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____________________________Reviews_________________________249 Essays on Terminology. 1995. Alain Rey. Translated and edited byJuan C. Sager. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, xiv + 223 pages. $24.95 (paper), $69.00 (cloth). This collection, translated from the French, is a set ofrecent essays and chapters from books by the author that have been selected to form a topical whole. Let me say at the outset that the translation does not add clarity to the text, because the wording of identical or parallel ideas throughout is not always without discrepancy. The opening sentence of chapter 1 (p. 11) says: "Terminology is fundamentally concerned with names and the process of naming." However, on p. 30 we read that "terminologies are systems of nouns and systems of definitions." On the same page, we read about "the division of denoted reality into classes of a single unit by means of the linguistic proper noun, e.g., the Danube, Brigitte Bardot . . . ," but on p. 40 we read about "the names 'flower', 'mammal' etc." It seems that in dealing with one and the same concept, the translation vacillates between 'name', 'noun', and 'proper noun'. The translation occasionally appears to be derailed in other aspects as well. On p. 30, there is a translation from the Russian linguistVinokur, which reads as follows: "A term as a name for an object of thought should never be confused with a proper name, or an element or a symbol of nomenclature as opposed to terminology, one must consider it as a system of completely abstract conventional and arbitrary symbols. . . ." Quite apart from the additional difficulty consisting in the way 'name' and 'proper name' are used, one cannot decide what the antecedent of 'it' is. If the translation has caused some difficulty in the text, its content in general is nevertheless lucid and useful. Chapter 1 presents a short history of terminology , which is traced back to Linnaeus in particular on the one hand, and to Guyton de Morveau and Lavoisier on the other, all three of them living in the 18th century. Chapter 2 clarifies some basic notions such as 'concept' within a broad discussion of distinct philosophical opinions. Chapter 3 brings us into the new era with the distinctive stress of the Austrian school on the cognitive and classificatory function of terminology at the expense of the purely linguistic one—and the Canadian school's emphasis on the sociolinguistic aspects of terminology . The epistemology of Karl Popper and other modern philosophers entails an even greater importance of terminology. Interlingual contacts would require a unified terminology, but the author is persuaded (59) that truly "international " terms are impossible (probably, it would seem, because of the idiosyncrasies and various traditional semantic accretions in the individual languages); instead, for international communication there should be terms that have an at least partially translingual character. The interesting observation is made here that such terms cannot be truly global, since the Greek and Latin morphemes so widely used in terminologies are more foreign to the speakers of languages like Chinese or Arabic than to Anglophone, Francophone (etc.) persons . Because of all these difficulties, bodi monolingual and plurilingual international standardization is even more necessary. 250Reviews The next chapter discusses types of terminological neologisms in several languages, particularly English and French. Apart from different derivational types, die author distinguishes between thematic onomasiology and componential onomasiology. By the latter he does not mean anything similar to what is usually meant by 'componential analysis' (i.e., an analysis of a word's meaning into its minimal semantic components—frequendy called 'sememes' and 'semes') but rather the 'inventory of semantic needs' (79). The criteria by which one should evaluate the neologisms coined to cover the semantic needs discovered are of particular importance. These criteria are: system conformity, semantic potential (meaning good derivational motivation), productivity, distinctiveness and lack of competition, and acceptability. After a discussion of various tasks of applied terminology (identified mainly as description, transmission, and standardization of terms), the autiior discusses the relationship between terminology and lexicography. An analysis of the relationship of lexicography to adjacent fields is an interesting side-issue here: lexicography is said to extend further than lexicology in its compass, and in die same way it also transcends linguistics in terms...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 249-251
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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