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The Semantic and Lexical Evolution of “Divorce” Throughout the History of French Legislation

Abstract

The dissolution of marriage has not always existed in the French legal field since marriages were under the control and influence of the Catholic Church for a long time. It was only in 1792 that the term “divorce” first appeared in French law in order to designate the concept of the “dissolution of civil marriages abstracted from the prerogative of death of one of the spouses and religious issues”. After the introduction of this concept into the French legal context, there were legislative changes regarding different divorce situations over the following years. In the light of these facts, this paper examines the semantic and lexical evolution of the term divorce in the domain of French law, relating this evolution to socio-cultural and historical aspects of France between 1792 (when the divorce was instituted in the country) and 2017 (when the most recent legislative change on the subject occurred). The present study is based on the theoretical and methodological assumptions of Terminology (Cabré, 1999; Barros, 2004; Krieger & Finatto, 2004), particularly on the perspective of Diachronic Terminology (Dury, 1999; Tartier, 2006). Based on the results of this investigation, it is possible to affirm that the evolution of French society has leaded to the transformation of the legal domain that, in turn, has created new concepts that caused the semantic and lexical evolution of the terminology designating types of divorce in France since the eighteenth century.

Cite as: Curti-Contessoto et al., JLL 9 (2020), 48–66, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2020.048

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Keywords

divorce, semantic-lexical evolution, legislative changes, France, diachronic terminology

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Author Biography

Beatriz Curti-Contessoto

Postdoctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo (USP). PhD in Linguistic Studies at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil with support of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Since 2013, she collaborates with Centre de Ressources et Information en Français (CRIF) that was founded by UNESP and French Embassy of São Paulo. She works as translator (since 2012) and substitute professor in Letters and Bachelor's Degree in Translation (since 2016) at UNESP (Campus of São José do Rio Preto/São Paulo).

Isabelle Oliveira

MCF - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3

CLESTHIA - Langage, systèmes, discours - EA 7345

ED 268 - Langage et langues : description, théorisation, transmission

Département : Langues Etrangères Appliquées (LEA)

Ieda Maria Alves

She developed postdoctoral researches at the Université Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle (France), Université Paris 7 - Denis Diderot (France), Université Paris 13 - Villetaneuse (France), Institut de la Langue Française (Nancy and Centre de Terminologie et de Néologie, Paris), Université Laval (Quebec, Canada). She is Ph.D. in Linguistics at the Université Paris 3 - Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Paris, France). She is currently a full professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. She has experience in the area of Linguistics, with emphasis on the study of Lexicon, acting on the following subjects: Neology, Lexicology, Morphology, Terminology and Lexicography.


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