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Terminology in English Language Teaching

Nature and Use


Roger Berry

Based on original research and novel concepts, this book investigates the nature and use of terminology from linguistic and applied viewpoints. Throughout, problems with terminology, such as overuse by teachers and cases of synonymy and polysemy, are considered and solutions are offered.
Part One looks firstly at some basic concepts, then draws important distinctions between pedagogic and scientific terminology, and between transparent, opaque and iconic terms, before examining the historical, lexical and grammatical nature of terms.
Part Two attempts to estimate the value and relevance of terminology in language teaching and describes the use and knowledge of terminology in various language-teaching-related constituencies: learners, teachers, textbooks, grammars and research. It concludes with a discussion of the criteria for evaluating terms and an analysis of terms used in ELT.


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CHAPTER FIVE The lexis of terms


1. Introduction This chapter looks at terms from a lexical viewpoint. Although up to now we have regarded terms as distinct from words we must not for- get that they also function as words, albeit it on a metalinguistic rather than linguistic level, and have the same properties. If we study them as such, some of the problems associated with metalinguistic terminol- ogy can be better understood. One particular issue was alluded to in Chapter Four, Section 4, namely the proliferation of unnecessary terms. In this context, Chalker and Weiner (1994: vii) point to some issues they encountered in writ- ing a dictionary of EFL terminology: Different grammarians are entitled to analyse language in different ways, and fresh viewpoints may call for new terms. But while grammarians sometimes ex- plain what they mean by a new or unusual term, it is rarer for them to point out that they are using an existing term in a new way. This is a cause of real confu- sion. Another problem is that new terms may in the end turn out to be alterna- tives for an old concept – a synonym in fact (e.g. progressive, continuous). Here we are faced with two lexical problems that beset the study and use of terminology: cases of polysemy and synonymy. The next two sections deal with these. Another section explores in greater detail the systematicity of terms (cf. Chapter One) through the concepts of hy- ponymy and markedness. 86 2. Polysemy Cases of polysemy, or multiple...

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