THE SEMANTICS OF SCIENTIFIC TERMINOLOGY IN THE CHINESE LANGUAGE (BASED ON THE TERMS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLE PHYSICS). THE COGNITIVE ASPECT

Publication Type:

Language:

Transliteration of original Title: 
Semantika nauchnoj terminologii v kitajskom jazyke (na primere terminov fiziki jelementarnyh chastic). Kognitivnyj aspect
Author(s): 
Maria Rubets
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No. 1 (Vol. 43)
Pages: 
112-127
Abstract: 

This article highlights the problem of the connection between thought and scientific language. The hypothesis of non-identity of thought-forms in different cultures, expressed in language, and the reflection of the spatial thinking in scientific terminology is tested. Author researches Mandarin language as having a phonetic system and principles of the expression of meaning a lot different from Indo-European languages. The research is concentrated primarily on the terms included in the semantic field of "elementary particle physics" (mainly the names of the particles) as it is a relatively recent field of science which had not had any roots in Chinese culture and did not have indigenous scientific vocabulary. First the author describes the peculiarities of Mandarin phonetic system and syllable structure which hardly let using transcription or transliteration in producing of scientific terms, and also gives the examples of translation and transcription of some western terms and names into Chinese. The author shows different forms of the assimilation of European scientific terminology and also different methods of forming scientific terms in Mandarin language. It is shown, that the terms were translated into Chinese either by loan translation (which sometimes leads to inaccurate reflection of meaning), transcription (only for the terms derived from the names such as “boson” or “fermion”) or the descriptional expression of meaning (such as tachyon, bradyon, luxon). The last one lets produce the terms which reflect the essence of the phenomena more accurately. Also the author shows the connection between scientific terminology and the traditional world view and native Chinese concepts (like “yin” and “yang”). It is concluded that Chinese scientific language tends to be visual and descriptive as much as possible, which in a certain sense indicates the reflection of the spatial thinking in linguistic phenomena.

Keywords: 
physical terms, Mandarin, spatial thinking, sense-formation, translation, transcription, representation, connotations
References: 

Bykov A.A. Anatomija terminov. 400 slovoobrazovatel'nyh jelementov iz latyni i grecheskogo

(Anatomy of Terms. 400 word-forming elements from Latin and Greek). Moscow, 2008, 192 p. URL: http://www.litmir.net/br/?b=118342

Chernyh P.Ja. Istoriko-jetimologicheskij slovar' sovremennogo russkogo jazyka (Historical-etymological dictionary of modern Russian language). Moscow, 1999, V.1. 624 p., V.2. 560 p.

Elementary particle. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elementary particle

Electronic version of the large Chinese-Russian dictionary. URL: http://bkrs.info/

Enqvist K., Kainulainen K., Thomson M. Stringent cosmological bounds on inert neutrino mixing. Nuclear Physics B, Volume 373, Issue 2, p. 498-528. DOI: 10.1016/0550-3213(92)90442-E

Eremeev B.E., Kobzev A.I. “Fizicheskie nauki. Mehanika” (“Physical sciences. Mechanics”). Duhovnaja kul'tura Kitaja. Nauka, tehnicheskaja i voennaja mysl', zdravoohranenie i obrazovanie (Spiritual Culture of China. Science, Technology and military thought, health and education). Moscow, 2009, pp.154-168

Fedorov P.P. Intellektual'naja moshh' pervobytnogo cheloveka: pervobytnoe myshlenie i sovremennaja nauka (Intellectual power of primitive man: primitive thinking and modern science). Chemistry and Life, no. 1, 2008, pp. 16-24

Fizicheskij jenciklopedicheskij slovar' (Physical Encyclopedic Dictionary). Ed. by A. M. Prohorov. Moscow, 1983. 928p.

Kobzev A.I. “Dusha, duh i duhi” (“Soul, spirit and ghosts”). Duhovnaja kul'tura Kitaja. Mifologija i religija (Spiritual Culture of China. Mythology and religion). Moscow, 2007, pp.114-117.

Leenson I.A. Where is your name from? Third paper. (Otkuda tvoe imja? Stat'ja tret'ja).  Himija i zhizn' - Chemistry and Life, 2003, no. 11, pp. 44-46.

Łuszczak M., Szczurek A., “Charm quark-antiquark correlations in photon-proton scattering”, Phys. Lett. B594 (2004) 291-298. URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-ph/0404210.pdf

Merkulov I.P. Kognitivnye sposobnosti (Cognitive Abilities). The Institute of Philosophy RAS, Moscow, 2005, 182 p.

Platunov E.S., Samoletov V.A., Buravoj S.E. Fizika. Slovar'-spravochnik (Physics. Reference book). Saint-Petersburg., 2005, 496 p.

Rubec M.V. Kognitivnye osobennosti kitajskoj kul'tury i jazyka. (Cognitive characteristics of Chinese culture and language). Psihologija i Psihotehnika (Psychology and Psychotechnics), 2013, no. 11, pp. 1120-1133. DOI: 10.7256/2070-8955.2013.11.10149

Shanskij N.M., Bobrova T.A. Shkol'nyj jetimologicheskij slovar' russkogo jazyka: proishozhdenie slov (School etymological dictionary of the Russian language: the origin of words). Moscow, 2001, 400 p.

Susov I. P. Istorija jazykoznanija (History of Linguistics). Moscow, 2006. 295 p.

Utijama R. K chemu prishla fizika (What physics came to). Translated from Japanese by I.Ivanchik. M., 1986, 224 p.

Zaliznjak, A.A. “Zaimstvovanie” (“Influences”). Jenciklopedija Krugosvet (Encyclopedia Krugosvet) URL: http://www.krugosvet.ru/enc/gumanitarnye_nauki/lingvistika/ZAIMSTVOVANIE.html?page=0,1

Wen Jiabao proinspektiroval rabotu po realizacii proekta rekonstrukcii jelektronno-pozitronnogo kollajdera v Pekine. Gazeta «Zhjen'min' zhibao» onlajn (Wen Jiabao inspected the work on the project of reconstruction of electron-positron collider in Beijing). Renmin Ribao online. URL: http://russian.people.com.cn/31521/6527462.html

Kitaj planiruet stroitel'stvo superkollajdera (China plans to build a Super Collider). Vesti.ru. URL:  http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1828024

 

DOI: 
10.5840/eps201543135
Full Text: