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Invincible in Language and Mind

An excerpt of my article, “Private Law Consciousness of the Estonian Nation in the Pre-Statehood and Early Post-Statehood Periods. Some Legal Problems Related to Transformation of Societies and Law Reforms”:


“[t]he concept of law also embraces understanding of law. In turn understanding of law is related to language, whereas development of legal language is related to general linguistic development. In turn those are connected to the development of a nation’s consciousness, or to the way how does a nation understand its closer surroundings and the wider world.


If one examines separately one nation and its legal development, one can see the development of legal language and law of only  o n e  nation and cognition and understanding of is and ought by only  o n e  nation. But nations are rarely separated. The historical symbols of language and art used by one nation enable to distinguish between different understandings of surrounding phenomena by different peoples. Semioticians have, for example, noticed that different peoples hear differently the voices of animals. For example – the Estonians name the sound made by barking dogs „Auh!“, the Russians name that same sound „Gav!“, the Germans name that sound „Waf!“ and so on. Such naming, in turn, starts to influence the way how people hear dogs barking. And dogs are named with different words by different peoples, at the same time the use of words for naming dogs by a nation reveals how the nation senses dogs or what does a nation consider most significant with regard to dogs. As such, the language already becomes the cause of thinking. This means that a nation experiences the phenomena that have by language been „cognized and taught as cognizable in certain cases to it“ (Uku Masing, Keelest ja meelest (Tartu: Ilmamaa 2004), 28)

[as you see, here I refer to another Estonian scientist, theologian Uku Masing, though You may not find most of his writings translated into the English language],



or the phenomena of which the nation knows that the others cognize and experience those. A child who has been born in the middle of one nation acquires through language the experiences of previous generations. Were the states „closed“ legal systems, such systems would probably differ from each other to the extent that they would constitute a Babel of legal systems. This would significantly hinder communication between different countries”. 


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