Foreign and archaic phrases in legal texts


  • Dennis Kurzon University of Haifa



foreignisms, archaisms, legal texts, code-switching, borrowing


This article deals with the occurrence of foreign words, phrases and maxims in legal texts. Unlike past studies, in which the focus has been on Latin in Anglo- American legal texts, the present study expands the borders, not only looking at Latin in European legal texts, but also at English in Russian and Ukrainian legal texts, and then beyond Europe (and common law countries) to the Middle East, where foreign words and phrases as well as Qur’anic Arabic may be found in legal texts of various Arab countries, in Persian legal texts, and Aramaic expressions in Israeli legal texts written in Hebrew. This phenomenon is discussed both from a historical point of view and a linguistic perspective in terms of syntactic integration and, primarily, in terms of code-switching and of borrowing.

Author Biography

  • Dennis Kurzon, University of Haifa
    Dennis Kurzon, professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature, Haifa University in Israel, has published books and articles in the fields of pragmatics, especially on silence, the pragmatics of legal discourse, writing systems, and Indian sociolinguistics.






How to Cite

Kurzon, D. (2013). Foreign and archaic phrases in legal texts. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 20(1), 117-142.