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The three dimensions of the term (ap.
Sager, 1990)

 Cognitive (the domain/field)

 Linguistic (the designation)

 Communicative/pragmatic
Pragmatic aspects in term formation

 Where is a term actually created?

 When is a term actually created?

 Who creates a term?

Pragmatic aspects in term formation

 Where?
 A research laboratory, a company, a conference
 When?
 When there is a need for new designation: a new
product is created, a new theory is imagined
 Who?
 A scientist? a linguist?
Pragmatic aspects in term formation

 Primary term formation

 Monolingual
 No pre-existing linguistic entity
 Spontaneous, no rules, not planned
 The formation of a concept + the term
 The scientist / inventor (not a linguist)
 Examples: quark
Primary term formation

 The quark model was first postulated independently

by physicists Murray-Gel -Mann and George Zweig
in 1964. At the time of the theory's initial proposal,
the "particle zoo" consisted of a few leptons and a
multitude of hadrons. Gell-Mann and Zweig posited
that hadrons were not elementary particles, but
instead composed of various combinations of quarks
and antiquarks. They postulated three flavors (!!!) of
quarks—up, down and strange—to which they
ascribed properties such as spin and electric
Primary term formation

 Gell-Mann originally named the quark after the

sound made by ducks. For some time, he was
undecided on an actual spelling for the term he
intended to coin, until he found the word quark in
James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake:
“Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he has not got much of a bark
And sure any he has it's all beside the mark.”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
Primary term formation
 In 1963, when I assigned the name "quark" to the
fundamental constituents of the nucleon, I had the sound
first, without the spelling, which could have been
"kwork". Then, in one of my occasional perusals of
Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, I came across the
word "quark" in the phrase "Three quarks for Muster
Mark". From time to time, phrases occur in the book that
are partially determined by calls for drinks at the bar. I
argued, therefore, that perhaps one of the multiple
sources of the cry "Three quarks for Muster Mark" might
be "Three quarts for Mister Mark", in which case the
pronunciation "kwork" would not be totally unjustified. In
any case, the number three fitted perfectly the way
quarks occur in nature.
Primary term formation

 Any relation between concept and

Secondary term formation

 A new term is created for an existing concept

 The term is revised (in the same language)
 Transfer of knowledge to another linguistic
 A pre-existing basis / term
 This can be in another language
 Created by a linguist / terminologist
 Rules/principles (to be found in language)
Principles for concept – term
 Linguistic appropriateness (atomic energy
vs. nuclear energy)
 Linguistic economy (Terms should be
concise: e.g. term bank vs. terminological
data bank)
 Derivability (Term formations allowing for
potential derivatives and word families e.g.
inflaţie, inflaţionist, anti-inflaţionist etc.)
Linguistic aspects in term formation

 Methods:

 Creating new forms

 Using existing forms

 Translingual borrowings (loan words)

Linguistic aspects in term formation

 Creating new forms through:

 Derivation (phosphorous, detoxification)
 Compounds => complex terms
 Hyphen high-definition television
 Fusion/block downsizing, outflow
 No join member country
 Blends
 Biological + electronic = bionic
 Abbreviations: full form Court of Justice of the European
Communities, abbreviation Court
 Clippings (influenza = flu)
 Initialisms (PC = personal computer)
 Acronyms (scuba = self contained underwater breathing
Linguistic aspects in term formation

 Existing forms:
 Conversion (Google => to google)
 Terminologization (wave => electromagnetic wave)
 Transdisciplinary borrowing: reaction => chemistry,
physics, physiology
 Semantic transfer within a special language
 Simile: L-shaped room, Π network
 Synecdoche (very productive): screen: concrete “the part of a
computer on which information is displayed” and abstract “the
information displayed on this computer part”
 Metaphor: the invisible hand of the market
Linguistic aspects in term formation

 Loans:
 Direct borrowing = full adoption of terms from
contemporary languages (soft, hard in Romanian
< English, chef, reservoir in English < French)
 Loan translation: The morphological elements of
a term are translated literally in order to form a
new term in the target language (Eng. Online >
French en ligne)
Systems of term formation: chemistry

 Organic name systems (chemistry)

 Structure: CH3O-CH2-CH 3
 Substitutive name: methoxyethane
 Radicofunctional name: ethyl methyl ether
 Skeletal replacement: 2-oxybutane
Systems of term formation: chemistry

 Substitutive nomenclature: prefixes (radicals)

denote the substitution of a hydrogen atom of the
parent by the named group (e. g. methoxyethane)
 Skeletal replacement nomenclature : the prefixes
ending in the letter “a” (e.g. oxa-, thia-, aza- etc.)
denote the replacement of an atom in the backbone
of the parent by the named atom.
 Radicofunctional nomenclature are a type of
additive name in which groups are named as
prefixes (radicals) separated by spaces and followed
by the name of the function involved (e.g. 2-
Systems of term formation: chemistry

 Functional suffix Groups (ap. IUPAC Organic

 Class: Amines
 Formula: -NH2
 Suffix: -amine

 Class: Alcohols
 Formula: -OH
 Suffix: -ol
Systems of term formation: chemistry

 Stems in chemical nomenclature

(ap.PharmS/Norm 15):
 -adol analgesics (Tramadol)
 -astine anitihistaminics
 -cillin anitbiotics
 -gest- steroids, progestogens
 Prost- prostaglandins
 -olol β-adrenoreceptor antagonists
 -terol bronhodilators, phenetylamine
Systems of term formation: chemistry

 -adol analgesics (Tramadol)

 -astine anitihistaminics (loratadine,
astemazol, cetirizine)
 -cillin antibiotics (Amoxycillin,
Moxifloxacin, Cycloserine)
 -gest- steroids, progestogens
 Prost- prostaglandins (thromboxane)
 -olol β-adrenoreceptor antagonists
 -terol bronhodilators, phenetylamine
Principles for term formation
Principles for term formation:
A term is considered transparent when the concept it designates can
be nferred, at least partially, without a definition. In other words, its
meaning is visible in its morphology. To make a term transparent, a key
characteristic, usually a delimiting characteristic, is used in the creation
of the term itself.
It is advisable that only essential or delimiting characteristics not likely
to change quickly as a result of technological evolution be used.
ex. chalkboard vs blackboard
The terminology of any subject field should not be an arbitrary and
random collection of terms, but rather a coherent terminological
system corresponding to the concept system. Existing terms and new
terms must integrate
into and be consistent with the concept system.
ex. synthetic fabrics: nylon, orlon, rayon, dacron etc.
Principles for term formation
Proposed terms should adhere to familiar, established patterns of
meaning within a language community. Term formations that cause
confusion shall be avoided.
ex. genetic engineering vs. genetic manipulation
Linguistic economy
A term shall be as concise as possible. Undue length is a serious
shortcoming. It violates the principle of linguistic economy and it
frequently leads to ellipsis (omission).
ex. term bank vs. terminological databank
Productive term formations that allow derivatives (according to whatever
conventions prevail in an individual language), should be favoured.
ex. herb vs. medicinal plant
Principles for term formation

Preference for native language

Even though borrowing from other languages is an
accepted form of term creation, native language
should be given preference over direct loans.
Linguistic correctness
A term shall conform to the morphological, morphosyntactic
and phonological norms of the language in question.
Brand name formation

 In 1938, a chemist working in a DuPont laboratory found

that the refrigerant gases he'd left in a tank had
mysteriously been replaced by a very slippery and highly
heat-resistant substance.
 Polytetrafluoroethylene = Teflon

 When Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral had burrs

stick to his clothes on a hunting trip in the Alps in 1941,
he got the idea for the fastener known as Velcro ~
velours ("velvet," in French) + crochet ("hooks").
Brand name formation

 A list of brand naming considerations offered

by brand naming company, Brand Periscope:
easy to say and spell
extendable, has room for growth
positive feeling
international; doesn’t have bad meanings in other
available; from trademark and domain perspective
meaning, has relevance to your business
Brand name formation

 Rolls Royce’s romantic “Silver Mist” in

German: “Silver manure/Silver animal
 Toyota’s Fiera: in Puerto Rico, ‘fiera’
translates to ‘ugly old woman’.
 Ford ‘Pinto’ in Brazil: in Brazilian Portuguese
slang, ‘pinto’ means ‘small penis
Term formation – complex terms

 Most terms are complex (nominal phrases ~ 90%)

 They pack information
 They are motivated (ex. valoare de lichidare = “valoarea
unie firme daca ea s-ar dezmembra/ar fi lichidata”)
 They can be expanded by adding new elements
 Their structure normally follows the language pattern (ex.
rom. taxa pe valoare adăugată en. value added tax,
germ. Mehrwertsteuer)
Term formation
Principles for term formation

 The “Analogue Rule” with regard to naming in Greek

 The processes operated during primary term formation in
a source language can provide valuable guidance for the
creation of terms on a secondary level. The processes of
designating a concept in a target language must take
account of the corresponding processes operated in the
source language just as these are reflected in the form of
the primary term. The systematization of these
processes within an integrated naming mechanism in the
target language is called the “analogue rule”.
Principles for term formation

 According to the analogue rule, “when

forming a term in a target language in order
to name a new concept that has been
primarily named in the source language,
the namer’s first choice should be to
apply a term-formation mechanism
analogous to the term-formation
mechanism used for the source language
Principles for term formation

 Example 1:
In the subject field of 〈Electronics〉, the English term chip
was formed in the source language as a simple single-
word term, via terminologization of the ordinary term
chip, meaning “a very thin slice of wood, food, etc.” in
order to render the concept “integrated circuit in the form
of a thin rectangular semiconductor plaque”. In Greek,
ΜΟΤΟ applied an analogous mechanism by
terminologization of the ordinary Greek term πλινθίο
(= small brick). This choice provided for the possibility to
render successfully terms such as those displayed in the
table below.
Principles for term formation

 Example 2:
 In 〈Telecommunications〉 and 〈Information Technology〉,
the English term bit was formed in the source language
as a new single-word form (simple single-word term) by
abbreviating (in this case blending) the full form binary
digit, without any change to the concept of the full
form: “digit of the binary numbering system”. The two
terminology bodies ΜΟΤΟ (Τelecommunications) and
ELOT/TC48/WG1 (Information Technology) submitted
three suggestions for the rendition of bit in Greek, as
candidates for the “Greek equivalent term”, which were
put to vote by ΕΛΕΤΟ (the Hellenic Society for
Principles for term formation
The term which received the majority of votes, was
approved and has already been established as the Greek
equivalent term is the Greek blend δυφίο /δifío/. Thus, in
this case a blend of the equivalent full term in Greek
analogous to that of the English term was chosen:
b inary dig it = bit
δυ αδικό ψη φίο = δυφίο /δifío/
(The linguistic dimension of terminology: principles and
methods of term formation, by Kostas Valeontis Elena