Філологія - Вісник Донецького інституту соціальної освіти

G. VaSucheNko,

PhD (Philology),

Associate Professor of English Philology and Translation Department

Alfred Nobel University of Economics and Law, Dnipropetrovsk

The paper provides theoretical basis for considering English business terminology an integral part of general terminology theory. The author analyses the processes of terminologization, transterminologization and reterminologization and their role in terminological semantic name-giving.

Key words: terminology, general theory of terminology, business terminology, term, terminological Semantic name-giving, semantic transfer, synecdoche, terminologization, transterminologization, Reterminologization.


He theme of the present paper concerns some problems of English business terminology. As indicated by the title, attention has been concentrated largely, but by no means exclusively, on terminological semantic name-giving that is primarily represented by the process of terminologization, transterminologization, retermonologization. The reason for this choice was to confirm the idea of validity of general terminological theory to the tendencies of English business terminology development. The following aspects are to be considered:

1. Theoretical evaluation of English business terminology as part and parcel of general terminology theory, bearing in mind that terminology as a constituent part of any language wordstock may be considered as a lexical universal.

2. Semantic name-giving in terms of different processes, such as terminologization, transterminologization and retermonologization, and its linguistic representations in English business terminology, some peculiar tendencies being taken into consideration.

English has become the language for conducting international business. A lot of spheres of people’s activity are considered to be of business nature: business correspondence, memoranda, documents, forms of business activities, advertising; basic terms of delivery, terms of payment; legal aspects, sales, the sphere of work of whole-salers, distributors, brokers, agents; markets, exchanges; banking; share capital. All spheres of the kind are being served by English for Special Purposes that is opposed to English for General Purposes. In linguistics we speak now about business discourse that is characterized on the lexical level by business terminology.

The term «terminology» has two meanings. First, terminology is the scientific field pertaining to the study of relations between concepts and their designations (terms; names and symbols, also called items of nomenclature) and the formulation of principles and methods governing these relations in any given subject field, in business, in particular; and the task of collecting, processing, managing and presenting terminological data in one or more languages.

Secondly, terminology is also understood as the set of terms belonging to the special language of a scientfc subject feld.

© G. Vasuchenko, 2011



In business terminology fundamentals of terminological theory are followed, and frst of all, the distncton between Objects, i. e. enttes in the external world, called Concepts, which are units of knowledge, that consttute the mental representatons of objects, and Designatons of Concepts, which can be terms, names and symbols. Concepts are further determined by means of the relatons they have with other concepts, as well as by Defnitons, which consttute the descriptve, metalinguistc denotatons of concepts.

Business terminology in terms of the general theory of terminology is also defned with relaton to three diferent dimensions: the cognitve, linguistc and communicatve ones.

The Cognitve Dimension examines the concept relatons and the way they consttute structured sets of knowledge units or Concept systems Of the everyday area of human knowledge, as well as the representaton of concepts by defnitons and terms [6].

Linguistc Dimension examines or deals with existng linguistc forms as well as potental linguistc forms that can be used in order to name new concepts.

The communicatve dimension covers The use of terms As an important means of disseminatng knowledge to diferent categories of recipients in a variety of communicatve situatons and covers the actvites of communicaton, processing and disseminaton of terminological data in the form of specialized dictonaries, glossaries or terminological databases, etc.

Having in mind the multdimensional character of terminological enttes (concept – term – communicaton unit) in the context of conveying specialized knowledge one should pay atenton to signifcant infuences of contemporary theory and practce of terminology on the contemporary linguistcs.

The theory of terminology and modern linguistcs work hand in hand to reduce the diferences between terminology and linguistcs, though some theoretcal aspects concerning the status of a term as a special word, that, ideally, should be monosemantc, stylistcally neutral, devoid of synonyms, independent of the microcontext, be of systemic nature, should have a scientfc defniton, be concise, euphonic, sometmes appears contradictory to the real state of things.

Nowadays the increasing tendency to analyze terminology in its communicatve, i. e. linguistc context, leads to a number of new theoretcal assumptons and also to new methods of compilaton and representaton. Diferences between terminology and linguistcs can be summarized on the one hand in the prescriptve approach of terminology with respect to selectng one single correct linguistc form to represent a concept, and on the other hand in the descriptve approach of linguistcs with regard to the identfcaton of all possible linguistc variants of a single linguistc form [6].

The current tendency in the theory of terminology is to allow the existence of synonymic expressions and term variatons, thus rejectng its narrow prescriptve attude of the past, which insisted on connectng one concept to one term. This newly-born tendency is being justfed by assuming the fact that one concept above and beyond the narrow context of standardizaton can correspond to a variety of linguistc representatons, which can serve various communicaton needs.

Terminology today has adopted an approach to collectng lexical data that is based on corpora. Corpora is a collecton of materials that has been made for a partcular purpose [8, p. 88].

The linguistc aspects of term formaton in the sphere of business have much in common with other domains of knowledge and are of interest not only to terminology specialists, terminologists and subject feld specialists, but also to translators and interpreters, in partcular, when the later, due to a lack of dictonaries and glossaries in less widely used languages, are obliged to go beyond the call of duty as a translator and become namers and/or neologists.

Usually term formaton, or name-giving, can be carried out in a specifc environment: in a research laboratory, in a manufacturing company, at a conference, in a small enterprise, at the presentaton, in mass media, etc. In business term formaton is infuenced by the subject feld in which it is carried out, by the nature of persons involved in the process of designaton, by the stmulus causing the term formaton and by the phonological, morpho-syntactcal and lexical structures of the language in which new concept fnds its linguistc expression.



Linguists that are busy in the process of term formaton consider two types of term formaton in terms of pragmatc circumstances of their creaton: Primary term formaton and secondary term formaton. Primary creaton accompanies the formaton of a concept and is monolingual.

Primary term formaton presupposes no pre-existng linguistc entty, even though appropriate term formaton rules exist. Primary term formaton is quite ofen spontaneous.

Secondary term formaton occurs when a new term is created for an existng concept in the following two cases: frstly, as a result of the revision of a term in the framework of a single monolingual community, e. g. creaton of a term in the context of a normatve document (standard) or Rebaptsm Of a term as a result of the discovery of a new entty in the same subject feld (e. g. telephone is now referred to as «fxed telephone» following the discovery of «the mobile telephone»). Secondly, as a result of transferring knowledge to another linguistc community in which corresponding term needs to be created. Secondary term formaton presupposes an already existng term, which is the term of the source language, and which can serve as the basis for secondary formaton. Secondary term formaton is more frequently subject to rules and can be planned.

Semantc nature of a term has been investgated by many linguists and terminologists. Many modern defnitons of a term represent it as a special word having substantal and functonal inner nature [2, p. 61].

G. O. Vinokur’s point of view is characterized by a functonal approach to a term. He considers that a term has a major diferental feature functonally expressed by special professional noton, i. e. it is understood by him not as a special word or a phrase but as a word or a phrase (word combinaton) in its special functon [2, p. 61].

Without going deep into theoretcal problems of terminological name-giving the process may be represented in the following way: motvator → classifer → word-building patern → concept (noton) → a term.

Zhuravlyova T. A. considers that there are three types of terminological name-giving in English: semantc, word-building (morphological) and syntactc. Though, a chapter in her monograph deals with a borrowed name-giving.

Semantc terminological name-giving is peculiar to business English. In general semantc name-giving bases itself on semantc transfer within a special language, and in business English in partcular. This is the process by which an existng term in a special language is used in order to designate a diferent concept, by analogous extension. Semantc transfer can be expressed by designaton of a concept by analogy with a diferent more well-known or familiar concept. Similes, metaphors, synecdoches, etc. partcipate in the process of terminological name-giving.

Synecdoche Is the most productve technique of utlizing existng forms, which is referred to as systematc polysemy in the contemporary linguistc theory of semantcs: the whole is used for the part, and vice versa, the material for the object and vice versa, the building for the people who are in it, etc. Synecdoche can be regarded as a horizontal mechanism, infuencing terminologizaton and interdisciplinary borrowing (so called transterminologizaton). Terminologizaton of every word in the sphere of business English is a very productve way of terminological name-giving: e. g. BRIDE, Finance: an arrangement to borrow money for a short tme untl you can make more long term fnancial arrangements [8, p. 59]; BUCCANEER – someone who succeeds in business by taking risks and using skills and determinaton, and sometmes cheatng if necessary [8, p. 61]. In general English the word has the meaning of «someone who atacks ships at sea and steals from them» [9, p. 109]; COOK, v. informal, to dishonestly change ofcial records and fgures [8, p. 116]. in general language – someone who prepares and cooks food as their job [8, p. 116]; COOKIE, n. Computng: a fle containing informaton that is sent to your computer when you visit a website will recognize you when you visit it again [8, p. 116]. in general English: Br. E, biscuit [9, p. 346]; COWBOY, BrE, informal – someone who is dishonest in business or bad quality work, usually because they want to make money quickly [8, p. 213]. General English: in USA – a man who rides a horse and whose job is to care for catle [9, p. 363]; DOG, n. MARKETING: a product with low market share in a low-growth market. HEDGE, n FINANCE: something that gives you protecton against a fnancial risk [8, p. 248]. General English: a row of small bushes or trees, growing close together, usually dividing one feld or garden from another.



GHOST: people who are listed as workers on a company books and PAYROLL, but who do not do any work for the company [8, p. 932]. General English – the spirit of a dead person that people think they can see or feel in a place [9, p. 678].

Some proper names or names of literary characters may be also terminologized:

E. g. Goliath – disapproving an organizaton that is very large and powerful [8, p. 236].

Goliath – the giant warrior of Philistnes whom David killed with a stone from a sling [7, p. 608].

Ginnie Maes (pl.) – bonds sold by the Government Natonal Mortgage Associaton. Ginnie Maes are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government [8, p. 233].

Fannie Mae – informal name for the Federal Natonal Morgage Organizaton. In plural: Finance: bonds issued by the Fannie Mae [8, p. 200].

Motvaton has always been a great importance in terminological name-giving. There are diferent types of motvaton in English business terminology. In business terminology types of motvaton correspond to three types of name-giving. Thus, there are semantc, word-building and syntactc types of motvaton [20, p. 123].

There are two (lexical and structural) types of interacton between the word-stock of the natonal literary language and terminological spheres of diferent domains of knowledge. Terminologizaton and determinologizaton are phenomena of this interacton.

Terminologizaton of everyday words is a productve way of creatng terms. It is the result of semantc derivaton within the ready-made language signs, based on the narrowing the meaning of words or on the transfer of meaning, the later processes being infuenced by certain linguistc surrounding [2, p. 124].

The emergence of new terminological meanings is happening within oppositions; direct meaning – figurative meaning; general meaning – specialized meaning [2, p. 125].

Terminologization may cover not only single words, but also phrase consisting of two elements (words).

The most influencing terminological phrases are represented structurally by Adj + N, N + N, Participle I + N, Participle II + N structures.

In Adj + N terminological phrases one can trace a riot of colors that take on terminological connotations peculiar to different aspects of business activity. We can find there the following terminological phrases: Grey trade – involves buying goods from someone abroad who is not official supplier and selling them at a price which is lower than that charged for goods from an official supplier [8, p. 239].

WHITE KNIGHT, finance: someone who buys in a company to prevent another company taking it over completely [8, p. 528].

BLACK KNIGHT, finance: a company that tries to take control of another company by offering to buy larger of its shares [8, p. 48].

BLUE LAWS – laws in some US states preventing shops from opening on Sundays [8, p. 296].

PINK SHEETS FINANCE: in the US, information on shares in very small companies that are not traded on a stock market or on NASDAQ [8, p. 894].

NASDAQ Trademark National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations; a system giving the prices of shares in small and newer companies that are traded OVER THE COUNTER (= directly between dealers on a national computer network rather than on a stock market) in the US. NASDAQ is officially known as NASDAQ Stock exchange [8, p. 345].

GREEN AUDIT, Economics: an official examination of the effects of a company’s activities on the environment [8, p. 30].

RED GOODS, Economics: goods, such as food, that consumers use quickly after buying them and that produce a low profit [8, p. 236].

YELLOW BOOK, finance: informal Admission of Securities to Listing, a book produced by the LONDON EXCHANGE containing the rules that companies must follow if they want their shares to be traded there [8, p. 590].

The following N+N structures of Business terms are of interest. Their components, as a rule, function as elements that depend on each other, through the head word is the lead in the semantic structure of a phrase, the preceding noun being an attribute to the head word. E. g.



CUSTOMS AGENT, Commerce: a person or company that is paid to make the formal arrangements for imported goods to go through customs [8, p. 14].

PUMP PRICE, Economics: a price paid by car users for petrol [8, p. 411].

Compound adjectives having different grammatically oriented forms have been and are used in terminological name-giving in the business domain.

Linguists consider that three-element phrases in English do not participate in «pure» terminologization. E. g. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX – (usually singular) in the US, an index of whether people feel the economy will get better or worse [8, p. 263].

In the above-mentioned terminological phrase the two elements have undergone semantic transfer while the third element is used in its direct denotative meaning.

The process of terminologization in the sphere of English business is going on very actively in phrasal verbs and their derivatives [10 ].

The idea that all linguistic means in the domain of business are pragmatically-oriented, e. g. they serve the purposes of business discourse. Semantic recourses of English are being used to achieve most productive results in disseminating business information in all spheres of the activity. It should be also underlined that different most emotional ways of conveying ideas are used in English business discourse, especially in presentations.

– All riches of English are employed to specify concepts of business English.

– Terminological business English dictionaries testify to the rise, development and stabilization of English business discourse [8, p. 10].

– Semantic name-giving is represented in English by the process of terminologization that is of great practical value and primarily incorporates single everyday words and also two-element phrases.

Transterminologization is also very productive. It reflects not only semantic components of some everyday words, but also of terms as well. Different types of stylistic phenomena participate in terminological name-giving: metaphors, synecdoches, similes, etc. that are used in the process of name-giving, but in which we can also in business texts very often find a purposeful usage of semantic transfers to make business information more accessible for differently prepared recipients.

Phrasal verbs and their derivatives are being used in English business very often because business activity, as it is, is closely connected with certain layers of English vocabulary that is defined as colloquial. Linguists have always considered the usage of verbs a distinguishing feature of English colloquial speech, some of them even pointed out that phrasal verbs are «the idiomatic heart of the English language». To be in the swim of events in the sphere of business a dictionary entitled «English phrasal verbs in the Language of Business» was compiled by K. A. Solodushkina for businessmen and economists [10].

Superanskaya A. V. and others [5] consider some semantically-based processes, such as transterminologization. Both processes are interdependent and interconnected.

Transterminologization is understood as a certain feature of a term to enter a terminological system of some other domain of knowledge due to semantic transfers.

Many grammatical terms are used as terms of Internet, e. g. syntax, verb, etc.

Reterminologization is defined as a kind of transtrminologization.

A term that enters some different terminological system takes on additional or quite different semantic characteristics and having done so, «returns» to its previous terminological system, but having quite different meaning.

The above-mentioned semantic processes require further thorough investigations on the authentic English materials.


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6. Kostas Valeontis. The Linguistic Dimension of Terminology: Principles and Methods of Term Formation / Kostas Valeontis, Elena Mantzari // Электронный ресурс: Http://translation. hau. gr/telamon/files/HAU-speechValeontisMantzari_EN. pdf.

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У статті надається теоретичне підґрунтя для дослідження англомовної ділової термінології як складника загальної теорії термінології. Аналізуються процеси термінологізації, транстермінологіза-ції та ретермінологізації, а також їх роль у термінологічній семантичній номінації.

Ключові слова: термінологія, загальна теорія термінології, ділова термінологія, термін, Термінологічна семантична номінація, перенос, синекдоха, термінологізація, транстермінологі-Зація, ретермінологізація.

В статье подводится теоретическая основа для рассмотрения англоязычной деловой термино­логии как составляющей части общей теории терминологии. Анализируются процессы терминоло­гизации, транстерминологизации и ретерминологизации, а также их роль в терминологической се­мантической номинации.

Ключевые Слова: Терминология, общая теория терминологии, деловая терминология, тер­Мин, терминологическая семантическая номинация, семантический Перенос, синекдоха, Терми­Нологизация, транстерминологизация, Ретерминологизация.

Надійшло до редакції 8.02.2011.