Peculiarities of learning terminology in a foreign language course at a non-language university

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Дата публикации:
06 апреля 2023, 12:07
Актуальные проблемы терминоведения и профессиональной коммуникации
Яцевич Ольга Евгеньевна
Тюменский индустриальный университет
The author in the study points to the non-identity between the word and the term, as the former capture the objective everyday reality, while the latter anchor the subject matter and/or scientific field of activity to certain phenomena and/or objects. The anatomical framework of the term has a complex nature and requires reliance on connotational components. The object of the study is the Nordic vocabulary from the work of Isaac Israel Hayes "The Land of Desolation". The novelty of the study lies in the algorithm proposed by the author of work with the Nordic vocabulary, in the primary establishment of related meanings in the Indo-European languages, which allows to clarify the semantic meaning of the original studied lexeme, work through synonyms, antonyms and available phraseological units, which can characterize this type of activity applied and can be used in classes with students of both language and non-language universities.
Ключевые слова:
term, concept, vocabulary, synchronicity, diachronicity, nomenclature, connotation
Основной текст труда

Pytheas (c. 380 BC – c. 310 BC), was officially the first recorded researcher who studied and described the Northern Lights. The originals of his works, unfortunately, have not been preserved, but references to his works in the works of Pliny the Elder, Polybius and Strabo testify to the existence of Pythian theory.

Friedrich Lubker (1811–1867) is considered to be the founder of the dictionary of classical languages (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit, etc.). In the formation of the terminological apparatus an important role is played by etymology, which historically had both a pre-scientific stage of formation (Chrissippus, Isidore of Seville) and a scientifically shaped one by A.Kh. Vostokov, M. Fasmer, N.D. Arutyunova, F. de Sossure, L. Elmslev, etc.

It should be emphasized that the exploration of Arctic latitudes has contributed to the development of various scientific directions, including in language, since the Arctic is of particular interest not only as a physical unit on the globe, but also as a hyperconcept consisting of many other concepts that are fixed in language.


It should be especially noted that Arctic studies remain in trend not only among those who study the flora and fauna of the North, but also among linguists interested in terminological aspects involving Nordic lexemes, which are already or still fixed in the language.

As mentioned above, Pytheas was the first Nordic chronicler to describe the Northern Lights, the polar night and day, thereby paving the methodological way of research.  And, since the originals of his works have not been preserved, we can draw the missing information from the works of Pliny, Polybius and Strabo.  Later, in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Luebkner combined the efforts of a group of researchers and published a Dictionary of Antiquities. It can be said that during this period the scientific formation of etymology into a separate branch took place.

Materials and methods

Each sphere of activity has its own thematic vocabulary, with the necessary set of basic terms, which in some cases require explanation in terms of their formation in synchronic and diachronic. We all know that the same word can be part of the everyday vocabulary and part of the scientific vocabulary, which indicates their institutionalization.

Word-concept-terminus is a chain on the way to becoming a scientific semantic unit. A word captures objects in language, while a concept is capable of being formed in a word or even a term. Terms are very often rooted in classical languages (Latin, Greek, or another language) and require an understanding of the semantic meaning of the lexemes.

The authors believe that terms are a verbal shell for concepts, We consider that in the broadest sense terms are the verbal designation of concepts in this or that sphere of professional knowledge, combining, they create a special cluster, called terminology for a particular area of human activity (scientific, professional, etc.). So, for example, the terms describing arctic phenomena form an arctic cluster, the modern semantics of which acts as a noun and includes a meaning defining some number of things or objects of the same kind/species, as well as a group of things or persons close to each other or close in the line of activity, interests [1].

At the same time, the difference between terminology as a set of terms and nomenclature (a list of names, etc.) must be clearly defined. Nomenclature (from Latin nomenclatura «list of names, list, enumeration») is a set of names, objects, and even a list of terms in a certain scientific field, unlike terminology, which includes designations of concepts and categories. Terminology appeared much earlier than nomenclature, the birth of which in the 18th century was determined by the rapid flowering of natural science and the need for ordering of names.

Work with the term is based on etymological analysis, which allows us to reveal the numerous aspects of its semantic field. The identification of the generic relationship of words is facilitated by knowledge of the most important laws of comparative-historical linguistics, phonetic laws. The phonetic analysis of a word reveals a variety of analogies, which leads to the consideration of the word-formation and semantic side of the studied term and deepens the understanding of this or that phenomenon.

Semantic analysis requires special scrupulousness, because sometimes the commonalities of words are very contradictory. It is easy enough to see the relationship within a single language, but often an analysis of the languages of the Slavic group or the Indo-European family is necessary. A few centuries ago, scholars simply identified the signifier with the signified, but modernity requires a detailed semantic analysis of the term used.

When considering a concept, its alternative meanings, called connotations (Middle Latin connotatio and connoto «adding meaning»), which are evaluative, emotional or stylistic coloring of a word of usual (fixed in the language system) or occasional (accidental) nature, are revealed [2]. The ability to navigate the connotational nuances provides a deep understanding of the phenomenon being described.

 Results and Discussion 

We consider it advisable to study terminology in the following order: first to investigate the origin of the word, which makes it necessary to carry out its phonetic analysis, which will identify related words, then, having studied the word-formation and semantics, determine the cord meaning and many connotational components. All this ensures the richness and accuracy of the description of the phenomenon under study.

The study of the development of the concept «Arctic» allowed us to come to the following conclusions.

First, it was clarified that the lexeme derives from the medieval French word artique (derived from Latin in the 17th century), from Latin arcticus, the ancient Greek has aἀρκτικός (arktikós, «Northern, (great) Bear») and ἄρκτος (árktos, «bear, Great Bear»).

Secondly, its use in attributive form is noted: a) in astronomy (at the moment only as compound nouns referring directly to the celestial North Pole, or to the pole star (since the 14th century Latin designations); b) in geography, referring to the northern polar region of the planet, characterized by extreme cold and icy landscape (since the 16th century).

Third, it has been found that since the 16th century the word «Arctic» has been used to refer to extremely cold, snowy, or otherwise extreme winters.

Fourth, from the 15th to the 17th century the lexeme «Arctic» was used as a proper name, and denoted the North Celestial Pole, today it is an anachronism.

Fifth, since the 17th century the word has served to refer to the geographical unit of the region of the Earth above the Arctic Circle containing the North Pole.

Sixth, the plural in English Arctic (the plural form of Arctics) was found to exist.

Seventh, since the 19th century in the United States (historically) begins to be used to refer to warm waterproof overshoes (a warm waterproof overshoe).

This etymological analysis of the word «Arctic» allowed  to trace the change of its semantic-connotational field. Phonetic analysis revealed not only the peculiarities of articulation, but also a similar word «Antarctica». The words «Arctic» and «Antarctica» were originally pronounced without /k/, but the orthographic pronunciation became more common. «C» was first added to the spelling for etymological reasons, and then its pronunciation returned [3].

A deeper linguistic analysis revealed the origins in the Indo-European group of languages:

*rkto is a common Indo-European root meaning «bear» (Avestan source «aresho, Armenian – ARJ, Albanian -ari, Latin – ursus, Welsh – arth);

c — in „Arctic“ was recovered from the 1550's. From the 5th century it was understood as „northern“; and from the 1660's it denoted „cold“.  Use as a noun, and when capitalized A with the meaning „northern polar regions“ begins in the 1560s [4].

Careful study reveals the relationships between a phenomenon, an object of reality, a concept expressed in a word, a set of words and phrases for a particular area of activity, that is, terminology. 

The book „The Land of Desolation“ by Isaac Israel Hayes was used as the material for compiling the Arctic cluster. [5], distinguished by the abundance of terms on polar topics, which made it possible to identify a lot of frequent lexemes. In just three pages of this book, more than 25 terms on the topic of „the Arctic“ were identified.

The word „ice“ appears quite often in the book of study. The Old English word „ice“ has the meaning „ice, a piece of ice,“ derived from Anglo-Saxon runes for -i — and from Proto-Germanic *is- „ice“ (source and Old Norse iss, Old Frisian is, Dutch ijs po, German Eis), of unknown origin; possibly related to Avestan origin „frost, ice, isu- frosty, icy“; Afghanasai „frost“ frosty, icy; Afghan asai means „diamonds“, attested in 1906 [6,7]. The modern spelling appears in the 15th century, and the word also appears in French. The meaning „to keep on the ice“ is from 1890. The figurative meaning „thin ice“ appears by 1884. „To break the ice,“ i.e., to begin, to undertake, begins in 1580, used metaphorically to mean to create passages for boats by breaking up river ice, although in modern usage it usually has the meaning of „cold reserve“ (cold reserve). In meaning as an under-ice fishing method, it dates from 1869. „Ice“ as a verb has been used since 1400 [8].

On the basis of etymological studies, the cord meanings of the term and its various connotational components are identified, which ensures the correct use of the terminology.






  1. Speranskaya N.I., Iatsevich O.E. Specific variation of educational cluster. Problems of engineering and socio-economic education in a technical university in the context of modernization of higher education. Tyumen, TIU, 2017, pp. 107–110 (in Russ.).
  2. Encyclopedia of Russian language. Available at: (accessed: 15.09.2022).
  3. Arctic. Available at: (accessed: 22.09.2022).
  4. Online Etymology Dictionary. Available at: (accessed: 21.09.2022).
  5. Hayes I.I. The Land of Desolation: Being a personal narrative of Adventure in Greenland. London, S. Low Marston, Low & Searle, 1871. 312 p.
  6. Speranskaya N.I., Yatsevich O.E. Innovative approaches for the teaching of foreign languages in a technical university: slow learning (pro et contra). Theory and practice of social development, 2015, no. 19, pp. 211–213 (in Russ.).
  7. Speranskaya N. I., Yatsevich O. E. Semantic-etymological study of interdisciplinary terms. Topical issues of humanitarian knowledge in modern society, Nasretdinova I.T., ed. Kazan, Printing-Service-XXI Century LLC, 2017, p. 435 (in Russ.).
  8. Speranskaya N.I., Yatsevich O.E. Motivating resource of information technologies while working with terms in foreign language classes. Problems intergrated space formation for economic and social development of the CIS countries (CIS-2017). Tyumen, TIU, 2017, pp. 197–200 (in Russ.).
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