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These two hemispheric Lambert azimuthal equal area projections show the total magnetic field strength at the surface of the Moon, derived from the Lunar Prospector electron reflectometer (ER) experiment. Credit: Mark A. Wieczorek.

“[T]he main goal of terminology is not to represent concepts in order to manipulate them (as in artificial intelligence) but to define a common vocabulary we hope is consensual.”[1] Bold added.

It should be possible to take an apparent term, especially a likely cultural, technical or scientific term, and locate its domain, etymology, lexicography, and pragmatics.


This script was found on the temple walls of Tanjore Bragadeeshwara. It is very different from the present Tamil script. Credit: Symphoney Symphoney.

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language.[2][3][4][5] Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context.

Although linguistics is the scientific study of language, a number of other intellectual disciplines are relevant to language and intersect with it. Semiotics, for example, is the general study of signs and symbols both within language and without. Literary theorists study the use of language in literature. Linguistics additionally draws on and informs work from such diverse fields as acoustics, anthropology, biology, computer science, human anatomy, informatics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and speech-language pathology.



  1. "[a] distinct unit of language (sounds in speech or written letters) with a particular meaning, composed of one or more morphemes, and also of one or more phonemes that determine its sound pattern",[6]
  2. "[a]ny sequence of letters or characters considered as a discrete entity",[6] or
  3. "[d]ifferent symbols, written or spoken, arranged together in a unique sequence that approximates a thought in a person's mind"[6]

is called a word.

"In English and other space-delimited languages, it is customary to treat "word" as referring to any sequence of characters delimited by spaces. However, this is not applicable to languages such as Chinese and Japanese, which are normally written without spaces, or to languages such as Vietnamese, which are written with a space between each syllable."[6]

Def. "words which are not found in a dictionary",[7] are called out-of-vocabulary words.

Earth-based terminology[edit]

Terminology thus denotes a discipline which systematically studies the labelling or designating of concepts particular to one or more subject fields or domains of human activity, through research and analysis of terms in context, for the purpose of documenting and promoting consistent usage.

The statistical significance approach "is to test whether the variation of the relative frequency of a given term t in the document collection is statistically significant."[8] A likely variation of the relative frequency may occur for a term specific to one domain versus other domains.

Theory of terminology[edit]

Taking an apparent term, especially a likely technical or scientific term, and locating its domain, etymology, lexicography, and pragmatics is a proof of concept for the science of terminology.

Def. "words which are not found in a dictionary",[7] are called out-of-vocabulary words.

The discipline of terminology consists primarily of the following aspects:

  • analysing the concepts and concept structures used in a field or domain of activity
  • identifying the terms assigned to the concepts
  • in the case of bilingual or multilingual terminology, establishing correspondences between terms in the various languages
  • compiling the terminology, on paper or in databases
  • managing terminology databases
  • creating new terms, as required.


A terminology can be defined as a set of designations in a subject field.

A simple example could be a list of words describing a category, such as "types of trees", "body parts".

An information science ontology is a special type of terminology that is structured and more suitable for use in computer systems.


The discipline Terminology studies among other things how such terms of art come to be and their interrelationships within a culture.


"Two-word terms [are] determined not to be of interest in the context of the whole document collection either because they do not occur frequently enough or because they occur in a constant distribution among different documents [deviation-based approach]."[8]

Industry terms[edit]

An industry term is a type of technical terminology that has a particular meaning within a specific industry. The phrase industry term implies that a word or phrase is a typical one within a particular industry or business and people within the industry or business will be familiar with and use the term.


Terminology differs from lexicography in studing concepts, conceptual systems, and their labels (terms), whereas lexicography study words and their meanings.


“Although in the General Theory of Terminology the meaning of a term is a concept, the main goal of terminology is not to represent concepts in order to manipulate them (as in artificial intelligence) but to define a common vocabulary we hope is consensual.”[1]


Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings, meanings that may deviate from the meaning the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language.


Mead (1955) said that culture “is an abstraction of the body of learned behaviour which a group of people who share the same tradition transmit entire to their children, and, in part, to adult immigrants who become members of the society.”[9]


  1. "[t]he arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation",[10]
  2. "[t]he beliefs, values, behaviour and material objects that constitute a people's way of life",[10]
  3. "[a]ny knowledge passed from one generation to the next, not necessarily with respect to human beings",[10] or
  4. "[t]he language and peculiarities of a geographical location"[10]

is called a culture.

"A culture is the combination of the language that you speak and the geographical location you belong to. It also includes the way you represent dates, times and currencies."[10]

Cultural terms[edit]

The term "heartland" often invokes imagery of rural farming regions, such as this picture of a Kansas wheat field. Credit: Carol M. Highsmith.

"The notion of Europe as a geopolitical or cultural term is centered on core Europe (Kerneuropa), the continental territory of the historical Carolingian Empire and the core of Latin Christendom, corresponding to modern France, Italy, Germany (or German-speaking Europe) and the Benelux states (historical Austrasia)."[11]

This historical core of "Carolingian Europe" was consciously invoked in the 1950s as the historical ethno-cultural basis for the prospective European integration (see also[Multi-speed Europe).[12]

Heartland is an American term referring to U.S. states that "don't touch an ocean,"[13] whether the Atlantic]] or Pacific]], or to the Midwestern United States.[14]

"The phrase not only refers to a tangible region but is also a cultural term connoting many ideas and values, such as hard work, rustic small town communities, rural heritage, simplicity and honesty."[15]

In a wider sense the broader cultural term "Syro-Hittite" is now applied to all the entities that arose in south-central Anatolia following the Hittite collapse, such as Tabal and Quwê, as well as those of northern and coastal Syria.[16]


Terminology science is a branch of linguistics studying special vocabulary.

The main objects of terminological studies are special lexical units (or special lexemes), first of all terms. They are analysed from the point of view of their origin, formal structure, their meanings and also functional features.

Terms are used to denote concepts, therefore terminology science also concerns itself with formation and development of concepts, as well as with the principles of exposing the existing relations between concepts and classifying concepts; also, with the principles of defining concepts and appraising the existing definitions.

Considering the fact that characteristics and functioning of [a] term depend heavily on its lexical surrounding it is common to view as the main object of terminology science not separate terms, but rather the whole terminology used in some particular field of knowledge.

Some main types of special lexical units [are] nomens, terminoids, prototerms, preterms and quasiterms.

Specializations include typology, semasiology, derivatology, comparative terminology science, terminography, functional terminology science, cognitive terminology science, and historical terminology science.

Scientific terms[edit]

Two-word scientific terms may be the most common scientific terms.

While studying nature, scientists often encounter or create new material or immaterial objects and concepts and are compelled to name them. Most of those names are known only to professionals. However, due to popularization of science, they gradually become part of common languages. Several categories of scientific terminology can be distinguished.

Technical terms[edit]

"[T]wo-word glossary items are the most common technical terms".[7]

"[M]ost technical jargon is not likely to be included in a general-purpose dictionary."[7]

Orismology is a subject that involves the defining or explaining of technical terminology. Many examples of orismology can be found in encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.

Technical terminology is the specialized vocabulary of any field, not just technical fields. The same is true of the synonyms technical terms, terms of art, shop talk and words of art, which do not necessarily refer to technology or art.[17][18][19] Within one or more fields, these terms have one or more specific meanings that are not necessarily the same as those in common use. Jargon is similar, but more informal in definition and use. Legal technical terms, often called (legal) terms of art or (legal) words of art, have meanings that are strictly defined by law.

Theory of terms[edit]

“[A] theory of terms or terminology should deal with the terminology of a domain in its totality, because it is only with respect to individual domains that the very concept of “term” is consolidated. ... [A] theoretical study of a terminology should be accompanied by the descriptive study of a terminology, for proper descriptive studies are theories of terms.”[20]


  1. Dominant group is a well-defined two-word term.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Christophe Roche, Marie Calberg-Challot, Luc Damas, Philippe Rouard (October 2009). Herold, A., Hicks, A., Rigau, G., & Laparra, E.. ed. Ontoterminology: A new paradigm for terminology, In: International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development. Madeira, Portugal. http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00622132/. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  2. Adrian Akmajian, ‎Richard A. Demers, ‎Ann K. Farmer (2010). Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. MIT Press. p. 630. ISBN 0-262-51370-6.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. André Martinet, Tr. Elisabeth Palmer (Studies in General Linguistics, vol. i.) (1960). Elements of General Linguistics. London: Faber. p. 15.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Michael A. K. Halliday, Jonathan Webster (2006). On Language and Linguistics. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. vii. ISBN 0-8264-8824-2.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Joseph Greenberg (1948). "Linguistics and ethnology". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 4: 140–7. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 word. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. June 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Youngja Park, Roy J Byrd and Branimir Boguraev (2002). Automatic Glossary Extraction: Beyond Terminology Identification, In: "Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Conference on Computational Linguistics" (PDF). Morristown, New Jersey. pp. 772–8. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ronen Feldman, Moshe Fresko, Yakkov Kinar, Yehuda Lindell, Orly Liphstat, Martin Rajman, Yonatan Schler and Oren Zamir (1998). "Text mining at the term level". Principles of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1510 (1998): 65-73. doi:10.1007/BFb0094806. http://www.fmt.vein.hu/softcomp/dw/egyeni/textmining/irodalom/Feldmanetal98a.pdf. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  9. Mead, M. (Ed.). (1955). Cultural patterns and technical change. New York: Mentor Books.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 culture. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. December 23, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  11. Dbachmann (26 October 2016). Continental Europe. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  12. Marc Trachtenberg, Between Empire and Alliance: America and Europe During the Cold War (2003), p 67. Adrian Hyde-Price, Germany and European Order: Enlarging NATO and the EU (2000), p. 128.
  13. Ronald Brownstein (November 4, 2010). Heartland Headache: Democrats have to be more competitive in states that don’t touch an ocean if they want to bounce back. National Journal.
  14. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, pp. 71-73 (2006)
  15. EconomicHisorianinTraining (16 May 2017). article title. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  16. Hawkins, John David; 1982a. “Neo-Hittite States in Syria and Anatolia” in Cambridge Ancient History (2nd ed.) 3.1: 372-441. Also: Hawkins, John David; 1995. "The Political Geography of North Syria and South-East Anatolia in the Neo-Assyrian Period" in Neo-Assyrian Geography, Mario Liverani (ed.), Università di Roma “La Sapienza,” Dipartimento di Scienze storiche, archeologiche e anthropologiche dell’Antichità, Quaderni di Geografia Storica 5: Roma: Sargon srl, 87-101.
  17. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law
  18. McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine
  19. West's Encyclopedia of American Law
  20. Kyo Kageura (2002). The Dynamics of Terminology A descriptive theory of term formation and terminological growth. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Co. p. 322. ISBN 90 272 2328 9. Retrieved 2012-03-21.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

{{Dominant group}}{{Linguistics resources}}{{Semantics resources}}

{{Universal translator}}