Wednesday 25 January 2017

Word-Pairs that Lawyers Love: LEGAL DOUBLETS

WORDPLAY post #25
EDITED: Giorgio Coniglio, March 2017.
SONG LINK: A song about legal doublets can be found at our sister-blogsite Giorgio's Ukable Parodies.
The song, entitled "Formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic doublets" has lyrics substituted into the musical hit "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"  

Explanatory note: 
For better or worse, there does not appear to be a covenant and agreement between linguists and lawyers as to what to call these expressions. Such pairings of items with similar or overlapping meaning are known as doublets in the legal literature. They consist of pairs of nouns, verbs adjectives or even adverbs, joined by a conjunction, most commonly 'and'; hence they would usually be referred to as binomials by linguists. Linguists generally have a different concept in mind with respect to word derivation in using the term doublet.
Many knowledgeable lay people, and some legal authorities feel that this over-used jargon is designed to confuse rather than enlighten, and should be a major target in the struggle to make legal documents more generally comprehensible. In some contexts, the redundant phrase "terms and conditions" has been disallowed.

Clear, Correct, Concise and Complete is a motto in the campaign to improve written English used in the legal context. Unfortunately, "legalese" and legal professionals may be inseparable.

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