Rituality in Diplomacy. Terminological Embodiment
Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages
of the Faculty of International Relations, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv
Keywords: Gallicism, diplomatic terminology, diplomatic text, Latinism, loan-word, the term.
Кащишин Н. Є. Ритуальность в дипломатии. Терминологическая реализация.
Аннотация. Статья посвящена вопросу происхождения английской терминологии, которая употребляется в дипломатических текстах. Осуществлен комплексный анализ генезиса английской дипломатической терминологии, в изучении которой выделено два аспекта. Композитный аспект позволил проанализировать роль основных субязыков, которые повлияли на формирование терминологии англоязычных дипломатических текстов. В работе установлено, что употребление общественно-политических, экономических, юридических терминов в текстах дипломатии – закономерный процесс, поскольку международные документы имеют юридическую основу и чаще всего посвящены решению экономических и общественно-политических проблем. Факт обогащения терминологии дипломатии терминами из других субязыков обусловлен общественными процесами и широким кругом вопросов, которые охватывают дипломатические отношения. Исторический аспект представлен анализом основных языков-доноров, участвовавших в формировании английского языка дипломатии, исторических предпосылок для заимствования значительного количества терминов английским языком дипломатии и причин широкого распространения неассимилированных заимствований в английском языке дипломатии. Исследование сосредоточено на изучении ассимилированных и неассимилированных заимствований из латинского и французского языков. Исследованы функциональные особенности этой терминологической лексики в текстах дипломатических документов. Определено, что сегодня употребление неассимилированных заимствований с латинского (латинизмов) и французкого языков (галлицизмов) можно объяснить традицией, согласно которой дипломатия принадлежит не только к практике, но и в определенной степени к искусству общения. Длительное использование латинизмов и галлицизмов в английском языке дипломатии оправдано ввиду того, что они позволяют сохранить особый стиль документа, характерными чертами которого являются ритуальность и традиционность.
Ключевые слова: галлицизм, дипломатическая терминология, дипломатический текст, заимствование, латинизм, термин.
Communication between or among nations is impossible without diplomacy. Diplomatic communication has a long history and has always been crucial in forging and maintaining international relations. The language of diplomacy is a reflection of this long history. Its distinctiveness lies in the careful selection of words and phrases, terminological loading, scrupulous choice of syntactic constructions. The organization of language into special repetitive patterns occurred over the course of centuries in the process of cementing relationships between people and nations. Non-assimilated borrowings from Latin and French constitute one of the reflections of this careful choice of language.
The fact of French and Latin non-assimilated borrowings being a core part of English diplomatic terminology demonstrates the ritualistic nature and the conservativeness not only of the language of diplomatic communication, but of the whole institution of diplomacy.
The objective of our work is twofold: firstly, to document and describe diplomatic language and the terminology inherent within it which is the result of language choices made within English diplomatic discourse, and to demonstrate the origins of its key terms. In doing so, this paper fills what might be considered to have been a gap in terms of research relating to diplomatic terminology.
The second objective of the work, as discussed below, is to expand the notions of such theoretical concepts as term, terminology, language standard, and terminological system, and to illustrate these concepts using examples taken from the language and terminology regularly used in international diplomacy.
To achieve a comprehensive investigation we have used methods of complex and combinatory linguistic analysis: contextual analysis, which enabled us to study the realization of meanings by the use of particular terms; statistical analysis, which enabled us to perform quantitative evaluations; and the method of structural and semantic modeling, which served as the basis for carrying out a classification of terms. The material for the investigation is the terminology found in diplomatic documents (agreements, pacts, speeches, treaties, etc) and catalogued in dictionaries which provide a documentation of diplomatic language (partly presented in references).
Readings in research on diplomatic language (Burhanudeen [1; 2], Cohen , Hofstede , Kurbalija , Matos , and Slavik ) strongly suggest that an in-depth investigation is called for in the area of diplomatic terminology and diplomatic language on the whole. Existing works only give some glimpses into the essence of a diplomatic term and its linguistic nature, which is studied sporadically. This, as well as the role of diplomacy and of documents connected with diplomacy in contemporary international life points up the importance of our investigation which is devoted to the linguistic nature of French and Latin non-assimilated borrowings as key terminological components of English diplomatic discourse.
1. The Origins of Diplomatic Terminology.
1.1. General Remarks.
The most ancient example of diplomatic language can be found in a peace and friendship treaty concluded around 2400 B.C., which was originally in the Royal Library of Ebla, but now is housed in the Archaeological Museum of Damascus. The treaty was between the kingdoms of Ebla and Hamazi. In its opening statement, engraved in clay it says “…Ikbar-Damu, Ling of Ebla, brother of Zizi, King of Hamazi; Zizi of Hamazi, brother of Ikbar-Damu, King of Ebla…” The form may be different, but the message has not changed despite the passage of so many centuries [6, p. 3]. Today, in these times of democracy we may find the same idea, conveyed in the same terms: “His Majesty the King of Belgians ,… … Her royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands” [9, p. 3]. The examples mentioned above testify to the fact that the language of diplomacy has not changed much. According to F. Matos, diplomatic language can be described as a “peace-building, peace-making and peace-promoting force” [7, p. 283].
The expression “diplomatic language” is used to denote three different things. In its first sense it signifies the actual language (whether it is Spanish, French, or English) which is employed by diplomats in correspondence or negotiations. In its second sense it refers to set phrases which over the course of centuries have become part of the ordinary diplomatic vocabulary. In its third, and most common, sense it is used to describe that selected form of language which enables diplomats to express complicated or potentially controversial ideas without being either offensive or impolite.
Loan-words constitute the core of English diplomatic language. As Nataliya N. Rayevskaya points out, a study of loan-words is not only of etymological interest. Words give us valuable information with respect to life in the nations involved. Loan words have justly been called the milestones of philology [8, p. 10].
The etymological aspect of this investigation is important, since it is widely known that certain insights into the current usage of a term can be gained from a full knowledge of the term’s history, and that a better understanding of terms can be achieved by learning how words are related to other words in English and to words in other languages.
This study deals with borrowed terminology, functioning in English diplomatic discourse, including both so-called loan terms from other sublanguages and loan-words from other languages. It is essential for the purposes of this study to define the term, as it is the object of the investigation.
Juan C. Sager, one of the most distinguished terminologists, defines terms as depositories of knowledge and units with specific reference in that they refer to discrete conceptual entities, properties, activities or relations which constitute the knowledge space of a particular subject field [10, p. 261].
We propose to investigate borrowed terminology which is employed in English diplomatic discourse in terms of both its composite and its historical aspects.
1.2. The Composite Aspect of Borrowings: The Limits of a Terminological System.
Much of the language of diplomatic discourse is a matter of “common form”. This “common form” can be viewed from two different perspectives. The first one is the composite aspect of investigation in connection with which we should mention that diplomatic lexicon is a mixture of different terminologies, primarily juridical and economic. It is a common linguistic tendency that during the development and mutual updating of the lexical systems, terms from various areas of knowledge tend to interfere with each other due to the process of integration. Different terminological systems which interact are quite often a part of a common terminological stock. The migration of terminological elements results in the formation of a fully-fledged terminological system, possessing a core and a periphery. It is a widespread phenomenon in terms of any terminological system for the sublanguage of one area of science to absorb terms from another sublanguage. As a dynamic phenomenon, this migration brings about an enrichment of the vocabulary which is both quantitative and qualitative. At this point, it seems appropriate for us to offer a description of what we perceive a terminological system to be.
A terminological “system” is an aggregation of terms which are both specifically connected and interdependent. It is a complex ensemble of language units which express specific concepts and which are associated with the theory and practice of a specific branch of knowledge. Diplomatic terminology is an essential element of diplomatic discourse and expresses its inherent concepts, setting it apart from discourses with other cognitive and communicative objectives. The system of terms and the system of basic vocabulary words form the sublanguage of a certain branch of scientific knowledge.
The terminologies of economics, law, social and political life were the sources from which the diplomatic sublanguage derived its constituent elements in medieval times or even earlier, when economic and legal relations first began to be established among or between nations. This formative process is continuing up to the present time, as most of the issues discussed on the international level are of an economic and legal character.
The findings produced by the analysis of diplomatic texts have shown that the use of legal, economic and other terms in diplomatic texts is dictated by the vital necessity of correlating economics, jurisprudence and diplomacy, as well as by their close logical connection: for example, diplomatic documents may discuss economic actions that often demand legal registration. In this way, economic, legal and other terminologies present in diplomatic texts acquire some of its content and obtain features of proper diplomatic terms which function on the periphery of the terminological field of diplomacy. This integration results in an association of styles, creating a special type of discourse which is defined as diplomatic. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the boundary between a legal and a diplomatic text, or to state definitely to what sublanguage a certain term belongs. Moreover, there are many terms that are no longer confined to just one terminological system (such as “NATO”, “status quo”, and “terrorism”). Terms such as these could equally be associated with the sublanguages of the military, of diplomacy or of sociopolitics. It should be also pointed out that juridical and economic terms have always played a special role in the formation of the diplomatic sublanguage; moreover, they were usually the source from which its elements were drawn, since the very first issues of international life were those involving trade and law.
1.3. The Historical Aspect of Borrowings: A Brief Overview.
The other perspective that justifies the “common form” of English diplomatic language involves the historical aspect of the investigation in the course of which we have found that diplomatic language is, from a historical point of view, a sublanguage consisting of words drawn from a variety of different languages. To obtain a confirmation of this and to fully appreciate the nature of diplomatic terminology we need to get acquainted with its history.
It is useful to note the assertion of Rayevskaya, that the process of borrowing from other languages is due to the more or less direct contact of one nation with another. When the history of the English language is studied, it becomes clear that English owes thousands of its most useful words to importations from foreign tongues. The author also mentions that three languages have contributed such extensive portions of the English word-stock as to deserve particular attention. These are Greek, Latin and French. Together they account for so overwhelming a proportion of the borrowed element of the English vocabulary that all other sources seem very small in comparison. However, accurate studies of certain parts of the loan component in English have not yet been made [8, p. 10-11].
There is no definitive answer to the question of how diplomatic language and its terminology came to be what it is. Much of the explanation can be found in the historical events which have left their mark on the language of English diplomacy.
Starting from the very beginning we should mention that the language of the British Celts had little lasting impact on English diplomatic terminology. The Germanic-origin peoples who spoke Anglo-Saxon (Old English) developed a type of legal language which became the source for the formation of diplomatic terminology. Ancient terminology of the Anglo-Saxons has survived in English legal and diplomatic language in expressions such as “aid and abet”, “any and all”. Apart from its early and unique appearance in the documents of the Anglo-Saxons in England, no vernacular was used in written diplomatic communication before the twelfth century. At this point we propose to focus our attention on Latin as a language which had lasting impact on the development of English diplomatic language, being involved in the formation of its most distinctive feature, its rituality.
2. Latin as One of the Main Source Languages of English Diplomatic Terminology.
A significant event for English diplomatic language was the appearance and development of Christianity after 597 A.D., since it promoted writing in Latin. Later through the Roman Catholic Church the Latin language again had a major presence in England. Soon its influence extended to diplomatic matters, particularly because the law and the Church were involved with international affairs. Latin dominated Western Europe linguistically until the middle of the eighteenth century, and it remained an important diplomatic language in England, especially in its written form. The fact that international documents were written in Latin for so long explains why even today, many of them have Latin names, such as “protocol” (Latin protocolum) and “pact” (Latin pactum). The repeated use of Latin by diplomats has given diplomatic language an aspect of timelessness and rituality.
It can thus be seen that during the process of Latin’s influence on the formation of the language in a general sense, and on other spheres of life more specifically, it is also possible to trace its impact on the development of the core terminology of diplomacy, something which is linked with historical events but which is still relevant to this sector of the language in the present day. The Latin-origin loan terms which are part of this phenomenon have, of course, been assimilated and today are used to signify mostly abstract notions of diplomacy, diplomatic posts, and key types of diplomatic activity. Numerous examples could be given of words that fall into this category: accreditation, convention, protocol, pact, consul, consensus, credentials, denunciation, legation, nuncio, plenipotentiary, sanction, signatory, ultimatum, concordat, agenda, belligerency, legation.
The influence of Latin upon the formation of diplomatic language and terminology has another aspect, one which involves “Latinisms” – items which may be defined as non-assimilated borrowings from Latin. It is only logical that over the course of history most of the words which began as foreign borrowings by English were ultimately assimilated by the language, but there is still a layer of non-assimilated borrowings, the study of which is of special linguistic interest; however, this has not received much attention from researchers up to now.
Non-assimilated loan-words within English diplomatic communication can be viewed as forming a part of the language standards. We suggest the use of this term to define a special type of diplomatic terminology that provides unambiguous understanding and interpretation of situations and concepts touched upon in documents (such as “on behalf of”, “terms and conditions”, “null and void”, “any and all”). We postulate their importance in the language of diplomacy, in that they are ready-made formulas which make the process of communication easier. Latin and French non-assimilated borrowings constitute a special subset with the standard vocabulary of diplomatic language. However, their frequency of usage is not the same in all genres of diplomatic communication. They mostly occur in verbal notes, working documents of sessions, and treaties. We suggest that in order of the frequency of occurrence of Latinisms and Gallicisms legal documents are in first place; economic texts in second place; political texts in third place; technical matter in fourth place; and documents concerning the environment are in fifth place.
In all the different types of cases they help to preserve the special style of diplomatic interchange, underlining its ritualistic nature: “If the total number of members referred to in paragraph 2 is less than 732, a pro rata correlation shall be applied to the number of representatives” [9, p. 132]. Among the most frequent examples of Latinisms in English diplomatic discourse are the following: copia vera, persona grata, persona non grata, status quo, bona fides, casus belli, in jure. They appear in formulaic expressions which come to denote key notions of diplomatic activity, and what is more, they occur only in combination with English terms. This can be illustrated by the following examples: “ad hoc expert group”, “ad hoc conciliation commission”, “ad hoc committee”, “to be declared non grata”, “ad valorem duties”, “to determine proprio motu”, “ex-gratia payment”, “ex officio member of the Chamber”, “ex officio member of the panel”, “to be ipso facto free”, “to decide a case ex aequo et bono”, “to meet in camera”, “to apply mutatis mutandis”.
In some cases, the usage of loan-terms is not restricted to diplomatic discourse: they occur in the official style on the whole, particularly in legal documents and in mass-media discourse. In certain instances, the meaning of the loan-terms has changed when used in diplomatic discourse from the generally accepted meaning to one which is specifically linked with diplomacy. For example, “modus vivendi”, which means “the way of life”, in diplomatic discourse has acquired the meaning of “a temporary peace treaty”; “ne varietur,” normally would signify “not changed”, but in the language of diplomacy it means “no amendments are allowed in the document”. We suggest that the next step in the research of Latinism is their pragmatic and discourse-forming potential.
3. The Role of French in Diplomatic Terminological System Formation
Having now considered the important place which Latin holds in terms of our present study, we can turn our attention to other languages which can be regarded as contributors to English diplomatic terminology. Not surprisingly, French is by a large margin the most important other source of general vocabulary, and of diplomatic terminology in particular. Interestingly, this phenomenon was not part of a long and gradual process of infiltration: instead, it was a direct result of the conquest of England by William of Normandy. After the Norman Conquest, a process began whereby English was replaced by French in documents and indeed in all aspects of life. For the centuries the language of official documents was French. Moreover, it maintained its status as England’s diplomatic language. Starting from 1417 most of England’s official documents were written in English. For some time French and Latin coexisted in the domain of international life.
As a result of these and some later historical events, English assimilated many borrowings from French in the sphere of diplomacy, such as: prison, schedule, alias, sentence, jurisdiction, sentence, embassy, ambassador, sabotage, envoy, diplomat, state, war, money, victory, government, parliament, justice, army, contract, and policy. Soon French became the language confined to the diplomatic profession. It was often incomprehensible both to the ordinary English people and to the speakers of ordinary French. This resulted in the phenomenon of formulaic phrases, where one of the elements is of French and the other of English origin: “acknowledge and confess”, “advice and consent”, “will and testament” etc.
Diplomatic French was also full of terms for which there were no English equivalents. This accounts for the appearance of a group of non-assimilated French loan-terms or Gallicisms which came to denote some of the principles, procedures and practices of diplomatic ceremonies. They became part of a diplomatic tradition, facilitating the expression of the idea of rituality and conservatism of English diplomatic language.
We differentiate between three pragmatic groups of Gallicisms functioning in the English diplomatic discourse: 1. Clichés proper (démarche, agrément, force majeure, acte final, agréation, aide-mémoire, laisser-passer, raison d’Etat, vis-à-vis, attaché, pourparler, règlements internationaux, etc). 2. “Niceties” of diplomatic protocol. They are represented by a layer of non-assimilated French abbreviations used by diplomats in diplomatic correspondence. The most wisely used of these niceties are: P.R. – Pour remercier (to say thank you for hospitality); P.P. – Pour présenter (to introduce someone to someone else); P.P.C. – Pour prendre congé (to bid farewell on leaving a post), etc. 3. Diplomatic technicalities (Le traitement, La souscription, La date, etc). This layer of terminology is widely used in the genres of diplomatic correspondence.
Gallicisms retain their original French form, partly because of the fact that their use is hermetically confined to the sphere of diplomacy, contrary to Latinisms, most of which occur in discourses other than diplomatic. French set expressions help to create the special style of diplomatic language, where politeness is closely interwoven with rituality.
The analysis of language diversity, of the terminological apparatus and of its origins confirmed that diplomatic language possesses special features where rituality, politeness and conservatism come to the fore. The research into the origins of terms as well as the brief overview of historical grounds made it possible to state that much of the language of diplomatic intercourse is a matter of “common form”. This “common form” can be viewed from two different perspectives which enabled us to study the composite and historical aspects of English diplomatic terminology. These two aspects of the investigation provide an overall conception of the way in which English diplomatic terminology and the language as a whole was formed.
First of all, we may conclude that two languages, Latin and French, have made the greatest contribution to the English diplomatic word-stock. Second, borrowings functioning in English diplomatic discourse are of two types, assimilated and non-assimilated. They both contribute a great deal to the development of the special ritualistic style of documents. Third, legal, economic, and military terms, as well as terms from other sublanguages used in diplomatic texts constitute the periphery of the diplomatic terminological field and their usage in English diplomatic discourse is dictated by the correlation between economics, jurisprudence, diplomacy and other spheres of life, as well as by their close logical connection.
This integration of languages and terminologies, as well as the diversity of the borrowings, results in a special type of text and intercourse, defined as English diplomatic discourse where rituality and conservatism are of great importance in maintaining diplomatic contacts between nations.
The research made it possible to study the possibilities that exist for the perfecting of the English terminological apparatus; to define the role of terms among other linguistic units in the sublanguage of diplomacy; and to perform an analysis of terminology using diplomatic terms as an example, from the standpoint of their origins. An attempt was made to shed light on some theoretical concepts touched upon in the process of the investigation, such as language standard, Latinism, Gallicism, the term, and terminological systems.
Just as it might be possible to underestimate the importance of diplomacy and diplomatic initiatives when studying the course of human history, it might likewise be possible to underestimate the role of the specialized language that has evolved over the course of centuries, which provides diplomats and leaders of nations with a vehicle for dealing with many delicate and portentous matters of mutual concern in the affairs of countries great and small. In view of this, we feel that our study of some of the precise aspects that were and are involved in the formation of diplomatic language is a subject that has relevance and significance, and which provides some insights that could have far-reaching ramifications for the future development of diplomacy.
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