What images does your mind conjure up when you hear different languages? Even if we don’t speak the language, we often have an opinion about it. We may like how it sounds, we may even have our favorite words in that language. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about her love for Italian in her book Eat, Pray Love: “Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle for me.”
We may not share the same excitement about professional languages – a jargon rarely invokes fuzzy feelings – although the wine lingo, for example, is not bad at all: “reserve,” “vintage,” “bouquet,” “tannins,” “earthy,” “oaky,” “jammy.”
What comes to mind when you hear “legal English”? Boring? Stuffy? Confusing? Fine print? I think legal English has an image problem. If you were hired as an image consultant for legal English, what changes would you propose? Maybe, the new legal English style should be precise, crisp, logical, structured, fluid, self-explanatory, direct, balanced, respectful, truthful. What do you think?