Leaving money to dogs/Tiere als “Erben”

Nicht mal in England kann man ein Tier zum Alleinerben machen, trotz deutschsprachiger Presseberichte. Salzburger Nachrichten:

bq. london (SN, dpa). Eine im Alter von 89 Jahren verstorbene Engländerin hat ihren beiden Hunden ein Millionenerbe hinterlassen. Laut “Daily Mail” vermachte Nora Hardwell den Collie-Mischlingen Tina und Kate ihr Vermögen in Höhe von 675.000 Euro. Außerdem haben sie alleiniges Wohnrecht in ihrem Haus mit weitläufigem Garten.

The Salzburger Nachrichten and other reported last week that an Englishwoman left her estate to two dogs.

They quoted the Daily Mail, but the report is not available online, at least no longer.

The Bath Chronicle has a slightly more detailed report:

bq. A Recluse has left a staggering £450,000 in her will to her two beloved dogs. Spinster Nora Hardwell earmarked more than half of her £800,000 estate to ensuring that rescue dogs Tina and Kate would be well cared for after her death.
Neighbours say she lived for the Collie Cross dogs, who now have the run of her house in a village near Bath.

Although the first sentence says she left the money to the dogs, the article makes it clear that £450,000 was set aside to pay for care for the dogs for as long as they live, including keeping her house run for them.

bq. Miss Hardwell’s last will and testament reads: “I give the sum of £450,000 to my executors on trust to invest it and to apply the income from it for the maintenance of any dog or dogs which I may own at my death for the period of 21 years from the date of my death or until the death of my last dog.”

bq. She said a home had to be kept and maintained for her dogs and carers employed to look after them.

bq. The residue of her estate – and any cash left at the end of the 21-year period – will go to the Cinnamon Trust, a national charity for the elderly and their pets; the Animal Health Trust, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Cancer Research Campaign.

Originally the testatrix had four dogs, but two died shortly after she did.

(Via Juristisches und Sonstiges)

New language apparently not a cod/KOD statt Esperanto

Die Süddeutsche berichtet über die neue Sprache, KOD, von Johannes Vielberth (72) aus Regensburg.

A German report on the new artificial language KOD includes a sound clip. The website of the inventor also has English pages (the Spanish and French pages are not ready, which may explain why KOD is needed). Just for fun, it looks as if the language even has a new alphabet.

The language has no grammar of its own, however. That is, the speaker uses the grammar of his or her own language.

It seems the name Kod has a D sound at the end, which the Germans are bad at, leading to the Kot sound (= excrement). The name Eufo-Institut also uncomfortably recalls UFO, a word used in German as well as English.

According to the Süddeutsche, Kod is not a new language, but the sum of the most fundamental common features of fifteen languages spoken by 4,8 billion of the total of 6.3 billion people on earth.

(Via Persistent Illusions, which I now quote again. There is a reference there to Sommerloch, literally summer hole, the silly season). PI also gives excellent links to Wikipedia in Esperanto and in Interlingua.

Usage of ‘alleged’

At Language Log, Arnold Zwicky has a post on the misuse of allegedly and reportedly:

bq. I’ve seen numerous reports of some potentially felonious event, like an assault or a drive-by shooting, in which it is said that “the alleged perpetrator/assailant fled the scene”. We’re talking about an unidentified — in fact, for the moment, unidentifiable — person here, so it’s not that anyone’s rights are being protected. The hedge is just cautious icing on the journalistic cake.

This is a problem I’ve seen in students’ translations from German, although I’m not sure why. But at all events, if the German original misuses angeblich, it’s best to correct it in the translation. As is often said, if the style is bad, the translator takes the blame.

This reminds me of the problem of translating in der ehemaligen DDR (in the former German Democratic Republic). It’s often used where it doesn’t make much sense in German. In English, this misuse looks seriously wrong, partly because the expression is much less common than in German. For example, if someone was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1970, they were born in the GDR, not in the former GDR. Nor were they born in Chemnitz, strictly speaking, or at least, if you translate a birth certificate, you do not translate Karl-Marx-Stadt as Chemnitz, a name the city had before and after the GDR.

Zwicky quotes a police blotter (as they say over there). It reminded Mark Liberman (and me!) of the Arcata Eye police blotter (my earlier entry).

Apparently it isn’t fictitious after all. Here’s one of Mark’s quotes illustrating the style:

bq. A man sat with a dog four to six feet from one of the signs that says “NO DOGS” on the Plaza. He claimed an officer said he could sit there and dog up the place, but a City ranger said he’d warned the man to remove his dog a half-hour earlier. He was cited, while the dog’s uncomprehending face glowed with unconditional love for all concerned.

(The last sentence is not typical, but the ‘dog up’ is). Arcata Eye.

The police blotter is a text form new to me. It explains itself, even to British readers (provided they remember ink).

Rechtssicherheit and Rechtsfrieden in English

Following an entry in Carob and some discussion, I decided I need to define the German and English terms involved. The following is a reminder to myself (like a lot of this weblog):

Source: Deutsches Rechtslexikon, ISBN 3 406 34649 9

Rechtssicherheit, (Rechtsbeständigkeit), and Rechtsfrieden are distinguished.

Rechtsfrieden relates to litigation. One of the purposes of court proceedings and of the legal order is to avoid disputes and create peace. Among other things, disputes should be dealt with in such a way that there are no long-term disturbances of peaceful coexistence.

Rechtssicherheit is much more of a portmanteau term. Rechtssicherheit includes the predictability of the law. (This is what I had in mind when translating Rechtssicherheit as legal certainty: I was thinking of the need for the House of Lords not to overrule itself often, because people need to be able to rely on what the law is). But it also includes the existence functioning courts that make binding decisions on the applicable law, and the enforcement of court decisions. Another aspect is that court proceedings may not be pursued ad infinitum (even if this might lead to substantive justice), but decisions must at some point become final and non-appealable, the date being decided by the legislature after weighing the interests of justice and Rechtssicherheit in the sense of peaceful coexistence (this last suggests an overlap with Rechtsfrieden).

There is a lot more. Ensuring Rechtssicherheit is the task of the legislature. Judicial proceedings must also observe the principle. There must be a hierarchy of courts; decisions must be uniform, even though German law has no system of precedent; courts must normally keep to their own decisions.

I therefore conclude:

|Rechtssicherheit| legal certainty, or certainty of the law (the latter if, like Robin, you eschew the word legal)|
|Rechtsfrieden |legal peace, US closure|

Here’s a quote from BBC News:

bq. “It’s a very good and very clear and very impressive decision which the Court of Appeals in New York has published yesterday,” said Mr Lambsdorf. [I can just hear that German accent]
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder described the court ruling as an unusually important decision. He said it was now their goal to introduce a bill to the German parliament, the Bundestag, before the summer break indicating that what he termed “legal peace” was at hand.

and at a U.S. embassy, there is another reference in the text: Eizenstat on Legal Closure Agreement in Slave Labor Negotiations (Will provide “legal peace” for companies, reparation for victims).

Of course, people use words to mean what they want them to mean, so if the translator can tell what this is, the translation may be different from the above. I would not use the word finality for Rechtssicherheit unless I knew the word was being used in that narrower sense. And yet closure has the same meaning.

The dictionaries have:
Romain Rechtsfrieden: law and order, public peace, undisturbed administration of the law
Rechtssicherheit: legal security, public safety, law and order, certainty of the law, consistency of the law

Rechtssicherheit: certainty/reliability of the law

Rechtssicherheit: legal certainty; legal security; stability of the law

Lemon laws / “Zitronenauto”

Anscheinend hat das Landgericht Münster das Wort “Zitronenauto” eingeführt (amerikanisch “a lemon”, besonders für Autos benutzt). Vielleicht haben sie es von Autohändlern? Siehe Bericht:

bq. Münster (DAV). Wer ein so genanntes Zitronenauto mit zahlreichen Mängeln erwirbt, darf das Fahrzeug zurück geben und vom Händler einen fehlerfreien Wagen verlangen. Dies ergibt sich aus einem Urteil des Landgerichts Münster, auf das die Verkehrsrechts-Anwälte (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verkehrsrecht im Deutschen Anwaltverein – DAV) hinweisen.

bq. Landgericht Münster
Urteil vom 7. Januar 2004
Aktenzeichen: 2 O 603/02

Das Urteil ist online: hier nach Landgericht Münster und 2 O 603/02 suchen.

I know about the lemon laws in US states, but is that any reason to use the word ‘Zitronenauto’ in German?

I don’t know if the Hamburger Abendblatt’s use of Montagsauto (Monday car) is any better.
It appears to be a recent borrowing.

Here is a definition of a lemon:

bq. A vehicle that continues to have a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety. Generally, if the car has been repaired 4 or more times for the same Defect within the Warranty Period and the Defect has not been fixed, the car qualifies as a Lemon. All States differ so you should consult the Lemon Law Summary and the State Statutes for your particular State. Note that the warranty period may or may not coincide with the Manufacturer’s Warranty.

What’s the German law? No statute. The judges said that there were so many defects that subsequent improvement (Nachbesserung) would not be enough.

There was a Daihatsu Cuore ‘Lemon edition’ a few years ago, all yellow with yellow fittings. Picture borrowed from here (this reminds me of how much I could get done if I didn’t spend all my time trying to sort out software problems).

lemon ed 1 klein.jpg


Gespanschaft (Kroatien): deutsche Erklärung in der Wikipedia.

I knew that Bosnia has cantons, but I didn’t know that Croatia has Gespanschaften.

Gespanschaft was originally a German term for a regional administrative unit in Hungary (which included what is now Croatia) during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also known as Komitat. The head was a Gespan (Hungarian ispan), usually translated as Graf / Count. In Croatian the term for Gespanschaft is županija and that for Gespan is župan. (I suppose this is not directly relevant to the pig breeder Zsupán in Der Zigeunerbaron).

It seems logical but somehow disappointing that these districts translate into English as counties.

New Austrian legal weblog/Neues juristisches Weblog aus Österreich

Aktenvermerk interessiert sich unter anderem für Fachsprache (ein Euphemismus?):

bq. Bezugnehmend auf unser Gespräch übernehmen Sie den Verkauf der Liegenschaft und ich erlaube mir folgende Punktationen festzuhalten:

The new Austrian weblog Aktenvermerk (meaning something like a memorandum entered in a file) looks very promising. It has some excellent examples of legalese.

(Über/via Juristisches und Sonstiges)

‘Creating and Interpreting Law in a Multilingual Environment’

‘Creating and Interpreting Law in a Multilingual Environment’ is the title of a conference sponsored by the Brooklyn Law School Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition. The proceedings have been published in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law and can be downloaded free of charge (or bought on paper for a fee). Here it can be found on the publications page.

Contrary to my naive belief, the contributions aren’t about Brooklyn. Three are about Canada, three about the EU and one about an EU Civil Code. The last has the promising subtitle ‘When words translate better than concepts’. There are a few other contributions too, including an article about referee liability in amateur rugby in the UK.

Famous English saying baffles the natives

Im Stern von dieser Woche zitiert Heinrich von Pierer, der angeblich ein englisches Sprichwort zitiert (die deutsche Version reiche ich vielleicht nach), etwa “Nur Säuglinge in nassen Windeln lehnen Veränderungen ab”. Was für ein Sprichwort ist das überhaupt?

bq. From the Observer column in today’s Financial Times:

bq. Sticky feeling
Who said German companies needed to catch up? The giants of Germany’s corporate scene are already miles (kilometres?) ahead of counterparts in the English-speaking world.
How else to explain comments on cutting labour costs by Heinrich von Pierer, chief executive of electrical engineering group Siemens, in yesterday’s Stern magazine?
Summing up the general reluctance of people to accept change, he referred to what he described as an “English saying” that went: “The only ones who like changes are babies in wet nappies.”
An English saying? Really? Observer would love to meet von Pierer’s tutor. Can anyone enlighten us? Or should the gruff German join Shakespeare in the book of English proverbs?

A later poster points out that Google reveals ‘Only wet babies like change’ and other variations with the word ‘diapers’, that is, an American saying. Is that right?

(Thanks to Robin Bonthrone for this contribution to the pt group at Yahoo, which I repost with permission).

Predicting traffic jams/Stauvorhersage NRW

Keys Corner berichtet von einem Verkehrsinformationssystem in NRW, das so beliebt wurde, dass es weniger genau wurde.

Keys Corner mentions a system in North-Rhine-Westphalia for predicting where a traffic jam is going to occur in 30 minutes’ time. This was 99% accurate until so many people used it that it became less reliable. I suppose, taken ad infinitum, it could be so popular that jams would occur precisely where they were not predicted, and then you could start using it again and drive wherever it predicted jams, because you’d know there wouldn’t be any there.