LAWgical reports that three universities, in Montreal, Montpellier and Saarbrücken, have started a kind of academic JuraWiki. The former has 52 articles at present, apparently; the latter has 3157 pages.

Looking at the first screen of JurisPedia, it presents Arabic, English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese pages. Starting with the English pages, I found a recent entry called Introduction to the basic and the constitutional law (de) – but not in German, in (non-native) English:

bq. The basic law of the Federal Republic of Germany is the actually legal version of a constitution that realises the idea of governing the state and protecting the rights of the state’s citizens and humans. The Federal Constitutional Court was furthermore created to be the Basic Law’s guardian. It watches over the observance of newly created rights and amplifies by this the specifications of this law.

I wish people did not believe that furthermore means also in every possible context! Sorry about that outburst – I am going to have to get used to this. I could not find any German entries at all, but I did find myself suddenly in the (empty?) German section of Belgium.

This JurisPedia has a slightly French slant, I imagine. JuraWiki is basically German, although of course it offers English too. The standard English and German Wikipedias also offer law.

In casting around for examples, I came across a ‘Simple’ English Wikipedia. Here is some comic relief on law from that:

bq. A jurist is a professional who studies and argues the rules of law. An ethicist is someone who usually works only within codes of conduct based upon what people feel is right or wrong rather than what the law says.

bq. When leaders enforce the legal code honestly, even upon themselves and their friends, this is called rule of law. It’s rare – but many people believe it is possible, especially in a democracy. Some people don’t like the idea of the rule of law because they think it’s more about keeping the power in the hands of the people who already have it, rather than keeping everybody safe.

I wonder if this was discussed at Wikimania. I realize a Wiki is what its users make it, but the more there are, the less hope there is of sense taking hold.

There is also a Wiktionary, btw, which is a huge project. I’m mentioning it here for the sake of completeness.

P.S. I apologize for any capitalization errors in words like LAWgical, WikiMania, JurisPedia and so on. I just cannot be bothered to look these things up.

7 thoughts on “JurisPedia

  1. Re. “furthermore”: I also frequently see “moreover” used as an attempted synonym for “also”.

    It’s like “respectively”, isn’t it? I must say that I never found the typical misuse of this word (“X respectively Y”) as an alleged translation of “bzw.” in any of my son’s text books when he was at school in Germany, so I wonder if this abomination is forced on people at university. And isn’t it amazing how snotty some non-natives can get when you point out the error? Where does it come from, and why are some people so fanatical about defending it?

  2. And resp. and f.ex. …
    And have you encountered ‘furtheron’? I think it’s supposed to be ‘weiterhin’.

    I don’t think I’ve met anyone defending these things. Do you think it’s taught? One thing I have found a lot of schools teach wrong is ‘How do you do?’ I address that to someone I’m meeting for the first time. It can be quite amusing in Verhandlungsdolmetschen classes – or exams – if you react as if you didn’t know what the person really meant.

    Oh dear – I didn’t mean to rant. After all, anyone could correct the wikipedia (JurisPedia) entry. But why not write it in German? Because English is going to be read by more people.

  3. I wish people did not believe that furthermore means also in every possible context!

    Well, did you correct the error?

    I realize a Wiki is what its users make it, but the more there are, the less hope there is of sense taking hold.

    I don’t think I agree with that. Wikipedia shows quite clearly the weaknesses (e.g. providing high-quality entries on “canonical” points of big culture without violating copyright laws, entries on topics that involve long-standing international conflicts) and strengths (mostly, up-to-date information on complex recent questions and issues, taken from minority/popular culture or other fast-moving areas, and fast correction of errors) of the wiki model of collating encyclopedic knowledge.

    I believe it is getting better and better, partly because the users are learning what to expect and how to make the best of it.

  4. As a non-native speaker, I outlaw actual/actually, furthermore, moreover and respectively for use by my non-native interns–in addition to passive for the first two months. I remember some mistakes I made when I entered the real world with my school English. Hopefully, I was not too snotty when native speakers pointed out mistakes to me. I may have defended my misuse of the language with recent experience in another English-speaking country where the usage differed – or I thought it differed.

    Wiki: Even though you can correct mistakes, would you touch the “actually legal version of a constitution?” Do the authors mean “die in der Tat rechtmaessige Fassung einer Verfassung”? Oder die gegenwaertig rechtmaessige Fassung …?” They might protest if they intended the former and a visitor changed it to “the currently legal version …”

  5. Chris: No, I didn’t correct the errors, of which there were many. I could have spent an hour correcting the language errors. Had it been just one, it might have been different. But no, I don’t feel obliged to correct something that hasn’t yet got anywhere and has no German against which I can check it.

    I do like Wikipedia a lot, and my suspicions were directed at all the mini-wiki-pedias one sometimes encounters. After all, why could not this international law stuff be incorporated into Wikipedia itself?

    Clemens: Exactly, I don’t know what it means at all. I suppose I wold guess “gegenwärtig”.

    I hope I don’t attack all bad English I encounter on the Net.

  6. I’m sorry: I wasn’t able to get past the “rights of the State’s citizens and humans.”. I think I can guess what was intended … no, maybe I can’t. Anyway, the only reading I can get is a sort of science-fiction one. “Friends … humans … Gleebnorgians … lend me your various sensory apparatus …”

  7. Yes, I obviously didn’t linger on it enough. I was feeling guilty for being so critical, but in fact many parts of it are incomprehensible, so the only thing to do would be to have the German uploaded and for someone to translate it into English from scratch, since correcting what is there would take longer.

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