The terminologists' additional dimension to the semiotic triangle

The semiotic triangle was extended by another dimension accorind to the terminologists' point of view by Suonuuti (1997). As presented in figure  1.3, the pyramid was extended by the dimension of definition resulting in the four intersections concept, object, term and definition. The relations of the intersections concept (`realisation of the object' in fig.  1.2), object (the `object' in fig.  1.2) and term (`sign' in the traditional semiotic triangle) remain the same as in traditional semiotics. Definition as a new relation has to be explained.

Figure 1.3: Extended Semiotic triangle    (Suonuuti, 1997)

The definition is dependent on a concept system, the available and agreed relation between concepts. This results in formulating a definition with the help of other systems. Implied in this approach is the definition of a new concept according to other already known concepts, which results in a new `mental image' for the beginner in a subject field. Consequently, the relation exists in both directions.

New terms are often synthesised to be -- so-called -- self-explaining, that means that by adding affixes and other morphological changes, the combination of terms with the help of prepositions new terms are formed. The definition of the resulting term is (intended to be) already implied in the term by relations indicated by preposition and specific affixes. From the other perspective, the definition is also influenced by the term because the author of the definition has to prevent a circular definition. The term-definition relation is also bidirectional.

The object is the hardest to tackle because it is filtered through one's perception of the object with the natural senses or mediated for the natural senses (such as the presentation of molecular structures mediated via an electron microscope for graphical perception). At least, there is an indirect relation via the term-definition relation and another one via the concept-definition relation. Because both relations are bidirectional, the logical law of transitivity takes the relation of definition and object for granted.

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Thorsten Trippel
Fri May 21 13:04:11 MET DST 1999