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Creating a Danish legal language: legal terminology in the medieval Law of Scania

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Abstract

In the decades after 1200 the kingdom of Denmark developed a corpus of provincial laws written in Danish for the three major legal provinces. With the legislation for the eastern province of Scania as a starting point, this article shows how the writing down of the law led not only to the creation of a legal language but to a written vernacular language in general. It was not until the fifteenth century that written Danish was found outside of texts; charters and narrative until that point had been written in Latin.

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