THE ABYSS IS UNFATHOMABLE?
the beauty of embracing new perspectives
Legal Linguistics - Corpus Sociolinguistics - Translation studies
2013-2016 (First phase); 2017-2020 (Second phase)
The research activities undertaken by the Eurolect Observatory research group within the Eurolect Observatory Project are part of the projects developed by the Corpus-based Linguistics Centre (CLC), established at UNINT University.
Project objectives include:
Research activities are undertaken by the international research group Eurolect Observatory, led by Professor Laura Mori (Faculty of Interpreting and Translation of Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma – UNINT).
The first phase was conducted by 19 researchers from 11 European institutions (Institute for the Languages of Finland, Ionian University, Ghent University, Université Paris Diderot, Université de Nantes, University of Malta, University of Warsaw, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’, UNINT University, University of Tampere, Ventspils University College) in order to achieve the same research objective. A common research framework was adopted to identify features confirming the existence of legislative varieties in EU legislative texts (Eurolects) differing from varieties commonly used in the national legislative texts of implementation (cf. Mori, Ed., 2018).
The second phase of the project involves 28 members of 19 institutions, who are engaged in research activities in the following fields:
At the same time, the Eurolect Observatory Multilingual Corpus is being widened, in order to include, on the basis of needs diversified by language and by research theme, the following corpora:
International scientific cooperation.
Cooperation with representatives working for language services of national and European institutions.
Definition of corpus-based inter-linguistic and intra-linguistic analysis models.
Interdisciplinarity: interaction between specific areas of knowledge, namely linguistics and legal studies.
The Eurolect Observatory Project was set up within the Faculty of Interpreting and Translation (FIT) as a team project coordinated by professor Laura Mori and financed by the Research Fund of the Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma (UNINT). The first phase, started in December 2013, and ended in December 2016.
The research project is based on years of individual research carried out by its coordinator. Since 2011 it has also drawn on the dissertations written by MA students in linguistics or in the languages covered by the project: MA dissertations were supervised by the members of the research group.
Over the years the research Group has been expanded to welcome new members from several institutions both in Italy (University of Rome 'Tor Vergata') and abroad (Insitute for the Languages of Finland, Ionian University, Ghent University, Paris Diderot University, University of Malta, University of Warsaw, University of Tampere, Ventspils University College).
The EU is the ideal setting to study translation activities, since it enables us to analyse how the translation process has affected the languages with the legal status of official and working languages (Regulation No. 1, Council of the European Economic Community, 1958).
The internationalisation of law within the EU has made translation more and more necessary and binding in a number of situations. As a result, multilingualism and translation are of crucial importance to the European institutions: the former can only be guaranteed and ensured through translation from and into all of the current 24 EU official languages.
The EU institutions and, more specifically, the Commission and the Parliament have their own Language services, which are in charge of legal translation and interpreting. In this setting, contact between languages and translation has shaped (and is shaping) linguistic solutions which subsequently influence all EU languages, especially in terminology. As a consequence, the sociolinguistic space of every EU language has been affected by the rise of a new diaphasic variety, with features that are typical of LSPs (bureaucratic language, technical and scientific language) and the peculiarity of being the outcome of interlingual transposition. This has already been demonstrated for EU Italian, an international variety of the Italian language "beyond the national borders " (Italian Eurolect), with features that set it apart from national legal Italian (Mori 2003; Mori in Turchetta/Mori/Ranucci 2005).
Translation practice has led to the creation of a language used in EU legislation, known as Eurolect, characterised by a number of technical terms as well as standardized linguistic, structural and text patterns. Such features are the linguistic expression of an agenda, which aims to achieve not only economic, social and political harmonisation, but also a cultural harmonisation in a broad sense.
Over the last ten years, the studies conducted by the Project leader on the Italian and Maltese Eurolects have highlighted the importance of interlingual contact dynamics. Moreover, students on the MA Programme in Interpreting and Translation have produced several dissertations which aim to prove the existence of the English, French, German and Spanish Eurolects and to define their main features. Indeed, there is a dearth of contrastive studies with a quantitative approach: data are needed to confirm the relevance of features observed through qualitative analyses (e.g. the presence of Europeisms in the lexis; morphologic variants; syntactic structure; textual features). Therefore, the members of the Eurolect Observatory have decided to carry out quantitative analyses with a shared protocol, so as to obtain more significant results at the end of the project.
By analysing corpora containing EU directives and national implementing measures in a number of languages (Dutch, Finnish, French, English, German, Greek, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish and Spanish), the research project aimed to achieve the following objectives:
to test and/or confirm the hypothesis that there are EU legal varieties (known as “Eurolects”) which were born and developed within the linguistic dia-systems of a few member States, or in parts of them, taken as case studies;
to highlight the differences between each Eurolect and its corresponding national legal variety, in order to provide elements that may be useful to the study of metalinguistic and translational issues;
to provide reference data to stakeholders or interested parties (the EU Language services, national and regional Parliaments, governing bodies of autonomous regions);
to produce results that may help improve the quality of legal drafting, both nationally and supranationally.
The phase of intralingual analysis, carried out for each of the 11 languages involved by its respective research unit, was followed by an interlingual comparison. This was aimed at identifying common trends related to the contact situation in which the Eurolects develop. The results were incorporated into the project publication edited by Laura Mori, Observing Eurolects. Corpus analysis of linguistic variation in EU law, Studies in Corpus Linguistics 86, Benjamins Publishing Company: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
Corpus-based intralinguistic analysis were led by the following scholars in order to describe variation in EU laws compared with national implementation laws for 11 EU languages.
Mikhail Mikhailov- Unit coordinator - Faculty of Communication Sciences, University of Tampere
Aino Piehl - Institute for the Languages of Finland
Fabrizio Megale - Unit coordinator - Department of Interpreting and Translation, UNINT University
Fabio Proia- Unit coordinator - Department of Interpreting and Translation, UNINT University
Vilelmini Sosoni - Unit coordinator - Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting, Ionian University
Katia Lida Kermanidis - Department of Informatics, Ionian University
Sotiris Livas - Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting, Ionian University
Laura Mori - Unit coordinator - Department of Interpreting and Translation, UNINT University
Stefania Cavagnoli - Department of Humanities, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"
Gatis Dilāns - Unit coordinator - Ventspils University College
Sandro Caruana - Unit coordinator - Faculty of Education, Università ta' Malta
Sergio Portelli - Faculty of Arts, Università ta' Malta
Lucja Biel - Unit coordinator - Faculty of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw
Lorenzo Blini - Unit coordinator - Department of Interpreting and Translation, UNINT University
Throughout 2014 there were regular research group meetings among UNINT project members, with the participation of foreign colleagues via remote conferencing. The main aim of this phase was to compile the necessary corpora in the 11 project languages.
26 January 2015 (UNINT, Rome)
First plenary meeting of the Research Group, with the participation of at least 1 member for each of the 11 languages involved in the project. The aims of this meeting were as follows: corpus presentation; discussion of a common analysis template and definition of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
10 June 2015 (DGT, Brussels)
Plenary Group meeting to discuss feedback on the TEW presentations and plan future activities (dissemination events and publications).
17 September 2015 (UNINT, Rome)
Adriano Ferraresi, University of Bologna at Forlì “Corpus analysis techniques and tools: the Eurolect Observatory Multilingual Corpus”. Workshop for UNINT members of the research group.
22 March 2016 (UNINT, Rome)
Plenary Group meeting to discuss research results for the 11 languages and compare them, with a view to ending the first phase of the project.
23 October 2017 (UNINT, Rome)
Plenary Group meeting to plan the second phase of the project (2017-2020)
A collection of a parallel and comparable corpus of EU directives and matching national transposition instruments has been compiled by Marco Stefano Tomatis (UNINT).
The Eurolect Observatory Multilingual Corpus comprises two sub-corpora:
Translating Europe Workshop: Eurolects: language contact dynamics across European legislative corpora (24 October 2017)
Workshop organised by the European Commission as part of the "Translating Europe Workshop" series. It will focus on the main outcomes of the Eurolect Observatory Research Project (phase 1: 2013-2016) devoted to the intralingual analysis of legislative varieties in 11 Member States: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish and Spanish.
Eurolect Observatory Workshop (Brussels, 9-10 June 2015)
Worskhop organised by the European Commission’s DG Translation as part of the "Translating Europe Workshop" series. The research group gave an overview of the project to the language experts of the European institutions (including translators, lawyer-linguists and quality managers) and discussed the preliminary results of the Eurolect Observatory project.. (Report)
Translating Europe Forum (Brussels, 29-30 October 2015)
Poster presentation based on the MA dissertation by Elisa Giummarra (UNINT graduate) Gender discrimination and sexism in language: an interlingual and intralingual analysis of a trilingual corpus of EU directives (English, Italian and Spanish), developed within the framework of the Eurolect project. (Poster)
Blini, Lorenzo. Conference paper (key-note speaker) Euroletto spagnolo e varietà giuridica nazionale a confronto. (Spanish Eurolect and national legal Spanish compared).
International Study Day “Translation problems through languages and genres”, Roma Tre University, 28 November 2014
Blini, Lorenzo. Lecture (guest speaker): Eurolecto español y variedad jurídica nacional (Spanish Eurolect and national legal variety)
Department of Spanish and Romance Philology, University of Malaga, 12 November 2015
Megale, Fabrizio. Lecture (guest speaker): La transposition parlementaire des directives européennes: aspects linguistiques et traductologiques (Parliamentary transposition of European directives: linguistic and translational aspects)
Faculty of Translation and Interpreting, University of Geneva, 13 November 2015
Mori, Laura.Lecture (guest speaker): Osservatorio sull’euroletto. Analisi interlinguistica e intralinguistica delle varietà giuridiche in contesto UE (The Eurolect Observatory. Interlingual and intralingual analysis of EU legal varieties).<
Department of Spanish and Romance Philology, University of Malaga, 12 November 2015
Patin, Stéphane. Lecture Textométrique Différentielle (LTD) de textes législatifs comparables de l'Union européenne
Journées Internationales d'Analyse Statistique des Données Textuelles (JADT), 7-10 juin 2016, Université Sophia Antipolis (Nice)
Proia, Fabio. Lecture (guest speaker), Die Rolle des Deutschen in den EU-Institutionen und der deutsche Eurolekt.
Fakultät für Humanwissenschaften, Universität Magdeburg, 21 June 2017
Sosoni, Vilelmini et al.,The dynamics of EU language and Law: The Case of the Greek Eurolect
International Jurilinguistics Conference. From Legal Translation to Jurilinguistics: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Language and Law, Seville, Spain, 27-28 October 2016
The first phase of the Eurolect Observatory Project confirmed the existence of 9 EU legislative varieties (Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish and Spanish Eurolects) by focusing on the intra-linguistic comparison between the EU legislative variety and the national one (see Mori, ed. Observing Eurolects). The study has been conducted according to a shared research protocol on corpora using the same corpus design: corpus A for EU directives and corpus B for national implementing measures for each language. For each EU language analysed, quantitative and qualitative approaches were combined in order to detect relevant variational trends in large quantities of linguistic data and highlight significant cross-corpora patterns. Such differences were interpreted as evidence that the two legislative varieties and Eurolectal features were interpreted according to the following categories: 1) EU-rooted phenomena, 2) contact-induced features; 3) intra-linguistic variability.
In the second phase of the Eurolect Observatory Project side-topics (in the domain of research on Eurolects) will be developed in the following research areas: legal linguistics, sociolinguistics, language contact studies, text linguistics/discourse analysis, terminology, contrastive linguistics oriented to translation studies and statistical analyses of language variation. See Mori, L. (ed .) Observing Eurolects. Corpus analysis of linguistic variation in EU law.
Twenty-nine members from twenty-one Universities or Research Institutions are taking part to the second phase of the EOP:
Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Spanish.
In this second phase the Eurolect Observatory Multilingual Corpus, consisting of Corpus A (EU directives) and Corpus B (national implementation measures) for 11 languages collected in the first phase, has been widened, in order to include, on the basis of needs diversified by language and by research theme, the following corpora:
In the second phase research activities will be mainly topic-oriented towards the following research areas:
Gender-neutrality in legislative languages
Languages: English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish
Members: Lorenzo Blini, Enrica Bracchi, Stefania Cavagnoli, Annarita Felici, Laura Mori,
Fabio Proia, Annalisa Sandrelli, Vilelmini Sosoni
2. Geographical variation in legislative texts across European countries (also outside the EU)
Languages: Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian
Members: Annarita Felici, Laurent Gautier, Cornelia Griebel, Els Lefever, Laura Mori, Fabio Proia, Vilelmini Sosoni, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi, Kees C. van Noortwijk
Intra-linguistic variation: from EU law to national laws through national implementation measures (in-depth studies broadening the scope of phase I)
Languages: English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Spanish
Members: Lucja Biel, Lorenzo Blini, Sara Castagnoli, Chiara Degano, Gatis Dilāns, Annarita Felici,
Màrta Fischer, Rudy Loock, Mikhail Mikhailov, Laura Mori, Stéphane Patin, Aino Piehl, Mārcis Pinnis,
Fabio Proia, Annalisa Sandrelli, Réka Somssich
4. Intra-textual variation in national and supranational legislative varieties and text genres
Languages: English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Spanish
Members: Lucja Biel, Lorenzo Blini, Chiara Degano, Mikhail Mikhailov, Laura Mori, Stéphane Patin,
Aino Piehl, Fabio Proia, Annalisa Sandrelli, Vilelmini Sosoni
5. Terminological research in EU and national legislation
Languages: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish
Members: Lucja Biel, Enrica Bracchi, Giuditta Caliendo, Sara Castagnoli, Stefania Cavagnoli,
Gatis Dilāns, Adriano Ferraresi, Màrta Fischer, Els Lefever, Mikhail Mikhailov, Aino Piehl, Fabio Proia,
Annalisa Sandrelli, Vilelmini Sosoni, Réka Somssich, Kees C. van Noortwijk
Multilingual contact and linguistic convergence in Eurolects
Languages: Cross-language comparison
Members: Lucja Biel, Sandro Caruana, Sara Castagnoli, Adriano Ferraresi, Rudy Loock,
Laura Mori, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi
7. Improving legislative quality for a greater inclusion through increased language accessibility
Languages: Finnish, French, German and Italian (EU/Switzerland/Italy), Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Maltese, Spanish and Polish legislative varieties
Members: Lucja Biel, Lorenzo Blini, Sandro Caruana, Gatis Dilāns, Adriano Ferraresi,
Annarita Felici, Màrta Fischer, Laurent Gautier, Cornelia Griebel, Mikhail Mikhailov, Laura Mori,
Aino Piehl, Sotiris Livas, Vilelmini Sosoni, Réka Somssich, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi
Indexicality and identity in EU and national Treaties
Languages: Italian, French, Greek
Members: Giuditta Caliendo, Laura Mori, Vilelmini Sosoni
The changing role of English Eurolect
Members: Lucja Biel, Sara Castagnoli, Chiara Degano, Adriano Ferraresi, Annalisa Sandrelli
Pre and post-accession development of Eurolects (for countries of more recent accession)
Languages: Finnish, Greek, Latvian, Hungarian, Maltese, Polish
Members:Lucja Biel, Sandro Caruana, Gatis Dilāns,Màrta Fischer, Sotiris Livas, Mikhail Mikhailov,
Aino Piehl, Vilelmini Sosoni, Réka Somssich
Members working in each research team will propose events, dissemination activities, publications involving members willing to participate. Networking has been highly appreciated during the first phase of the Eurolect Observatory Project and it will be enhanced throughout its second phase.
In some cases these are only seminal research ideas, in other some products are already expected or a defined organization of activities has already been planned.
Talks at Conferences
Caruana, S. e Mori, L. "Maltese lexical stratigraphy seen through the eyes of the Eurolect Observatory Multilingual Corpus", 7th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics, Jagiellonian University Kraków, 11 July 2019.
Proia F., "Der deutsche Eurolekt. Eine Bestandsaufnahme". Lecture at the Centre "Language, Variation, and Migration" at the University of Potsdam, 10 July 2019
Bracchi, Enrica “Langage législatif italien et français selon une orientation genrée : quelques pistes de réflexion et de comparaison”, Séminaire “Discours littéraires et juridiques genrés”, Centre de Recherche sur les Identités, les Nations et l'Interculturalité,Université de Nantes, 25 avril 2019.
Castagnoli S. "Assessing the influence of the English Eurolect on the language of UK domestic law, Panel: English Eurolect as the institutional lingua franca of the EU. AIA Conference "Thinking out of the Box in Language, Literature, Cultural and Translation Studies: Questioning Assumptions, Debunking Myths, Trespassing Boundaries", Padova, 5-7 September 2019
Degano, C. "A terminological perspective on Eurolects: methodological issues", Panel: English Eurolect as the institutional lingua franca of the EU. AIA Conference "Thinking out of the Box in Language, Literature, Cultural and Translation Studies: Questioning Assumptions, Debunking Myths, Trespassing Boundaries", Padova, 5-7 September 2019
Sandrelli, A. " A corpus-based study of deontic modality in English Eurolect", Panel: English Eurolect as the institutional lingua franca of the EU. AIA Conference "Thinking out of the Box in Language, Literature, Cultural and Translation Studies: Questioning Assumptions, Debunking Myths, Trespassing Boundaries", Padova, 5-7 September 2019.
Patin, S. Les directives européennes et leurs transpositions en France: parle-t-on le même français? 5ème colloque annuel Réseau de recherche des discours institutionnels et politiques, Analyse du discours et institutions sociales : l’expertise discursive dans les domaines de la santé et de la justice, 5-6 décembre 2018, Université de Cergy.
Degano, C. & Sandrelli, A. “Ethically sensitive issues from EU directives to the national press in English and Italian” at the CLAVIER 2018 Conference Knowledge Dissemination, Ethics and Ideology in Specialised Communication: Linguistic and Discursive Perspectives, Milan 29 November-1 December 2018.
Proia, F. “Gender-neutral language in EU and German federal legislation. A corpus-based analysis.” at the conference Jurilinguistics II - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Language and Law, Universidad Pablo de Olavide di Siviglia (Spagna), 24-26/10/ 2018.
Felici, L. & Mori, L. Corpora di italiano legislativo a confronto: dall’Unione europea alla Cancelleria svizzera, SLI conference in Bern, 6-8 September 2018.
Mori, L. & Szmrecsanyi, B. Mapping out similarities between Eurolects: an an aggregate perspective on similarities between legislative varieties, Université de Genève, Transius International Conference, 18-20 June, 2018.
Papers in Journals and Proceedings
Blini, L. (2018) Entre traducción y reescritura: eurolecto español y discurso legislativo nacional, Cuadernos AISPI 12, p. 15-35.
Felici, L. Mori, L. (in press) Corpora di italiano legislativo a confronto: dall’Unione europea alla Cancelleria svizzera, Atti del Congresso Internazionale della SLI.
For the 11 languages included in the project from the beginning, the collection of corpora A and B was completed in phase 1 of the EOP.
Unit coordinator: Els Lefever
Corpus C collection (in progress)
Corpus D (Belgian Dutch) collection (in progress)
Unit coordinator: Annalisa Sandrelli
Corpus C collection (8,107,486 tokens)
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, C
Unit coordinator: Rudy Loock
Corpus C collection (in progress)
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, C
Unit coordinator: Fabio Proia
Corpus C collection (1,486,547 tokens)
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, C
Unit coordinator: Vilelmini Sosoni
Corpus C collection (768,322 tokens)
Unit coordinator: Réka Somssich
Collection of corpora A, B, C
Unit coordinator: Laura Mori
Corpus C collection (2,749,725 tokens)
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, C
Corpus D collection for Swiss Italian (see project led by A. Felici)
Unit coordinator: Gatis Dilans
Corpus E collection (2009-2018): 3.88M tokens
Corpus F: JRC Acquis Latvian Corpus (11.8M tokens).
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, F (in progress)
Unit coordinator: Lucja Biel
Corpus E and F (project led by L. Biel)
Unit coordinator: Lorenzo Blini
Corpus C collection (6,916,045 tokens)
PoS tagging of corpora A, B, C
Caliendo Giuditta, Foubert, Océane “The representation of gender in French legal discourse”. 5th ESTIDIA Conference on “Hybrid Dialogues: Transcending Binary Thinking and Moving Away from Societal Polarizations”. Università di Napoli ‘l’Orientale’, 19-21 September 2019.
Caliendo Giuditta, Foubert, Océane “Representing Gender in French Legal Varieties: from the supranational to the national dimension”. Conference on “Contemporary Approaches to Legal Linguistics”: 1st International Conference of the Austrian Association for Legal Linguistics. University of Vienna, 8-10 November 2019.
Sosoni, Vilelmini "Gender and legislative language: A corpus-based analysis of Greek versions of EU directives, their national transposition measures and general Greek legal acts", Conference on “Contemporary Approaches to Legal Linguistics”: 1st International Conference of the Austrian Association for Legal Linguistics. University of Vienna, 8-10 November 2019.