Variant terminology: frivolity or necessity?

AuthorLynne Bowker
TitleVariant terminology: frivolity or necessity?
AbstractTerms are often supposed not to be prone to variation. Moreover, many standardizing organizations and terminology textbooks take a prescriptive approach to term formation and use in which they disparage variation. However, we believe that variation is not a random act of defiance or carelessness, but rather one which is well-motivated and useful in expert discourse. We hypothesize that multidimensional classification is one of the determining factors behind term choice and we present an empirical study of the influence of multidimensional classification on term use in which we examine variant terms in context in a one-million word corpus in the specialized subject field of optical scanning technology.
SessionPART 7 - Terminology and Dictionaries
Keywordsterm variation, term formation, term usage, multidimensional classification, corpus-based terminology
author = {Lynne Bowker},
title = {Variant terminology: frivolity or necessity?},
pages = {487-496},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 8th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {1998},
month = {aug},
date = {4-8},
address = {Liège, Belgium},
editor = {Thierry Fontenelle, Philippe Hiligsmann, Archibald Michiels, André Moulin, Siegfried Theissen},
publisher = {Euralex},
isbn = {2-87233-091-7},