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judgement vs. judgment
Thread poster: Nadine Kahn

Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
Germany
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May 26, 2007

Hi folks!

I recently came across the word "judgment" in a legal text. It had been translated before, therefore I thought they used the American English version here, because it actually has to read "judgement". That's what I was thinking....

Well, I googled for the term and found various sources, Wikipedia among others. Here's what they tell us:

judgement -> redirected to judgment

Spelling

The spelling judgment is found in the Authorized Version of the Bible. However, the spelling judgement (with e added) largely replaced judgment in the United Kingdom in a non-legal context. In the context of the law, however, judgment is preferred. In the U.S. judgment strongly prevails. As with many such spelling differences, both forms are equally acceptable in Canada and Australia, although judgment is more common in Canada and judgement in Australia.[1] In New Zealand the form judgment is the preferred spelling in dictionaries, newspapers and legislation, although the variant judgement can also be found in all three categories. In South Africa, judgement is the more common form. See further at American and British English spelling differences.


Now I wondered if it's actually true that it depends on the context (legal or non-legal) whether to use "judgement" or "judgment". I honestly can't imagine this being so, for it's the first time that I would've heard about different spelling in different fields as opposed to traditional usage (BE and AE).

What I found is that it has to be related to the Bible, since they first used "Judgment Day" and "Last Judgment" for instances. I also had a closer look into the etymology of the word. It derives from a Latin word (iudicare) and has been adapted to - jugement (Old French) later.

Now my question is: is it correct to use "judgment" in legal texts only (or preferably) and if so, why is this the case?

Thanks lots for your comments on this!


Have a nice weekend!


P.S.: Lodgement came to mind (to lodge) - logier (Old French). According to leo.org - Lodgement is the BE term, while lodgment is being used im America.


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Anne Goff  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:29
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You've got it right, though I couldn't tell you why it's right. May 27, 2007

According to Garner's Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage:

"Judgment is the preferred form in AmE and seems to be preferred in British legal texts, even as far back as the 19th century. Judgement is prevalent in British nonlegal texts, and was thought by Fowler to be the better form; Glanville Williams states that, in BrE 'judgement should really be the preferred spelling.' Learning the Law 153 (11th ed. 1982).

"In AmE, a judgment is the final decisive act of a court in defining the rights of the parties. It 'includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies.' Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(a).

"In BrE, judgment is commonly used in the sense in which judicial opinion is used in AmE: 'The facts of this case, which are fully stated in the judgment of Lord Hanworth M.R., were briefly as follows.' (Eng.) Continental legal systems likewise use judgment in this way."


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lingomania
Local time: 08:29
Italian to English
Not many May 27, 2007

Hello. I don't do many legal translations and when I receive an offer, I usually pass them on to my lawyer/colleague. I can only add that the few I've seen, judgement is the most common form used internationally and judgment strictly in the U.S.A.
Have a nice Sunday.

Rob


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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
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English to German
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Even more confuzzled May 27, 2007

Thanks so much for your input! Even though it doesn't bring to light WHY they seem to prefer the American spelling in legal texts.

Here's an excerpt from the bible:

Psalm 9:7


7 The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.



So, it's always "judgment" in the bible? Here are some other translations of the same line:

http://bible.cc/psalms/9-7.htm

7 And Jehovah to the age abideth, He is preparing for judgment His throne. - Young's Literal Translation

Wycliffe was the first person to translate the bible into English in 1380; he was an Oxford professor and theologian.

Have there been any major spelling reforms or some such where the E might have got lost?

[Edited at 2007-05-27 23:32]


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lingomania
Local time: 08:29
Italian to English
Rather interesting May 27, 2007

Enkay wrote:

Thanks so much for your input! Even though it doesn't bring to light WHY they seem to prefer the American spelling in legal texts.

Here's an excerpt from the bible:

Psalm 9:7


7 The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.



So, it's always "judgment" in the bible? Here are some other translations of the same line:

http://bible.cc/psalms/9-7.htm

7 And Jehovah to the age abideth, He is preparing for judgment His throne. - Young's Literal Translation

Wyciffe was the first person to translate the bible into English in 1380; he was an Oxford professor and theologian.

Have there been any major spelling reforms or some such where the E might have got lost?


This is interesting. I'm Australian and in Auistralian schools we learn(ed) British English, but being a U.S. rock music freak, in the years I learned to love and accept the U.S. spelling of words. Phonetically speaking, the U.S. spelling of many words is based on a logical pattern...they seem to like pronouncing a letter or series of letters if they are there...if a letter is there but is silent, they won't write it...simple as that. Perhaps the international community is learning to accept the U.S. spelling too.

Rob


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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
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Yeah, it's supposed to be AE May 27, 2007

lingomania wrote:

Enkay wrote:

Thanks so much for your input! Even though it doesn't bring to light WHY they seem to prefer the American spelling in legal texts.

Here's an excerpt from the bible:

Psalm 9:7


7 The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.



So, it's always "judgment" in the bible? Here are some other translations of the same line:

http://bible.cc/psalms/9-7.htm

7 And Jehovah to the age abideth, He is preparing for judgment His throne. - Young's Literal Translation

Wyciffe was the first person to translate the bible into English in 1380; he was an Oxford professor and theologian.

Have there been any major spelling reforms or some such where the E might have got lost?


This is interesting. I'm Australian and in Auistralian schools we learn(ed) British English, but being a U.S. rock music freak, in the years I learned to love and accept the U.S. spelling of words. Phonetically speaking, the U.S. spelling of many words is based on a logical pattern...they seem to like pronouncing a letter or series of letters if they are there...if a letter is there but is silent, they won't write it...simple as that. Perhaps the international community is learning to accept the U.S. spelling too.

Rob


Hi there!

Yes, it's supposed to be "judgment" according to the American spelling, but as Anne Goff has confirmed in her comment above, it's always "judgment" in legal texts, whereas "judgement" is fine for peeps in GB + Australia in a non-legal context, too.

Here's a discussion at leo.org:

http://dict.leo.org/forum/viewGeneraldiscussion.php?idThread=13383&idForum=4&lp=ende&lang=de

Pretty interesting, I find. Is it the same with acknowlegd(e)ment?


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
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program and programme /data sing and data plural May 27, 2007

Enkay wrote:
I honestly can't imagine this being so, for it's the first time that I would've heard about different spelling in different fields as opposed to traditional usage (BE and AE)


In BE, program is used for computers, but all other fields refer to programme

In the computer field, data is plural, whereas it's singular in science in general.



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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
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Chaucer used "judgment" May 27, 2007

Enkay wrote:

Thanks so much for your input! Even though it doesn't bring to light WHY they seem to prefer the American spelling in legal texts.



I don't think that it's a Q of preferring AE spelling.

EN spelling has changed hugely over the centuries, and probably what happened is that an error was propagated OR an original spelling of the J word without the E took hold in legalese long before the US came into existence. Note that language developed in different ways in different regions.

I did a quick search for Geoffrey Chaucer and "judgment":

For all of these reasons it were dangerous indeed to err in this matter. Wherefore, Melibeus, this is our *judgment: we counsel you above all things, that, without delay, you take steps to guard your own person in such wise that you shall lack neither spy nor watchman.
http://www.4literature.net/Geoffrey_Chaucer/Tale_of_Melibeus/2.html

Ye shall tell tales, or turn to play and song,
For truly joy or comfort is there none
To ride along the road dumb as a stone;
And therefore I will fashion you some sport
To fill your way with pleasure of a sort.
And now if, one and all, it likes you well
To take my *judgment as acceptable,
And each to do his part as I shall say,
Tomorrow, as we ride along the way,
Then by the soul of my father that is dead,
Ye shall be merry, or I will give my head!
Up with your hands now, and no more of speech!"

http://chaucer.classicauthors.net/CanterburyTales/CanterburyTales2.html


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Anne Goff  Identity Verified
United States
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From the Latin & French May 27, 2007

According to an online dictionary (never do know how trustworthy some of these are) we get judge from French and Latin.

judge (v.)
1225, "to form an opinion about," from Anglo-Fr. juger, from O.Fr. jugier "to judge," from L. judicare "to judge," from judicem (nom. judex) "to judge," a compound of jus "right, law" + root of dicere "to say" (see diction). The O.E. word was deman (see doom). Meaning "to try and pronounce sentence upon (someone) in a court" is from c.1290. The noun is from 1303. In Hebrew history, it refers to a war leader vested with temporary power (e.g. Book of Judges), from L. judex being used to translate Heb. shophet.


So, it looks like we took the 'g' from French and the 'd' from Latin and never bothered taking the French 'e' as well. This leaves it (in my mind) closer to the Latin origin than the French which would make sense. In English, even in theology, it's primary use is or was as a legal term and we like drawing from Latin for legal terminology.

Personally I think it'd make more sense if it had an 'e'. Having had to teach student after student the rules about hard and soft consonants when followed by 'e' I would hate to have to explain judgment.

As a side note. A google search shows judgment is used 3x as much as judgement while acknowledgement and acknowledgment are running neck and neck with acknowledgement in the lead. Not that that means anything.


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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
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Good point! May 28, 2007

Lia Fail wrote:

Enkay wrote:
I honestly can't imagine this being so, for it's the first time that I would've heard about different spelling in different fields as opposed to traditional usage (BE and AE)


In BE, program is used for computers, but all other fields refer to programme

In the computer field, data is plural, whereas it's singular in science in general.



Yes, you're right about that, but since computer science has largely developed in the US, it's reasonable to use these expressions in that field.

About data: I think it's Latin actually, plural form for datum. So using "datas" is grammatically incorrect. Although you can note that it isn't English singly mixing it up.


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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
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That's the very point May 28, 2007

Lia Fail wrote:

Enkay wrote:

Thanks so much for your input! Even though it doesn't bring to light WHY they seem to prefer the American spelling in legal texts.



I don't think that it's a Q of preferring AE spelling.


No, I just wanted to make clear that it's the word lacking the letter E I think legal terms have little relation to America or the American way of spelling them, hence my excerpts from the Bible.


EN spelling has changed hugely over the centuries, and probably what happened is that an error was propagated OR an original spelling of the J word without the E took hold in legalese long before the US came into existence. Note that language developed in different ways in different regions.


Exactly! That's where I was going with the whole issue... Either, there had been an error in transmission (translation of the bible) or as you've mentioned, it indeed took hold in legalese. But when? After 1380, before 1492? I don't have Wycliffe's translation here, so I can't tell what he used back then. Is there any chance we can actually read his version from 1380 or is it rather hieroglyphs to our modern eyes?

[Edited at 2007-05-28 09:44]


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juvera  Identity Verified
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Just for information, "judgement" in the Bible Jun 1, 2007

Darby translation:
Jeremiah 48:47
But I will turn the captivity of Moab at the end of the days, saith Jehovah. Thus far is the judgement of Moab.

All other versions (New International, New American Standard, New Living, King James, New English Standard, Contemporary English, etc.):
SODOMITES » Destroyed by fire as a judgement (Genesis 19:24,25)

All others are spelt as judgement or judgements.

By the way, what about spelt / spelled?


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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
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That's strange Jun 1, 2007

juvera wrote:

Darby translation:
Jeremiah 48:47
But I will turn the captivity of Moab at the end of the days, saith Jehovah. Thus far is the judgement of Moab.

All other versions (New International, New American Standard, New Living, King James, New English Standard, Contemporary English, etc.):
SODOMITES » Destroyed by fire as a judgement (Genesis 19:24,25)

All others are spelt as judgement or judgements.

By the way, what about spelt / spelled?


Hello there!

I think that's strange... so, do all these sites lie?

48:47 Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far [is] the judgment of Moab.

http://www.godrules.net/library/kjv/kjvjer48.htm

http://bible.cc/jeremiah/48-47.htm

Or is it just a preference? I think the Bible mustn't distinguish between the two words here. Isn't it supposed to be one version only?

As regards "spelt/spelled" I'd think they could be used equally, not depending on a given text, whereas "spelt" is the preferred spelling in GB.



[Edited at 2007-06-02 14:40]


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lingomania
Local time: 08:29
Italian to English
Regular and irregular verbs Jun 2, 2007

There are some English verbs that are both regular and irregular.

Rob

[Edited at 2007-06-02 13:10]


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juvera  Identity Verified
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Sorry if my message was't clear.... Jun 2, 2007

Hi

Enkay wrote:
juvera wrote:
Darby translation:
Jeremiah 48:47
But I will turn the captivity of Moab at the end of the days, saith Jehovah. Thus far is the judgement of Moab.

All other versions (New International, New American Standard, New Living, King James, New English Standard, Contemporary English, etc.):
SODOMITES » Destroyed by fire as a judgement (Genesis 19:24,25)

All others are spelt as judgement or judgements.

By the way, what about spelt / spelled?


I think that's strange... so, do all these sites lie?

48:47 Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far [is] the judgment of Moab.

http://www.godrules.net/library/kjv/kjvjer48.htm
http://bible.cc/jeremiah/48-47.htm

Or is it just a preference? I think the Bible mustn't distinguish between the two words here. Isn't it supposed to be one version only?

As regards to "spelt/spelled" I'd think they could be used equally, not depending on a given text, whereas "spelt" is the preferred spelling in GB.


The Darby version of the Bible has "judgement" in Jeremiah
48:47, and in Genesis 19:24 all versions have.

Any other occurence in all versions spell the word as "judgment".

You are asking: Isn't it supposed to be one version only?
If it refers to the Bible, of course, not.
If it refers to the spelling of the word; it is not the only one spelt differently in the same version of the Bible.

Why would any of the versions lie? I am sure they tried to create a translation to the best of their ability from the source(s) they believed was the most authentic, clearest, etc., taking into account the period and the audience they were aiming at.

About the past and past participle of spell I know that spelt/spelled can be used equally and spelt is the preferred spelling in the UK, but I wanted to hear if there is any other opinion.


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