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The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization$
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Pius ten Hacken and Claire Thomas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748689606

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748689606.001.0001

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Term formation in a special language

Term formation in a special language

how do words specify scientific concepts?

(p.66) Chapter 4 Term formation in a special language
The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization

Kaarina Pitkänen-Heikkilä

Edinburgh University Press

The article deals with the development of scientific vocabulary for botany in 19th century Finland. The first Finnish-language flora was published in 1860, and because of this a large number of new terms for plant systematics had to be formed at this point. The purpose was to come up with vocabulary that could be understood by Finnish, mainly agricultural, people. Instead of loanwords, terms were formed from the material available in the language by methods of word formation: derivation and compounding. The article describes the analysis of the semantics and origin of a set of 1500 terms coined for plant morphology, and demonstrates that the scientific vocabulary does not arise ex nihilo. Instead, the structures and meanings of terms have a motivation from many directions: various parts of the language itself, other languages and the traditions in the domain. The basic terminology formed for Finnish plant morphology in the 19th century is still used in Finnish-language botany, and the later terms have mainly been formed by the same methods and principles too.

Keywords:   terminology, botanical term, term formation, Finnish word formation, semantic motivation, morphological motivation

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