LINGUIST List 14.276

Sat Jan 25 2003

Review: Text/Corpus Linguistics: Kageura (2002)

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  1. Andrea Faulstich, The Dynamics of Terminology

Message 1: The Dynamics of Terminology

Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 13:30:31 +0000
From: Andrea Faulstich <>
Subject: The Dynamics of Terminology

Kageura, Kyo (2002): The Dynamics of Terminology. A Descriptive Theory
of Term Formation and Terminological Growth. John Benjamins Publishing
Company, viii+322pp, hardback ISBN 1-58811-314-0 (NA) 90-272-2328-9
(ROW), $83, Terminology and Lexicography Research and Practice 5.

Announced at

Andrea Faulstich, unaffiliated scholar


The purpose of the monograph is to offer a theory of terminology and
terminology growth on the basis of a specific corpus of Japanese
terminology. The study aims at identifying conceptual regularities in
term creation and to lay the foundations for the analysis of
terminological growth patterns and for similar research in the field
of terminology.

The book is divided into four parts. In part I, the author explains
the theoretical implications of the study, in parts II and III the
theoretical framework for the study of term formation patterns and the
dynamics of terminology is developed on the basis of the Japanese
documentation terminology. Part IV provides an evaluation of the
results and an outlook on further research to be carried out.

Part I: Theoretical Background

In chapter 1, Kageura discusses and defines some basic notions such as
''term'', ''terminology'' and ''concept''. With regard to ''term'',
defined as ''a lexical unit consisting of one or more than one word
which represents a concept inside a domain'' (p. 9), and the status of
terms within language, emphasis is put on the distinction between
''terms'' and ''words'' and on the localization of terms in the realm
of PAROLE (''the realization of language, as opposed to LANGUE, the
system of language'', p. 11). ''Terminology'', defined as ''the
vocabulary of a subject field'' (p. 9), is regarded as a
representation of the systematized knowledge of a given domain
(p. 15). The author reviews ''traditional'' approaches to terminology
(the ''Vienna'' school of terminology, W�ster, 1959/60) and describes
recent trends in the study of terminology (among others the works of
Cabr�, 1995, 2000 and Temmermann 1997, 2000). It is criticized that
the traditional theory of terminology as well as the recent studies
borrow their theoretical framework from studies of concepts that do
not specifically consider the status of concepts within the theory of
terminology. What is crucial according to the author is the
theoretical framework of terminology into which ''concept'' is
incorporated, not the kind of ''concept'' theory used in term
description (p. 24).

In chapter 2, the theoretical and methodological framework for the
study of the dynamics of terminology is elaborated. The author points
out that the focus of the study is on the system of terminology, i.e.,
on term formation and terminological growth within a given domain,
whereas the use of terms in discourse and phenomena such as meaning
shifts and metaphorical uses of terms are excluded. Basically, it is
assumed that there are systematic factors within a given terminology
that ''determine the formation of new terms and the growth of
terminology'' (p. 34). The methodology adopted by Kageura is
''structural'' in two ways: 1) in a mathematical or algebraic sense of
the word, as mental patterns (combinations of concepts) are mapped to
linguistic patterns (terms), 2) in the sense of structural semantics
(Greimas, 1966, Lyons, 1977, 1995), as a componential method of
analysis is adopted (p. 39), with the restriction, however, that the
entire conceptual structure represented by a terminology (not
individual items or semantic fields) is studied and terminology is
located in the realm of PAROLE (p. 40).

Part II Conceptual Patterns of Term Formation

In chapter 3, the descriptive framework for conceptual patterns of
term formation is developed. The author discusses the notions of
''concept'', ''intra-term relations'' and ''conceptual specification
patterns'' and assumes that term formation is a ''specification of
concepts within a conceptual class'' (p. 59), i.e., a specification of
a nucleus (head) by a determiner (modifier), where the role the
determinant adopts with regard to the nucleus defines the intra-term
relation. According to these assumptions and to the overall claim of
offering a theoretical framework of term formation that is applicable
to different domains and/or languages, also term creation by
metaphorical transformation and similar phenomena is deemed to be
reducible to compounding mechanisms and thus explainable by the
comprehensive structure of terminology (p. 46).

The main objective of part II is the investigation of the relations
between conceptual specification patterns and conceptual categories.
Chapter 4 and chapter 5 provide the analytical framework of such an
investigation and thus prepare the analysis to be carried out in
chapter 6. Chapter 4 introduces conceptual categories for the
description of formation patterns of documentation terms. The author
identifies four broad conceptual categories (ENTITY, ACTIVITY,
QUALITY, RELATION) that are relevant to the study of the Japanese
documentation terminology and attributes various subcategories to each
broad category (p. 65-80), elaborating thus a hierarchically
structured conceptual system to which the terms and morphemes
extracted from the data of documentation terms (in Japanese with
English translations behind in brackets) are allocated. Such
allocations of morphemes and terms to the conceptual system lay the
foundations for ''the description of conceptually-motivated
combinations in term formation'' (p. 80). As the author points out in
this connection, it is not intended to provide detailed explications
of concepts represented by terms or morphemes, but only a structural
framework within which patterns of term formation can be described. As
a result of the allocation process, quantitative tendencies for broad
categories and subcategories are provided (p. 81-89). In chapter 5,
intra-term relations and conceptual specification patterns for
documentation terms are identified. The elaboration of intra-term
relations is initially based on the relations proposed by Pugh (1984)
and then refined by applying them to various samples (p. 98). These
intra-term relationships are then restructured, reinterpreted and
grouped together as different types of conceptual specification
patterns (p. 106-110). Conceptual categories, intra-term relations and
conceptual specification patterns are formalized by a system of

Chapter 6 describes and evaluates conceptual patterns of the formation
of documentation terms. Each conceptual category is characterized by
the frequency of terms allocated to it (with a differentiation between
simple, two-item and three-item terms), by the conceptual patterns of
these terms (nucleus term, determinant, intra-term relation) and by
the dominant specification patterns (p. 117-151). From a
cross-categorical viewpoint, different conceptual categories are
grouped together by their common specification patterns. So it is
highlighted, e.g., that the categories of PEOPLE, ORGANIZATIONS,
MACHINES and SOFTWARE, having the common feature of ''being active'',
are prevalently specified by functions (p. 152). The findings so far
obtained are summarized and interpreted with regard to the further
objective of analyzing the dynamics and growth of
terminology. Following the assumption formulated in chapter 2
according to which the formation of new terms is determined by
systematic factors within a given terminology, the author assumes that
on the basis of term formation patterns evidenced in this chapter for
the documentation terminology, predictions can be made with regard to
formation patterns of new terms in the given domain (p. 161).

Part III Quantitative Patterns of Terminological Growth

Chapter 7 delineates aspects of terminological growth patterns which
can be studied by means of a quantitative analysis, and describes a
mathematical model (binominal interpolation and extrapolation) by
which predictions on growth patterns of a given terminology can be

Chapter 8, complementary to chapter 4, studies the dynamics of
morphemes by broad conceptual categories and by
subcategories. Applying the mathematical model of binominal
interpolation and extrapolation to the morpheme distribution within
different broad categories and subcategories, the author gains growth
curves of morphemes as a function of term growth, i.e., the growth of
morphemes within a broad conceptual category or subcategory can be
predicted on the basis of the growth of terms in that category.

In Chapter 9, complementary to chapter 6, the author explores growth
patterns of different elements of term formation (nuclei,
determinants, determinant categories and specification patterns) in
several conceptual categories. Each section dedicated to a conceptual
category provides tables showing the basic quantities of nuclei,
determinants, determinant categories and specification patterns for
the terms of that given category. Furthermore, panels display
developmental curves of the number of types (of nuclei, determinants,
etc.), the growth rate and the relative number of types (of these four
elements), with each curve plotted as a function of the number of
terms in a given conceptual category.

Part IV Conclusions

Chapter 10 summarizes what has been examined in the study, evaluates
the theoretical framework and the methodological implications of the
approach and shows directions for further research in the field of
terminology which can be incorporated into the basic framework.


Undoubtedly, Kageura's study is an important step towards a theory of
terminology and the dynamics of terminology. It offers an interesting
novel framework for the study of terminology which can be extended and
applied to other domains and/or languages. The book is well written,
coherent in its theoretical conception and fascinating by its
predictive power. The clear structure of the text is underpinned by a
reader-friendly layout, summaries, tables and diagrams. What makes
reading complicated at times is, of course, the high degree of
formalization. As a whole, however, the study should be accessible to
a relatively wide range of audiences. Following the objective of
offering a theoretical framework for the study of an entire
terminology that goes beyond the mere description of terms, the author
is certainly compelled to simplify and to remain somewhat
generic. Thus, one might object that, e.g., discourse aspects of
terminology or diachronic perspectives are excluded. The overall merit
of the book, however, resides exactly in the fact that it provides a
framework capable of integrating such aspects and that it fosters the
status of terminology as an independent field of research.


Cabr�, M.T. (1995): ''On diversity and terminology'', Terminology
2(1), p. 1-16.

Cabr�, M.T. (2000): ''Elements for a theory of terminology: towards
an alternative paradigm'', Terminology 6(1), p. 35-57.

Greimas, A. J. (1966): Semantique Structurale: Recherche de M�thode.
Paris: Larousse.

Lyons, J. (1977): Semantics. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Lyons, J. (1995): Linguistic Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Pugh, J. M. (1984): A Contrastive Conceptual Analysis and
Classification of Complex Noun Terms in English, French and Spanish
with Special Reference to the Field of Data Processing. PhD Thesis,
University of Manchester.

Temmermann, R. (1997): Terminology beyond Standardisation. Language
and Categorisation in the Life Sciences. PhD Thesis, University of

Temmermann, R. (2000): Towards New Ways of Terminology Description:
The Sociocognitive Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

W�ster, E. (1959/60): ''Das Worten der Welt, schaubildlich und
terminologisch dargestellt'', Sprachforum 3 (3), p. 183-204.


Andrea Faulstich, economist, translator, received her PhD in Romance
Linguistics from the University of Potsdam in 2001 and is currently
working as a financial and legal translator. Her main areas of
research/interest are: translation theory, the special language of
finance and law, semantic theory (cognitive semantics, Natural
Semantic Metalanguage) and the semantic description of technical terms
used in non-specialist contexts.
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