Monday, August 20, 2007
Welcome to the Blawgosphere
Voir Dire - “to speak the truth.” VDB covers topics such as social science approaches to law and legal institutions, legal doctrine and legal policy implementation, and profession issues for academics. On occasion we dabble in the areas of pop culture, politics, and social issues, but for the most part we are not interested in becoming a pundit blog. VDB is designed as an online forum for the exchange of information on our core topics and research and teaching generally. Our aim is to advance discourse on these topics and highlight research and academic news that we find interesting.
Its first few entries look very promising -- and they offer the best of what academic bloggers can do well: actual commentary on scholarship.
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I confess error and repent. From David Mellinkoff's wonderful The Language of the Law (1963): "In modern French 'voire' means in truth, but without the 'e', as 'voir,' the meaninhg is to see. A conclusion from Modern French could be that voir dire means 'to see him speak.' But the law words voir dire...carry their Old French meaning to speak the truth [citing Blackstone and the OED, among others.]....Old French 'voir dire' is still good law French; it has no active life outside of the law, and results in confusion if judged by the standards of Modern French..." None of this detracts from the considerable merits of the blog itself but it was a nice distraction from the first day of class.....
Posted by: Daniel Reynolds | Aug 21, 2007 4:08:16 PM
"Voir" = to see
"Dire" = to speak
"Verite" = truth
"Vrai" = correct/true
The French phrase for "to speak the truth" might be "dire la verite" (with an acute accent on the last e) or "vrai dire"
A better translation of "voir dire" might be "show and tell." The legalese translation of that is more than a little ironic.
Posted by: clerk | Aug 21, 2007 12:33:24 PM
Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch. To be quite frank, neither of us claims to be an expert on French or Latin - the "to speak the truth" language was simply taken from two law dictionaries' treatment of the term - Blacks Law Dictionary 7th Edition (1999) and Barrons Law Dictionary 2nd Edition (1984) - both use this phrase and we thought it was a nice touch. I'd issue a mea culpa, but that might set off a whole new discussion on that term. ;-)
Posted by: Jeff Yates | Aug 21, 2007 12:10:29 PM
I had the same initial reaction, but a quick google search reveals that voir dire is not French but rather a derivation from Latin: an oath to tell the truth (verum dicere). At least that was Wiki said, but perhaps the Wikiscanner software will reveal that that entry was doctored by these bloggers...
Posted by: Dan Markel | Aug 21, 2007 9:27:26 AM
"Voir Dire" is a nice title for such a blog but "to speak the truth" is a real stretch in translation.
Posted by: Daniel Reynolds | Aug 21, 2007 8:47:32 AM