LCs and more LUs than Rålamb who, on the other hand, shows greater lexical differentiation than Kloot. Rålamb is also shown to use a greater number of Latin LUs than Kloot. The area of TOOLS has the closest connection to Latin. Both authors make use of Latin LUs that are still part of Swedish legal vocabulary. Kloot has a stronger tendency to use Swedish LUs when possible, while Rålamb more freely combines Swedish and Latin LUs. Rålamb’s and Kloot’s use of Latin and Swedish LUs is discussed as well as their policies regarding the use of Latin and Swedish. Finally, the lexication of Latin and Swedish LUs in the legal domain in Swedish is discussed.

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