Categorial Stratification Of Academic Notions In The Domains Of Nanotechnology, Political Science And Ecology
The article is devoted to the study of the categorial stratification of academic notions in the spheres of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology. The authors analyze the Russian-language nanotechnology, political and ecological terms and their definitions taken from specialized (terminological) dictionaries. The authors consider the structure of definition of each term from the selected corpus of 350 units in the domains of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology, model the corresponding term definitions and determine its constituents (main and additional information blocks). While considering the selected terms, the categories of academic notions (Locus, Construction, Mechanism, Instrument, Process, Characteristic, Ideal phenomenon, etc.) are taken into account. As a result of the analysis the most and least frequent categories of notions (categories of mental constructs) in each sphere are identified. The authors come to the conclusion that the specificity of each sphere in question (Nanotechnology, Ecology and Political Science) is characterized by a special correlation of the categories of notions / mental constructs. Nanotechnology is presented by several frequently used categories of mental constructs, namely: Artificial locus / construction, Ideal phenomenon, Process, Characteristic, Object, Material, etc. Political Science, in its turn, is distinguished by the presence of such categories of notions, as Ideal phenomenon, Doer, Locus, Process, Situation, Characteristic, etc. Ecology contains terminological units with such categories of mental constructs, as Ideal phenomenon, Process, Characteristic, Doer, Artificial locus / Construction, Locus, Natural phenomenon, etc. The category of Process is productive for all fields of knowledge, including Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology.
Keywords: Definitionecologyinformation blocknanotechnologypolitical scienceterm
Scientific and professional texts are characterized by the presence of specialized lexis, in particular, terminology. The definitive function of the term is an indispensable condition of its existence that involves the expression of a special concept restricted in its boundaries by definition. This function allows referring a concept to a corresponding category (Golovin & Kobrin, 1987; Grinyov-Grinevich, 2008; Popova, 2011). All terminological units that comprise the terminology corpus of a certain field of knowledge can be attributed to a certain prototypic category of academic concepts (among which are Natural object, Locus, Mechanism, Instrument, Process, Characteristic, etc. (see: Latu 2016, 2018a, 2018b) on the basis of the analysis of their definitions. A term is understood as a lexical unit that requires academic definition (Leychik, 2007). The latter is made by specialists for specialists and specialists to be; it can be modelled and examined in detail (see: Lewis, 1970).
In the research we focus our attention on the terminologies of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology which represent different domains of modern science that are important for the modern society. Nanotechnology is a field of science that deals with the manipulation and manufacture of materials and devices on the scale of atoms or small groups of atoms, on the nanoscale (prefix nano- is based on the Greek word “nanos” with the meaning “dwarf”) measured in nanometers (Britannica, n.d.). A nanometer is a unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter (https://www.calculateme.com/). The materials built at nanoscale often exhibit distinctive physical and chemical properties due to quantum mechanical effects. The achievements of Nanotechnology are used in many products we came across every day, such as aerogels, lithium ion batteries, piezoelectric fibers, fishing rods, tennis racquets, fitting clothing (https://www.understandingnano.com/), etc. (Razduev, Latu, & Mironenko, 2015). Political Science is a field of knowledge which deals with politics, laws of structure, functioning and development of the political life of state and society, reflecting the process of involvement of a person in the activity of expressing political interests and political power (Konovalov, 2010). In turn, Ecology is the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. Some of the most pressing problems in human affairs – expanding populations, food scarcities, environmental pollution including global warming, extinctions of plants and animals, and all the attendant sociological and political problems – are to a great degree ecological (Britannica, n.d.).
Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology terms as verbalizers of the corresponding academic notions have not yet been studied in detail from the viewpoint of their categorial stratification. The most and least frequent categories of notions / mental constructs of the terms in the domains of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology have not yet been analyzed and described drawing on the material of the term definitions.
The first question is to analyze definitions of the selected Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology terms and in some cases determine their constituent parts – main and additional information blocks. The second question is to find out the categories of notions / mental constructs of the terms in Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology and identify the most productive categories for each sphere in question, name the reasons for this or that correlation.
Purpose of the Study
The article is devoted to the study of the categorial stratification of academic notions in the spheres of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology drawing on the example of the Russian-language nanotechnology, political and ecological terms and their definitions taken from specialized (terminological) dictionaries. The authors try to determine the most and least frequent categories of notion / mental constructs in the domains of Nanotechnology, Political Science and Ecology.
The research methods that are used to study the terminological material include, first of all, the method of random selection of terms and their definitions aimed at the specialists taken from various specialized sources including text and electronic terminological dictionaries and Internet sites. The next step implied the use of definition analysis to reveal the defining features of concepts reflected in the content of their definitions to identify the categories the analyzed technical terms refer to and classify them accordingly. Then the statistical and comparative analyses were carried out to define the differences in the terminologies of the considered domains.
In the research, we follow the classification of scientific notions (see: Latu, 2016, 2018a, 2018b), according to which the referents of terms can be of material and non-material nature due to their peculiarities. The referents of the first type are divided into the referents of natural origin, namely, Natural Object(-s) (“the category that represents elements of nature” (Latu, 2015, p. 95)), Substance (“comprises the notions of natural substances having certain properties, of which physical objects are composed” (Latu, 2015, p. 95)), Locus (“combines the notions of significant elements of space having a number of differential features which are characterized by the length and volume, where something is located” (Latu, 2015, p. 95)), and the referents of artificial origin, namely: Mechanism (“objects of artificial nature, obtained as a result of scientific and industrial human activity, which perform an action independently without human assistance or under human control” (Latu, 2015, p. 100)), Instrument/Man-made Object (“the category represents the community of referents created for specific purposes, which do not perform the work themselves, but are used by a person in his activities” (Latu, 2015, p. 97)), Material/Man-made Substance (“comprises the notions of consumables, as well as substances obtained artificially and used in the process of human production activity” (Latu, 2015, p. 103)), Construction (“the category covers the notions of artificially created structures, constructions or modified by many places in space” (Latu, 2015, p. 103)). The referents of the second type include such categories, as Process (“the category verbalizes the notions of actions and functions related to one or more objects of scientific or professional knowledge and considered as essential for the development of this sphere” (Latu, 2015, p. 106)), Characteristic (“verbalizes notions about characteristic features of referents of a certain field of scientific knowledge” (Latu, 2015, p. 83)), Agent (“includes notions of subjects engaged in the implementation of tasks in a particular field of scientific or professional knowledge” (Latu, 2015, p. 109)), Situation/Event (“reflects the temporal and spatial correlation, as well as the conditions of interaction and functioning of the referents of a particular field of scientific or professional knowledge” (Latu, 2015, p. 107)), Ideal Phenomenon (“denotes not the elements of the physical world (artificial or natural), but provisionally introduced images, meanings which are necessary for the study and description of the surrounding reality and serving as a superstructure over the elements of the physical world and the development of scientific knowledge in a particular field of knowledge” (this category includes units of measurement, laws, theorems, etc. (Latu, 2015, p. 109)).
Let us consider the distribution of terms in the domains of nanotechnology, politics and ecology in accordance with the categories of academic notions. The analysis helped to reveal that the most productive categories in the sphere of Nanotechnology are:
The terms of the categories
The most productive categories in Political Science include:
Less frequent categories are:
Such categories of concepts as
As for the sphere of Ecology, the most productive categories are:
Less productive categories of academic concepts are
The results of the term definition analysis allow us to conclude that Nanotechnology, Ecology and Political Science as different scientific fields of knowledge are characterized by a special correlation of the categories of mental constructs. Nanotechnology is presented by several frequently used categories of mental constructs, namely:
The authors express their gratitude to the Ministry of science and higher education of the Russian Federation that financially supported the study (project No. 34.3234.2017/4.6).
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20 April 2020
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Discourse analysis, translation, linguistics, interpretation, cognition, cognitive psychology
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Latu, M. N., & Razduyev, A. V. (2020). Categorial Stratification Of Academic Notions In The Domains Of Nanotechnology, Political Science And Ecology. In & A. Pavlova (Ed.), Philological Readings, vol 83. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 514-522). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.04.02.59