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3. Special literary vocabulary

3.1. Terms

Terms are mostly and predominantly used in special works dealing with the notions of some branch of science. Therefore it may be said that they belong to the style of language of science where they fulfil their basic function, that of bearing exact reference to a given concept. This function of terms does not allow the development of polysemy and seldom do the terms have synonyms. Although the synonymy is uncharacteristic for this layer of vocabulary the cases of synonymic substitution are possible and even favourable for stylistic purposes especially in Ukrainian where the bulk of this layer consists of the loan words. Some loan terms in Ukrainian have their synonyms, e.g.: алфавіт – азбука – абетка, процент – відсоток, дует – двоспів etc. There is a tendency to use the loaned term in official style and in scientific works and to use its synonym in publicistic, newspaper, colloquial, belles-lettres styles. The following extract exemplifies how the usage of terms contributes to the realistic description of the laboratory where the main heroine works:

In front of her were the instruments which she had been taught to read…there was a logarithmic amplifier, with faces like speedometers, which would give a measure – she had picked up some jargon – of the “neutron flu”.

On the bench was pinned the sheet of graph paper and it was there that she was to plot the course of the experiment. As the heavy water was poured in, the neutron flux would rise: the point on the graph would lead down the spot where the pile had started to run where the chain reaction had begun… (Ch. Snow).

The use of terms in newspaper style, in publicistic and practically in all other existing styles of language may change their function. The function of terms, if encountered in other styles, is either to indicate the technical peculiarities of the subject dealt with, or to make some reference to the occupation of a character whose language would naturally contain special words and expressions. When a term occurs in the belles-lettres style, for instance, it may simultaneously actualize its direct and figurative meaning and may acquire a definite stylistic value:

"What a fool Rawdon Crawley has been," Clump replied, "to go and marry a governess. There was something about the girl too."

"Green eyes, fair skin, pretty figure, famous frontal development" Squill remarked. (W. M. Thackeray).

The combination 'frontal development' is terminological in character (used sometimes in anatomy). But being preceded by the word 'famous' used in the sense indicated by the Shorter Oxford Dictionary as "a strong expression of approval (chiefly colloquial); excellent, capital" the whole expression assumes a specific stylistic function due to the fact that 'frontal development' is used both in its terminological aspect and in its logical meaning 'the breast of a woman'.

The following lines of Lina Kostenko can also be cited as a bright example of the artistic employment of terms, where the words that belong to the domain of mathematics embody the image of intricate and complexity of individual’s life:

Плюс мінус життя.

Таблиця розмноження.

Квадратний корінь із мрій романтика.

Два пишем, три помічаєм.




математика (Л. Костенко).

There is an interesting process going on in the development of any language. With the increase of general education and the expansion of technique to satisfy the ever-growing needs and desires of mankind, many words that were once terms have gradually lost their quality as terms and have passed into the common literary or even neutral vocabulary. This process may be called "de-terminization". Such words as 'radio', 'television' and the like have long been in common use and their terminological character is no longer evident. It is also interesting to know that in the Ukrainian language in certain times of its development the following words as писовня (орфографія), мовниця (граматика), складання (синтаксис), голосівка (голосний звук), шелестівка (приголосний звук), речівник (іменник), злучник (сполучник), звучня (фонетика), письмівка (курсив), копальня (шахта), прогонич (болт), квас (кислота), кисняк (оксид), первень (елемент), мірило (масштаб), стіжок (конус) were terms.

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