УДК 81.33


Мякшин Кирилл Александрович
Северный Aрктический Федеральный Университет имени М.В. Ломоносова
кандидат филологических наук

Данная статья посвящена актуальной лингвистической проблеме изучения отраслевых терминосистем. В статье рассматривается пример комплексного изучения английских фонетических терминов. Основным рассматриваемым вопросом является соотношение различных частей речи в терминосистемах английской фонетики и фонологии в диахроническом аспекте.

Ключевые слова: диахронический аспект, терминологическая номинация, терминосистема английской фонетики, фонетика английского языка, частеречный анализ


Myakshin Kirill Aleksandrovich
Northern Arctic Federal University named after M. V. Lomonosov
Ph.D in Philology

The article in question draws attention to the actual linguistic problem of studying branch terminological systems. The comprehensive study of English phonetic terms is considered in particular. The main question discussed is the correlation of various parts of speech in the terminological systems of English phonetics and phonology in the diachronic aspect. For this reason all the research corpus was analyzed to determine the correlation of the parts of speech within the terminological system in question. Apart from this the diachronic approach is applied to study the evolution of phonetic terms over time. As a result of completing this analysis the author argues nouns to be the basis of the terminological corpus of English phonetics at all stages of its development due to their nominative function. Along with nouns adjectives and verbs also closely integrated into the English phonetic terminology.

Keywords: diachronic aspect, English phonetics, parts of speech, terminological nomination, terminological system

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Мякшин К.А. Correlation of parts of speech in English phonetic terminology: a diachronic approach // Филология и литературоведение. 2015. № 11 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://philology.snauka.ru/2015/11/1776 (дата обращения: 15.05.2024).

The question about which parts of speech should represent terms and whether the terminology of the sphere of interest is restricted by nouns or it also includes adjectives, verbs and other parts of speech, is still actual and extremely important for modern science of terminology in both theoretical and applied aspects.

It is worth mentioning that today this problem still remains unsolved in view of existing of huge amount of opposite points of view. According to A. V. Ivanov, «the search of the answer to the question about which part of speech can fully realize terminological functions and represent a term, should be performed with due regard to the whole complex of problems which are solved as part of terminological nomination» [Ivanov, 2004: 291-292]. Therefore, in respect of terms-nouns as universal linguistic units, there are almost no conflicts among terminologists and linguists, as namely this part of speech maximally realizes the main function of term, which is nominative function. As M.V. Kosova specifies, «this function is peculiar, first of all, for nouns and nominal subordinate word-groups. Most scientific terms have a rather high degree of abstractness and reach semantics of nouns allows them to be instrumental to denote the main composition of scientific terms». [Kosova, 2000: 228].

The point of view of O.S. Ahmanova seems to be very interesting, where it is said that «first of all, it should be noted that in European languages the system of nouns is so much developed, there are such infinite possibilities to form verbal nouns and abstract nouns formed from adjective stems, that the main composition of the terminological list for these languages may be completely settled by nouns» [Ahmanova, 1966: 11].

In various definitions of a term, nominativeness performs the role of the main characteristic and peculiarity which differ a term from a common word. Nominal scientific lexis represents the basis for definition of terms. Nominal items of general scientific character can also be parts of complex terms or be stems for formation of derivative terms.

So, A.V. Superanskaya, N. V. Podolskaya and N. V. Vasilieva note: «the main unit on which nomination is basis (i.e. fixation of selected phenomenon of reality with the help of language names) in common consciousness – a word. Nominative parts of speech are nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs … Nouns can transpose word content of all other nominative parts of speech and possess for it all correspondent morphological means. Nouns have absolute nominative valeur which is slightly reduced in other nominative parts of speech possessing reduced ability to render content of other parts of speech» [Superanskaya, Podolskaya, Vasilieva, 1989: 97].

Taking as a basis the statement that terminology should be contemplated in two spheres, namely in the sphere of fixation and in the sphere of functioning [Averbukh, 2004; Danilenko, 1971], it is worth observing if all content words, capable to express notions [Goder, 1961: 50], can represent terms in two above mentioned spheres.

In the sphere of fixation, terms are held in relation to forms of nominativeness. Here, terminology does not represent the sum of names of real things and actions, but a definite system of names of ideas about things and actions. Consequently, the main lexical-grammatical means for notion of scientific and technical ideas about things, characters and actions in terminology are nouns and, naturally, word-groups formed on their basis.

Nevertheless, it should be noted, that this approach takes as a basis the presentive nominativeness of terms. While investigating this type of nominativeness as the main peculiarity, the selection of other parts of speech will be challenging. For instance, adjectives, participles and adverbs have capability to be compatible in the structure of compound terms. They name attributes and character of things and actions and, according to A.I. Moiseev, are not used independently as they represent character and attributes, which only have meaning in combination with nouns representing a thing or an action. Not being structural components in combinations of terms, adjectives become full terms only in the process of scientific exposition [Moiseev, 1970: 134-135].

While contemplating the sphere of functioning of terminology (special scientific literature and aсademic speech), the spheres where it «is withdrawn from the limits of a closed system, freely weaves into the common-literary environment, that means functions (at the discretion of authors) » [Danilenko, 1977: 50], it becomes clear that in this case, capabilities of representation of special notions are richer and wider.

It is worth to be noted that the question about which parts of speech should represent terms, was paid especially considerate attention in 1970s. For example, A. I. Moiseev noted that «the interesting research held here in the sphere of «non-nominative» terminology (terms in the form of verbs, adjectives etc.) should have another address: which are research not in the sphere of terms themselves, but in the sphere of special lexis. The non-term part of special lexis and phraseology itself is a very interesting object of investigation; particularly interesting is its relatedness to terms: evidently, it is the result of speech transformation of terms, but this is a special point» [Moiseev, 1971: 1].

A similar opinion, but in relation to the sphere of fixation, belongs to O. S.  Ahmanova in introduction to the «Dictionary of linguistic terms»: «Concerning verbs, for philological terminology they are not typical and can be easily replaced by verbal nouns. Indeed, there are some verbs, which are very often used in linguistic meta-language, for example, such as «decline», «conjugate», «differentiate», «grammaticalize» and others. But this is already the sphere of this given variety of speech which … is represented not in construed words but in construal and explanations themselves» [Ahmanova, 1969: 11].

The lack of terminological status of verbs is also noted by A. I. Moiseev, who said that verbal forms just describe one or another phenomenon and are not applied for its conceptual and terminological naming, playing in the description process the role of “speech substitutes of terms, narrative means and not naming of phenomenon” [Moiseev, 1970: 135]. Beside this, there is an opinion, that upon salvation of the problem about the degree of termhood of verbs, it is necessary to take into account the fact that in a number of cases verbs can be ranged in the terms of specified semantics and represent «not the systems of notions but an assembly divorced from each other names close to nomenclature» [Nikitina, 1978: 14].

Both O. S. Ahmanova and A. I. Moiseev note that all non-substantive forms of representation of special notions are products of speech transformation of terms, and this is the reason for them to have right to be referred as terms.

Completely admitting the position of above-said authors, it should be noted yet, that excluding verbs as parts of speech capable to play roles of terms or be part of compound terminology, or categorizing terminological units expressed by this part of speech to the class of nomenclature, researchers ignore the following circumstance: verbs having specialized status, i.e. which have become ingrained into linguistic usage and taken a correspondent niche in the meta-language sphere of linguistics, represent an integrated and obligatory language attribute of any linguistic theoretical work or lexicographical product of wide or narrow profile. Being included into vocabulary of several general or special dictionaries, they are marked with corresponding notes pointing to specialty of their semantics. Their inclusion into vocabularies is performed in complete accordance with principles of selection lexis into dictionaries, namely: 1) verbs are of high frequency (realization of the frequency principle), 2) verbs are informative (realization of the necessity principle), 3) verbs possess a high grade of communicative value (homonymic principle), 4) verbs have a pronounced capability to be compatible with other parts of speech (collocation), 5) verbs have a pronounced word-formative value (homonymic principle). Paraphrasing L. R. Zinder, who thought that any science or any its field «should strive to explanation of all the facts contemplated in its subject» [Zinder, 1979: 64], it can be said that all verbs are one of the facts contemplated in the subject of linguistics.

Classification of verbs as terms is said for by the position of K. Y. Averbukh shared by us, according to which terminology should be investigated in two spheres, namely in the sphere of fixation and in the sphere of functioning. Even after speech transformation this nominative units (specifically verbs) did not stop expressing a professional concept, did not lose нrelatedness to this concrete signified, which according to traditional understanding is a necessary and sufficient condition for classifying the lexical unit as a term. [Averbukh, 2004].

Very rightful in the light of the foregoing is represented the point of view of V.V.  Kasianovа about the fact that together with development of the science of terminology verbs, adjectives and other parts of speech have received the status of terms too [Kasianov, 2004]. So, for example, adjectives, naming the quality and accordingly, possessing featuring nominativeness, find wide usage in systems of terms of English phonetics and phonology. This fact is considered by lexicographers while compiling terminological dictionaries. Fixing usage of adjectives in the function of terms in dictionaries, therefore, they already answer in the affirmative to the question, which is whether terms can be expressed by adjectives. In relation to this fact, the usage of adjectives with their rich functional abilities presents itself rather admissible.

The analysis of English phonetic-phonological systems of terms gives enough ground to make a conclusion that verbs and adjectives here actively serve as terms of the functioning sphere. That is why the object of this research was represented by phonetic terms expressed not only by nouns, but also by adjectives and verbs.

The diagram below pictorially demonstrates the proportion of different parts of speech in terms systems of English phonetics and phonology.

According to the goal of research there was performed the part of speech analysis of English monepic phonetic terminology in the diachronic aspect. The percentage of phonetic terms expressed by different parts of speech, particularly, by nouns, adjectives and verbs with consideration of the chronological periodization is shown in the table below.

Table. Parts of speech analysis of the English phonetic terminology


Total amount of terms

Terminology, expressed by

nouns (S)

adjectives (A)

verbs (V)

X-XII century

75 (100%)

54 (72%)

14 (18,66%)

7 (9,33%)

XIII century

40 (100%)

28 (70%)

5 (12,5%)

7 (17,5%)

XIV century

131 (100%)

90 (68,7%)

20 (15,26%)

21 (16,03%)

XV century

65 (100%)

43 (66,15%)

12 (18,46%)

10 (15,38%)

XVI century

179 (100%)

128 (71,5%)

33 (18,43%)

18 (10,05%)

XVII century

162 (100%)

95 (58,64%)

50 (30,86%)

17 (10,49%)

XVIII century

80 (100%)

45 (56,25%)

25 (31,25%)

10 (12,5%)

XIX century

206 (100%)

131 (63,59%)

55 (26,69%)

20 (9,7%)

XX century

319 (100%)

167 (52,35%)

139 (43,57%)

13 (4,07%)


1257 (100%)

781 (62,13 %)

353 (28,08 %)

123 (9,78 %)

As it is seen in the table, during the period of X-XIII centuries, the main part of English terminological body (on the average 70%) is represented by terms-nouns. The segment of terms-adjectives is consequently 12-18%, and the segment of terms-verbs is 9-17%.

From XIV to XVI centuries, the segment of terms-nouns almost did not changed and composes on the average 68-71% from the total number of terms of this chronological interval. As it is represented, this denotes stabilization of the amount of objects of research in this field of science and the limited set of integral qualities during the described period. Circumstantially, this characteristics can witness the lack of dynamics in the development of the science of phonetics (more correctly (orthoepy) in this chronological interval.

Examples of nouns in the terminology of this period:

XIV century – accent (Maruzo, 368; Trahterov, 12; Matthews, 4), closure (Maruzo, 370; Trahterov, 47; Matthews, 57), mutation (Maruzo, 377; Trahterov, 182; Matthews, 236), uvula (Trahterov, 297; Matthews, 393).

XV century – articulation (Maruzo, 369; Trahterov, 25; Matthews, 26), curve (Trahterov, 55), pause (Maruzo, 378; Trahterov, 209; Matthews, 270), slope (Trahterov, 259).

XVI century – audition (Trahterov, 29), cavity (Trahterov, 42; Matthews, 49), elision (Maruzo, 372; Trahterov, 74; Matthews, 111), glottis (Maruzo, 374; Trahterov, 103; Matthews, 147).

In the period of from XIV to XVI centuries, it is noted some kind of increase of the segment of terms-adjectives as part of terminological body on the average from 15 to 18%, which, undoubtedly, is related to increasing needs of terminological nomination in connection with development of scientific knowledge and expansion of the set of objects of research and their main features.

Examples of adjectives in the terminology of this period:

XIV century – acute (Maruzo, 368; Trahterov, 14), coronal (Maruzo, 371; Trahterov, 54], liquid (Maruzo, 376; Trahterov, 154), pliant (Trahterov, 220).

XV century – concave (Trahterov, 150), diphthongal (Trahterov, 65), dorsal (Maruzo, 372; Trahterov, 68; Matthews, 104), hoarse (Trahterov, 117).

XVI century – audible (Trahterov, 29), convex (Trahterov, 153), neutral (Maruzo, 377; Matthews, 242).

The segment of terms-verbs in the period of from XIV to XVI centuries composes on the average from 10 to 16%, at that, there is observed a tendency to some decrease of their segment in the total amount of terminological units. It should be noted that the most terms-verbs, in percent, in relation to the total amount of the exposed terminology are documented in the period of from XIII to XV centuries (on the average 15-17%), when necessity to nominate actions grew wider, performed by orthoepists and phonetists as well as actions, characterizing behavior of objects of orthoepy and phonetics.

Examples of verbs in the terminology of this period:

XIII century – descend (Trahterov, 60), overlap (Trahterov, 203), release (Trahterov, 242), remove (Trahterov, 242).

XIV century – exhale (Trahterov, 82), expire (Trahterov, 82), hiss (Trahterov, 117), inspire (Trahterov, 128).

XV century – assimilate (Trahterov, 27), block (Trahterov, 35), intone (Trahterov, 135), recede (Trahterov, 239).

In the centuries XVII-XIX the segment of terms-adjectives increases on the average up to 30%, the segment of terms-nouns decreases and composes on the average from 56 to 63%.

Examples of nouns in the terminology of this period:

XVII century – accommodation (Maruzo, 368; Trahterov, 13; Matthews, 5), apex (Trahterov, 22), epiglottis (Maruzo, 372; Trahterov, 79), suction (Trahterov, 274; Matthews, 362).

XVIII century – alveolus (Trahterov, 19), dorsum (Trahterov, 69; Matthews, 104), syllabication (Maruzo, 381; Trahterov, 277), velum (Maruzo, 382; Trahterov, 301; Matthews, 395).

XIX century – ablaut (Trahterov, 10; Matthews, 2), dentalization (Trahterov, 59), loudness (Trahterov, 159; Matthews, 213), nasalization (Maruzo, 377; Trahterov, 189; Matthews, 238).

Examples of adjectives in the terminology of this period:

XVII century – accentual (Trahterov, 12), epiglottal (Trahterov, 78; Matthews, 115), mandibular (Trahterov, 164), nasal (Maruzo, 377; Trahterov, 186).

XVIII century – alveolar (Trahterov, 18; Matthews, 15), consonantal (Trahterov, 51; Matthews, 70), laryngeal (Maruzo, 375; Trahterov, 145; Matthews, 200), velar (Maruzo, 382; Trahterov, 299; Matthews, 395).

XIX century – apical (Maruzo, 369; Trahterov, 23; Matthews, 21), glottal (Maruzo, 373; Trahterov, 102; Matthews, 147), palatal (Maruzo, 377; Trahterov, 204; Matthews, 262), spirant (Maruzo, 380; Trahterov, 265; Matthews, 350).

The amount of terms-verbs in the period of from XVII to XIX centuries is more stable in comparison with other parts of speech and varies within the interval of from 10 to 12%, accordingly. This stable amount of terms-verbs can be explained by the fact that the set of actions, performed by both researchers in the sphere of phonetics and phonology and objects of these fields of knowledge, has a limited and repeated character.

Examples of verbs in the terminology of this period:

XVII century – catenate (Trahterov, 42), emit (Trahterov, 75), flatten (Trahterov, 89), obstruct (Trahterov, 195).

XVIII century – accentuate (Trahterov, 12), constrict (Trahterov, 51), inhale (Trahterov, 127), intonate (Trahterov, 133).

XIX century – dentalize (Trahterov, 59), labialize (Trahterov, 144), mutate (Trahterov, 182), phonate (Trahterov, 213).

In the XX century there is documented a kind of decrease of the amount of terms-nouns, accompanied by pronounced increase of the segment of terms-adjectives. So, in the XX century the segment of terms-nouns composes on the average 52% оfrom the total amount of involved terms, the segment if terms-adjectives, accordingly, composes about 43%, and the segment of terms-verbs – about 4%.

Examples of nouns in the terminology of this period: adaptability (Trahterov, 15), coalescence (Maruzo, 370; Trahterov, 47), debuccalization (Crystal, 124), feedback (Crystal, 178).

Examples of adjectives in the terminology of this period: approximant (Crystal, 30), diaphonic (Trahterov, 63), frictionless (Trahterov, 93), junctural (Crystal, 248).

Examples of verbs in the terminology of this period: mispronounce (Trahterov, 176), monotonize (Trahterov, 179), resonate (Crystal, 397), yotize (Trahterov, 315).

Considerable increase of the segment of terms-adjectives in XX century, evidently, can be explained by further development of science, appearance of new scientific fields and necessity to nominate new notions not existed before. Increase of the amount of adjectives derives on the background of increasing the amount of compound terminology (term-groups), which allows concluding that terms-adjectives, having featuring nominativeness, play the role of «building material» for compound terminology.

The segment of terms-nouns in the described period slightly decreases generally remaining stable during several chronological periods, which shows formedness of terminology, nominating the main realities of phonetics and phonology.

The analysis of proportion of terms expressed by different parts of speech, makes possible to conclude that terms-nouns compose the basis of the terminological body of English phonetics at all stages of its development (62% from the total amount of research counting 2465 terminological units), which lends evidence of the special status of this part of speech, maximally expressing on of the main functions of the term, namely, nominative function. Along with nouns, terms-adjectives (28%) and terms-verbs (9%) have become ingrained into English phonetic terminology, which gave possibility to include them into vocabularies of the contemplated here lexicographical sources.

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