When talking about this special language people refer to what linguists call terminology. Terminology is special technical language used in a particular field of interest also called language for special purposes (LSP). This already implies the reason why people asked to identify subject fields where special languages are used do not name their own area: Secific terms have become part of their everyday language so they are no longer seen as specific terms. Often experts are not aware of this shift of vocabulary. Therefore, they are surprised when they talk to people who are not familiar with their subject field. Misunderstandings and confusion can result from this unawareness. Additionally, in a business context people talking about different things can increase the amount of money needed to accomplish a task, e.g. developing a new product.
Defining terminology as technical jargon or language for special purposes will not serve most people having to work with language (such as linguists, teachers, translators and language planners). The same applies for experts who write introductions to their subject field for laymen (e.g. technical authors) and people who have to decide in subject fields they are not very familiar with (managers, politicians, etc.). These `exceptions' need to have a clearer understanding of terminology, what it is, how to get more information on terms (for the definition of term see 1.3.2).
Terminology has to deal with the problem that people of different subject fields have to communicate and converse with each other. Two major problems can be identified when people with different (background) knowledge communicate:
Skilled and experienced people in the communication between subject fields -- such as decision makers, politicians, scientists in interdisciplinary research projects -- are aware of the challenges of communication. In the process of gaining experience they receive a basic understanding of the concepts behind terminology, the systematization of the formation of terms, referencing from term to concept and using a meta terminology or, more precisely, a lingua franca (cf. 1.3.2) both parties can --sort of -- understand. Another possibility -- especially in the context of international projects -- is a pivot language (see 1.3.2) . These mediating languages are used as means of communiction for people working with different knowledge communities.
Terminologist (see 1.3.2) are not focused on a particular language. They take a closer look at everything that has to do with terminology:
The aim of terminologists is to identify a concept and to define the relation between a concept, its related concepts and terms. This will be discussed in section 1.3.1. The resulting relations can be very complex, the organisation of terms with Terminology Management Systems has to be clearly structured to guarantee a maximum of usability, flexibility, and interchangeability. Consequently, the field of terminology has been moved from a field of interest for some people to a -- more or less -- independent subject field, which is frequently called Terminology Science .
Fri May 21 13:04:11 MET DST 1999