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Ways of Translating Medical Terms from English into Romanian

Contents...........................................................................................................................................2 Introduction......................................................................................................................................3 Chapter One. The general characteristics of origin and semantics of word....................................4 1.1 Etymology of word................................................................................................................4 1.2 Semantics...............................................................................................................................6 1.3 General overview of medical terminology .........................................................................12 Chapter Two. The Peculiarities of Translating English Medical Terms.......................................15 2.1 The analysis of medical terms ..........................................................................................15 Conclusions....................................................................................................................................21 Bibliography..................................................................................................................................23

Every profession has its jargon, a specialized language that allows for quick, efficient communication between members of the same profession while minimizing the potential for misunderstandings. Jargon is not unique to professions. Have you ever tried to understand two teenagers talking to each other? Adolescent slang serves some of the same purposes as a professional jargon including identifying "insiders" and excluding "outsiders". However, it is in everyone's interest to be an insider when it comes to medical terminology, the jargon of medicine. Being familiar with medical words makes your visit to the doctor less intimidating and, more importantly, enables you to make sound decisions about your health care in consultation with your family physician. Medical terminology is a specialized language used by health care practitioners. And, just like a foreign language, it has its own vocabulary and ways of stringing together words in an acceptable, i.e., understandable to everyone, format. However, unlike a foreign language, we can come across medical terminology every day in magazines and newspapers with articles about new drugs, diets, new medical treatments and on television medical dramas. Many medical terms have interesting, even strange meanings or stories behind their evolution as words. The main objective of this paper is to outline is not to learn a bunch of new words, but to understand the basics of what makes up medical terms so we can not only use and understand them ourselves, but be able to recognize, learn and translate new terms when we come across them in the future. The paper will provide with a head start in learning "medical lingo". Also it is an advantage to be able to better communicate with clients and physicians. So the aim of this year paper is: understanding medical terms handling unfamiliar medical terms analysing medical terms recognising word formation patterns: prefix, root and suffix In order to achieve this purpose, the work is divided into two main chapters. Chapter I this paper presents an overview of the medical terms in English language, highlighting, the general characteristics of origin and semantics of word. Chapter II presents the structural analysis of medical terms, and for better visualization we have used tables and pictures, this goes along with vivid examples sourcing form specialised works. Finally it presents its findings and concludes presenting some ideas for future work. 3

Chapter One. The general characteristics of origin and semantics of word

1.1 Etymology of word
Etymology, branch of linguistics that deals with the origin and development of words and with the comparison of similar words, or cognates, in different languages of the same language group. In its relation to other subdivisions of linguistics, etymology stands closest to phonology; in fact, before the development of phonetic laws, no scientific or systematic means of tracing the derivation of words existed. As its own origin from the Greek (etymos, true; logos, word) shows, etymology was first used as a philosophical term. The Greek Stoics believed that words and their meanings exist in nature, as the real counterparts of things and abstract ideas, rather than as conventions invented and agreed upon by human beings. Long before the foundation of the Stoic school, however, Plato had used a method similar to modern etymology in his Cratylus, a dialogue on the meaning of words. The first formal treatise on etymology, however, was Indian, dating as far back perhaps as the 5th century BC, and was composed to explain the difficult words in the RigVeda, the oldest and most important of the Hindu sacred books. Early attempts at etymology were naive and incorrect according to phonetic evolution. This primitive kind of etymology is still common and is known as popular, or folk, etymology. Among those unfamiliar with the history of words, the attempt is frequently made to etymologize them in terms of other words to which they may have some phonetic resemblance. In English, for example, the word island, properly isle-land (Anglo-Saxon gland), has been explained as land like an eye in the waters; and asparagus (Greek asparagos, a sprout) has become corrupted to sparrowgrass in colloquial speech. With the introduction of Sanskrit into Europe, etymology along more scientific lines was made possible. At about the beginning of the 19th century, European scholars studying Sanskrit noted its resemblance in vocabulary to Latin and Greek. The comparison of vocabularies was extended to other languages, and the idea of a common origin, an Indo-European parent language, was soon established. This, in turn, led to the establishment of certain principles concerning the sound changes that affected the forms of words in the different languages, that is, to the formulation of the phonetic laws. In the case of loan wordswords borrowed from other languagesphonetic law is apparently violated, and it frequently happens that a language has two or more words derived from a single word, one being a regular phonetic development, the other a borrowed form. In this case the latter form, known by the French term mot savant, is 4

usually differentiated in meaning from the former. Thus, in French and English such words as royal and regal are both from the Latin regalis, kingly; the form regal is borrowed directly from the Latin, and royal (French roi, king, from the Latin accusative regem) is the phonetically correct form. Loan words may also undergo the regular sound changes of the language into which they have been adopted. For example, the Latin pondus, pound, appears in Gothic and Anglo-Saxon as pund, with unchanged consonants, but in Old High German it is subject to the action of Grimms Law and becomes phunt. Thus, in etymology attention must be given to the history of words and sometimes to the records of the tribes speaking them. The English wise (as in otherwise, in no wise) is akin to the Old High German ws(a), modern German die Weise; but wise is a doublet of guise, the form assumed by ws(a) in the Romance languages, which borrowed the word from the Germanic form. The same word thus may assume different forms in the same language, and, conversely, different words may become identical in form in a specific language. The large group of homonyms in every language is sufficient proof of this process. An excellent English example of such a phenomenon is sound, which is a conglomerate of several originally distinct words: Anglo-Saxon gesund, hearty; Anglo-Saxon sund, a body of water; and Latin sonus, noise. Etymology finds its principal application in the tracing back of words through an entire group of allied languages to a hypothetical original form. The older etymologies made inaccurate but plausible guesses along these lines; many etymologies that are perfectly sound, however, seem at first sight implausible to those who are not acquainted with phonetic laws and the principles of word formation. Etymology may be confined to a specific group of languages or dialects. Thus, it is possible to refer to Romance etymology (in which words in the Romance languages are traced back for the most part to folk-Latin originals), and to Germanic, Celtic, and Indo-Iranian etymologies, among others. All these are combined in Indo-European, or IndoGermanic, etymology, which is the most thoroughly systematized and serves as a model for the rest. Accidental resemblances in sound are often mistaken for phonetic mutations or proof of etymological kinship. The fact that the Latin taurus sounds like Arabic thaur, both meaning bull, or that the English sheriff resembles in sound the Arabic sharif, exalted, also used of an official of a city, implies no relationship. Certain methods in tracing the etymology of a word have been formulated as follows. 1. The earliest form and usage of the word must be determined and its chronology respected. 2. History and geography should be followed; many words come into language through propinquity or contact. 5

3. Phonetic laws must be respected, particularly in their application to consonants in the Indo-European languages. 4. When two words in the same language are being studied for their related characteristics, the word that has the fewer syllables must be taken at face value to be the earlier. 5. When two words in the same language are being studied for their related characteristics and they both possess the same number of syllables, the earlier form can usually be determined by the chief vowel sound. 6. Germanic strong verbs, like Latin irregular verbs, may be assumed to be primary and all related forms to be derivative. 7. Resemblances in form, and even meaning, in unrelated languages should be ignored. 8. The explanation of an English word must also apply to its cognates. The complete etymology of a word should account for its phonetic evolution, for its source, and, if it is of foreign origin or if it is a conglomerate, for the origin of its various parts.

1.2 Semantics
Semantics (Greek semantikos, significant), the study of the meaning of linguistic signs that is, words, expressions, and sentences. Scholars of semantics try to answer such questions as What is the meaning of (the word) X? They do this by studying what signs are, as well as how signs possess significancethat is, how they are intended by speakers, how they designate (make reference to things and ideas), and how they are interpreted by hearers. The goal of semantics is to match the meanings of signswhat they stand forwith the process of assigning those meanings. Semantics is studied from philosophical (pure) and linguistic (descriptive and theoretical) approaches, plus an approach known as general semantics. Philosophers look at the behavior that goes with the process of meaning. Linguists study the elements or features of meaning as they are related in a linguistic system. General semanticists concentrate on meaning as influencing what people think and do. These semantic approaches also have broader application. Anthropologists, through descriptive semantics, study what people categorize as culturally important. Psychologists draw on theoretical semantic studies that attempt to describe the mental process of understanding and to identify how people acquire meaning (as well as sound and structure) in language. Animal behaviorists research how and what other species communicate. Exponents of general semantics examine the different values (or connotations) of signs that supposedly mean the same thing 6

(such as the victor at Jena and the loser at Waterloo, both referring to Napoleon). Also in a general-semantics vein, literary critics have been influenced by studies differentiating literary language from ordinary language and describing how literary metaphors evoke feelings and attitudes.

In the late 19th century Michel Jules Alfred Breal, a French philologist, proposed a science of significations that would investigate how sense is attached to expressions and other signs. In 1910 the British philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell published Principia Mathematica, which strongly influenced the Vienna Circle, a group of philosophers who developed the rigorous philosophical approach known as logical positivism (see Analytic and Linguistic Philosophy). Symbolic Logic One of the leading figures of the Vienna Circle, the German philosopher Rudolf Carnap, made a major contribution to philosophical semantics by developing symbolic logic, a system for analyzing signs and what they designate. In logical positivism, meaning is a relationship between words and things, and its study is empirically based: Because language, ideally, is a direct reflection of reality, signs match things and facts. In symbolic logic, however, mathematical notation is used to state what signs designate and to do so more clearly and precisely than is possible in ordinary language. Symbolic logic is thus itself a language, specifically, a metalanguage (formal technical language) used to talk about an object language (the language that is the object of a given semantic study). An object language has a speaker (for example, a French woman) using expressions (such as la plume rouge) to designate a meaning (in this case, to indicate a definite pen plumeof the color redrouge). The full description of an object language in symbols is called the semiotic of that language. A language's semiotic has the following aspects: (1) a semantic aspect, in which signs (words, expressions, sentences) are given specific designations; (2) a pragmatic aspect, in which the contextual relations between speakers and signs are indicated; and (3) a syntactic aspect, in which formal relations among the elements within signs (for example, among the sounds in a sentence) are indicated. An interpreted language in symbolic logic is an object language together with rules of meaning that link signs and designations. Each interpreted sign has a truth conditiona condition that 7

must be met in order for the sign to be true. A sign's meaning is what the sign designates when its truth condition is satisfied. For example, the expression or sign the moon is a sphere is understood by someone who knows English; however, although it is understood, it may or may not be true. The expression is true if the thing it is extended tothe moonis in fact spherical. To determine the sign's truth value, one must look at the moon for oneself. Speech-Act Semantics The symbolic logic of logical positivist philosophy thus represents an attempt to get at meaning by way of the empirical verifiability of signsby whether the truth of the sign can be confirmed by observing something in the real world. This attempt at understanding meaning has been only moderately successful. The Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein rejected it in favor of his ordinary language philosophy, in which he asserted that thought is based on everyday language. Not all signs designate things in the world, he pointed out, nor can all signs be associated with truth values. In his approach to philosophical semantics, the rules of meaning are disclosed in how speech is used. From ordinary-language philosophy has evolved the current theory of speech-act semantics. The British philosopher J. L. Austin claimed that, by speaking, a person performs an act, or does something (such as state, predict, or warn), and that meaning is found in what an expression does, in the act it performs. The American philosopher John R. Searle extended Austin's ideas, emphasizing the need to relate the functions of signs or expressions to their social context. Searle asserted that speech encompasses at least three kinds of acts: (1) locutionary acts, in which things are said with a certain sense or reference (as in the moon is a sphere); (2) illocutionary acts, in which such acts as promising or commanding are performed by means of speaking; and (3) perlocutionary acts, in which the speaker, by speaking, does something to someone else (for example, angers, consoles, or persuades someone). The speaker's intentions are conveyed by the illocutionary force that is given to the signsthat is, by the actions implicit in what is said. To be successfully meant, however, the signs must also be appropriate, sincere, consistent with the speaker's general beliefs and conduct, and recognizable as meaningful by the hearer. What has developed in philosophical semantics, then, is a distinction between truth-based semantics and speech-act semantics. Some critics of speech-act theory believe that it deals primarily with meaning in communication (as opposed to meaning in language) and thus is part of the pragmatic aspect of a language's semioticthat it relates to signs and to the knowledge of the world shared by speakers and hearers, rather than relating to signs and their designations 8

(semantic aspect) or to formal relations among signs (syntactic aspect). These scholars hold that semantics should be restricted to assigning interpretations to signs aloneindependent of a speaker and hearer. LINGUISTIC APPROACHES Linguistic semantics is both descriptive and theoretical. Descriptive Semantics Researchers in descriptive semantics examine what signs mean in particular languages. They aim, for instance, to identify what constitutes nouns or noun phrases and verbs or verb phrases. For some languages, such as English, this is done with subject-predicate analysis. For languages without clear-cut distinctions between nouns, verbs, and prepositions, it is possible to say what the signs mean by analyzing the structure of what are called propositions. In such an analysis, a sign is seen as an operator that combines with one or more arguments (also signs)often nominal arguments (noun phrases)or relates nominal arguments to other elements in the expression (such as prepositional phrases or adverbial phrases). For example, in the expression Bill gives Mary the book,gives is an operator that relates the arguments Bill,Mary, and the book. Whether using subject-predicate analysis or propositional analysis, descriptive semanticists establish expression classes (classes of items that can substitute for one another within a sign) and classes of items within the conventional parts of speech (such as nouns and verbs). The resulting classes are thus defined in terms of syntax, and they also have semantic roles; that is, the items in these classes perform specific grammatical functions, and in so doing they establish meaning by predicating, referring, making distinctions among entities, relations, or actions. For example, kiss belongs to an expression class with other items such as hit and see, as well as to the conventional part of speech verb, in which it is part of a subclass of operators requiring two arguments (an actor and a receiver). In Mary kissed John, the syntactic role of kiss is to relate two nominal arguments (Mary and John), whereas its semantic role is to identify a type of action. Unfortunately for descriptive semantics, however, it is not always possible to find a one-to-one correlation of syntactic classes with semantic roles. For instance, John has the same semantic roleto identify a personin the following two sentences: John is easy to please and John is eager to please. The syntactic role of John in the two sentences, however, is different: In the first, John is the receiver of an action; in the second, John is the actor.

Linguistic semantics is also used by anthropologists called ethnoscientists to conduct formal semantic analysis (componential analysis) to determine how expressed signsusually single words as vocabulary items called lexemesin a language are related to the perceptions and thoughts of the people who speak the language. Componential analysis tests the idea that linguistic categories influence or determine how people view the world; this idea is called the Whorf hypothesis after the American anthropological linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, who proposed it. In componential analysis, lexemes that have a common range of meaning constitute a semantic domain. Such a domain is characterized by the distinctive semantic features (components) that differentiate individual lexemes in the domain from one another, and also by features shared by all the lexemes in the domain. Such componential analysis points out, for example, that in the domain seat in English, the lexemes chair,sofa,loveseat, and bench can be distinguished from one another according to how many people are accommodated and whether a back support is included. At the same time all these lexemes share the common component, or feature, of meaning something on which to sit. Linguists pursuing such componential analysis hope to identify a universal set of such semantic features, from which are drawn the different sets of features that characterize different languages. This idea of universal semantic features has been applied to the analysis of systems of myth and kinship in various cultures by the French anthropologist Claude Lvi-Strauss. He showed that people organize their societies and interpret their place in these societies in ways that, despite apparent differences, have remarkable underlying similarities. Theoretical Semantics Linguists concerned with theoretical semantics are looking for a general theory of meaning in language. To such linguists, known as transformational-generative grammarians, meaning is part of the linguistic knowledge or competence that all humans possess. A generative grammar as a model of linguistic competence has a phonological (sound-system), a syntactic, and a semantic component. The semantic component, as part of a generative theory of meaning, is envisioned as a system of rules that govern how interpretable signs are interpreted and determine that other signs (such as Colorless green ideas sleep furiously), although grammatical expressions, are meaninglesssemantically blocked. The rules must also account for how a sentence such as They passed the port at midnight can have at least two interpretations. Generative semantics grew out of proposals to explain a speaker's ability to produce and understand new expressions where grammar or syntax fails. Its goal is to explain why and how, 10

for example, a person understands at first hearing that the sentence Colorless green ideas sleep furiously has no meaning, even though it follows the rules of English grammar; or how, in hearing a sentence with two possible interpretations (such as They passed the port at midnight), one decides which meaning applies. In generative semantics, the idea developed that all information needed to semantically interpret a sign (usually a sentence) is contained in the sentence's underlying grammatical or syntactic deep structure. The deep structure of a sentence involves lexemes (understood as words or vocabulary items composed of bundles of semantic features selected from the proposed universal set of semantic features). On the sentence's surface (that is, when it is spoken) these lexemes will appear as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speechthat is, as vocabulary items. When the sentence is formulated by the speaker, semantic roles (such as subject, object, predicate) are assigned to the lexemes; the listener hears the spoken sentence and interprets the semantic features that are meant. Whether deep structure and semantic interpretation are distinct from one another is a matter of controversy. Most generative linguists agree, however, that a grammar should generate the set of semantically well-formed expressions that are possible in a given language, and that the grammar should associate a semantic interpretation with each expression. Another subject of debate is whether semantic interpretation should be understood as syntactically based (that is, coming from a sentence's deep structure); or whether it should be seen as semantically based. According to Noam Chomsky, an American scholar who is particularly influential in this field, it is possiblein a syntactically based theoryfor surface structure and deep structure jointly to determine the semantic interpretation of an expression. GENERAL SEMANTICS The focus of general semantics is how people evaluate words and how that evaluation influences their behavior. Begun by the Polish American linguist Alfred Korzybski and long associated with the American semanticist and politician S. I. Hayakawa, general semantics has been used in efforts to make people aware of dangers inherent in treating words as more than symbols. It has been extremely popular with writers who use language to influence people's ideas. In their work, these writers use general-semantics guidelines for avoiding loose generalizations, rigid attitudes, inappropriate finality, and imprecision. Some philosophers and linguists, however, have criticized general semantics as lacking scientific rigor, and the approach has declined in popularity.


1.3 General overview of medical terminology

Every profession has its jargon, a specialized language that allows for quick, efficient communication between members of the same profession while minimizing the potential for misunderstandings. Jargon is not unique to professions. We are going to give general information about jargon, slang and their differences. Jargon (language), vocabulary used by a special group or occupational class, usually only partially understood by outsiders. The special vocabularies of medicine, law, banking, science and technology, education, military affairs, sports, and the entertainment world all fall under the heading of jargon. Examples of occupational jargon include such formal technical expressions as perorbital hematoma (black eye, to the layperson), in medicine, and escrow and discount rate, in finance, and informal terms such as licorice stick (clarinet, among jazz musicians). Cant, sometimes defined as false or insincere language, also (like argot) refers to the jargon and slang used by thieves and beggars and the underworld. Colorful terms and phrases such as mug (either a police photograph or to attack a victim), payola (graft or blackmail), hooker (prostitute), and to rub out or to blow away (to kill) are examples of cant that eventually became commonly known to, and adopted as slang by society in general. Some writers reserve the term jargon for technical language. Applied to colorful occupational expressions such as licorice stick, the concepts of jargon and slang overlap greatly. In general, however, slang is more casual and acceptable to outsiders than jargon. Slang and cant are more vivid than jargon, with a greater turnover in vocabulary. The special in-group speech of young people and of members of distinct ethnic groups is generally called slang, especially when it is understood by outsiders. Some writers use the term argot in a generalized way that covers cant, in-group slang, and occupational jargonno uniform terminology has been adopted for these common ways of using language. The term jargon, however, also pertains in general to gibberish and unintelligible language and to overinflated, needlessly technical language. In addition, it can refer to specific dialects resulting from a mix of several languages (as in Chinook Jargon, used by Native American traders). Slang, informal, nonstandard words and phrases, generally shorter lived than the expressions of ordinary colloquial speech, and typically formed by creative, often witty juxtapositions of words or images. Slang can be contrasted with jargon (technical language of occupational or other groups) and with argot or cant (secret vocabulary of underworld groups), but the borderlines separating these categories from slang are greatly blurred, and some writers use the terms cant, argot, and jargon in a general way to include all the foregoing meanings. 12

ORIGINS Slang tends to originate in subcultures within a society. Occupational groups (for example, loggers, police, medical professionals, and computer specialists) are prominent originators of both jargon and slang; other groups creating slang include the armed forces, teenagers, racial minorities, ghetto residents, labor unions, citizens-band radio broadcasters, sports groups, drug addicts, criminals, and even religious denominations (Episcopalians, for example, produced spike, a High Church Anglican). Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members. They may thus contribute to a sense of group identity and may convey to the listener information about the speaker's background. Before an apt expression becomes slang, however, it must be widely adopted by members of the subculture. At this point slang and jargon overlap greatly. If the subculture has enough contact with the mainstream culture, its figures of speech become slang expressions known to the whole society. For example, cat (a sport), cool (aloof, stylish), Mr. Charley (a white man), The Man (the law), and Uncle Tom (a meek black) all originated in the predominantly black Harlem district of New York City and have traveled far since their inception. Slang is thus generally not tied to any geographic region within a country. A slang expression may suddenly become widely used and as quickly dated (23-skiddoo). It may become accepted as standard speech, either in its original slang meaning ( bus, from omnibus) or with an altered, possibly tamed meaning (jazz, which originally had sexual connotations). Some expressions have persisted for centuries as slang (booze for alcoholic beverage). In the 20th century, mass media and rapid travel have speeded up both the circulation and the demise of slang terms. Television and novels have turned criminal cant into slang ( five grand for $5,000). Changing social circumstances may stimulate the spread of slang. Drug-related expressions (such as pot for marijuana) were virtually a secret jargon in the 1940s; in the 1960s they were adopted by rebellious youth; and in the 1970s and '80s they were widely known. USES In some cases slang may provide a needed name for an object or action (walkie-talkie, a portable two-way radio; tailgating, driving too close behind another vehicle), or it may offer an emotional outlet (buzz off! for go away!) or a satirical or patronizing reference (smokey, state highway trooper). It may provide euphemisms (john, head, can, and in Britain, loo, all for toilet, itself originally a euphemism), and it may allow its user to create a shock effect by using a pungent slang expression in an unexpected context. Slang has provided myriad synonyms for parts of the body (bean, head; schnozzle, nose), for money (moola, bread, scratch), for food (grub, slop, garbage), and for drunkenness (soused, stewed, plastered).


FORMATION Slang expressions are created by the same processes that affect ordinary speech. Expressions may take form as metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech (dead as a doornail). Words may acquire new meanings (cool, cat). A narrow meaning may become generalized ( fink, originally a strikebreaker, later a betrayer or disappointer) or vice-versa (heap, a run-down car). Words may be clipped, or abbreviated (mike, microphone), and acronyms may gain currency (VIP, AWOL, snafu). A foreign suffix may be added (the Yiddish and Russian -nik in beatnik) and foreign words adopted (baloney, from Bologna). A change in meaning may make a vulgar word acceptable (jazz) or an acceptable word vulgar (raspberry, a sound imitating flatus; from raspberry tart in the rhyming slang of Australia and Cockney London; ( see Jargon). Sometimes words are newly coined (oomph, sex appeal, and later, energy or impact). POSITION IN THE LANGUAGE Slang is one of the vehicles through which languages change and become renewed, and its vigor and color enrich daily speech. Although it has gained respectability in the 20th century, in the past it was often loudly condemned as vulgar. Nevertheless, Shakespeare brought into acceptable usage such slang terms as hubbub, to bump, and to dwindle, and 20th-century writers have used slang brilliantly to convey character and ambience. Slang appears at all times and in all languages. A person's head was kapala (dish) in Sanskrit, testa (pot) in Latin; testa later became the standard Latin word for head. Among Western languages, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Yiddish, Romanian, and Romani (Gypsy) are particularly rich in slang.


Chapter Two. The Peculiarities of Translating English Medical Terms

2.1 The analysis of medical terms
There are two major categories of medical terms: descriptive- describing shape, color, size, function, etc, and eponyms, literally "putting a name upon". The latter has been used to honor those who first discovered or described an anatomical structure or diagnosed a disease or first developed a medical instrument or procedure. Some examples of eponyms are fallopian tubes (uterine tubes-Gabriello Fallopio) and eustachian tubes (auditory tubes-Bartolommeo Eustachii). The problem with eponyms is that they give no useful information about what is or where to find the item named. For instance, if a physician asks The duct of Wirsung?, the patient cannot understand the real meaning of the expression which in fact means - the pancreatic duct. In recent times, the trend has been toward replacing eponyms with descriptive names. For this reason, we will not spend time learning them. However, some things are known almost As examples, exclusively by their eponym. Would you recognize "paralysis agitans" as Parkinson's disease? Also, some descriptive terms have been deemed offensive or stigmatizing. Hansen's disease. By the way, eponyms are not unique to medical terminology. Before we can start analyzing some new and interesting medical terms, we need to mention a few fundamentals of how medical terminology is constructed as a language. There are three basic parts to medical terms: a word root (usually the middle of the word and its central meaning), a prefix (comes at the beginning and usually identifies some subdivision or part of the central meaning), and a suffix (comes at the end and modifies the central meaning as to what or who is interacting with it or what is happening to it). An example may make better sense. "mongolism" is currently called Down's syndrome and "leprosy" has all but been replaced with

Word Root

therm = heat hypothermia (less heat), thermometer (measuring heat) Let us look at a real medical term and take it apart.


myocarditis (prefix) myo = muscle (root) card = heart (suffix) itis = inflammation

In the table above we have demonstrated the major parts of a medical term. Let us see how prefix and suffix changes can alter the meaning of a term without changing its central meaning by keeping the root the same.

Prefix change: myocarditis pericarditis endocarditis = muscle layer of heart inflamed = outer layer of heart inflamed = inner layer of heart inflamed

A suffix follows the end of a word and forms a new word. In medical terminology, a suffix provides important clues about a word's definition. For instance, the suffix, 'pathy', means disease. In most cases when you see a word ending in 'pathy', you know it refers to a disease, as in the word 'angiopathy', which means disease of the blood vessels. Suffix change: cardiologist Cardiomyopathy Cardiomegaly = a physician specializing in the heart = damage to heart muscle layer = enlargement of the heart

Following, in no particular order, are frequently used word beginnings (prefixes) and word endings (suffixes) used to make up many medical terms. We don not need to memorize whether an item is a prefix or suffix, just what it means. -itis -osis -ectomy = inflammation = abnormal condition = to cut out (remove) tonsillitis, appendicitis cyanosis (of blueness, due to cold or low oxygen) appendectomy, tonsillectomy 16

-otomy -ostomy a/an micro

= to cut into = to make a "mouth" = without, none = small

tracheotomy (to cut into the windpipe, temporary opening) colostomy (to make a permanent opening in colon) anemia (literally no blood means few red cells) but

microstomia (abnormally small mouth, see "stomy" in colostomy above?) macrostomia (abnormally large mouth) megacolon (abnormally large colon = large intestine) colonoscopy (look into colon)

macro mega/ -megaly -scopy/ -scopic

= large = enlarged = to look, observe

Just a few more that you will see and hear over and over again.

-graphy/ -graph -gram

= recording an image = the image (X-ray)

mammography breasts) mammogram

(imaging the

Whenever we see these endings, -graphy, -graph, -gram, they relate to recording an image such as an X-ray, CT or MRI scan or a written recording with pen and moving paper. Mammography is the process of recording, i.e. the machine and procedure. Mammogram is the image itself, the -ology/ = study, specialize in cardiologist, nephrologist (study -ologist the heart, the kidneys) X-ray. A recording of heart activity is called an electrocardiogram using an electrocardiograph. A recording of brain activity is an electroencephalogram and the medical procedure and machine is called electroencephalography.

To see a lung specialist, we would visit a pulmonologist. To see a specialist in nerve and brain disease, make an appointment with a neurologist. If we have a bad eye infection, we may be referred to an ophthalmologist.


Before we start learning specific medical terms for various systems of the body, we need to know word roots that identify major organs in the body. Note in each example, we have used some prefix or suffix we have already been introduced to. Stomato Dento Glosso/linguo Gingivo Encephalo Gastro Entero Colo Procto Hepato Nephro/rene Orchido Oophoro Hystero/metro Salpingo Dermo Masto/mammo Osteo Cardio Cysto Rhino Phlebo/veno = mouth = teeth = tongue = gums = brain = stomach = intestine = large intestine = anus/rectum = liver = kidney = testis = ovary =uterus = uterine tubes = skin = breast = bones = heart = bladder = nose = veins stomatitis dentist glossitis, lingual nerve gingivitis encephalitis gastritis gastroenteritis colitis, megacolon proctitis, proctologist hepatitis, hepatomegaly nephrosis, renal artery orchiditis, orchidectomy oophorectomy hysterectomy, endometritis hystosalpingogram dermatitis mammography, mastectomy osteoporosis electrocardiogram (ECG) cystitis rhinitis (runny nose!) phlebitis, phlebotomy


Pneumo/pulmo Hemo/emia

= lung = blood

pneumonitis, pulmonologist hematologist, anemia

Note that some organs have more than one word root. Example: "masto" and "mammo". Typically, one is derived from the Greek and one from Latin. The word ending "-itis" is going to be used repeatedly. It means inflammation. So an infected cut is an inflammation. "Pink eye" is an inflammation. However, four things must be present to define inflammation: pain, redness, heat and swelling (dolor, rubor, calor and tumor in Latin!). But, inflammation of an internal organ such as the stomach or kidney must be defined by a physician relying on signs and symptoms, and, possibly, the need for a biopsy (tissue sample) to examine under a microscope by a specialist in identifying the causes of diseased tissues, a pathologist. Speaking about etymology of medical terms it is appropriate to mention that most medical terminology derives from Latin or Greek. We are going to present some examples of medical terminology derived from these and other languages. In addition, looking up a medical term into a dictionary we can find out the origin of word with the help of abbreviations: AS. = Anglo Saxon: gut AS. guttas = the bowels. shoulder AS. sculdor = shoulder. Gr. = Greek: acromegaly Gr. akron = tip or extremity, and megas = large. adenoid Gr. aden = gland, and eidos = resemblance. L. = Latin: acinus L. acinus = grape. adipose L. adiposus; from adeps = fat. ML. = Medieval Latin: bursa ML. bursa = a purse, hence any closed sac. Mod.L. = Modern Latin: basilar Mod. L. basilaris = basal; originally from Gr. basis = a base. serosa Mod. L. sersus = membrane giving off serum.


OE.= Old English: socket OE. socket = spearhead; from OF. soc = ploughshare. Later the meaning was transferred to mean a sheath or holder, the hollow into which something fits. OF. = Old French: ameloblast OF. en = on, amel = enamel, and Gr. blastos = germ. Fr. = French: bruit Fr. bruit = sound or noise. There are some illustrative examples: Esophagus comes from Greek words meaning "that which swallows what we eat". Fallopian tubes. Fallopio. Placenta. It means a "flat cake" in Greek, simply describing its shape. In order to understand the meaning of a medical term we should look at the whole word in question. For example "pancytopenia." If we break it down into its various parts we get Pancyto-penia. In this example, pan means "all" or "total," cyto refers to cells, and penia indicates a deficiency. So the definition of pancytopenia is a deficiency of all blood cells. Let us try another one. How about "lipodystrophy". Let us break it down. Lipo refers to fat; trophy is talking about growth or development. And anything with the word dys in it has an abnormality. Lipodystrophy: An abnormal development of fat. Here is an even simpler one, "leukocyte." We have already mentioned that cyto refers to cells. If we look up the definition of leuko, we will see that it means white. So a leukocyte would be a white blood cell. It can be easy to understand what leukocytopenia means. They are named after a 16th century Italian anatomist, Gabriello


To sum up this brief treatment of medical terms it is necessary to stress that in studying of these words a linguist cannot be content with establishing the source, the date of penetration, the semantic sphere to which the word belonged and the circumstances of the process of borrowing. The medical terms have absorbed materials of the most varied origins but its center of gravity lies in the sphere of the Greco-Latin tradition. It can be collected within the confines of a homogeneous group of source or control languages, which not only represent the Greco-Latin tradition in our time but also have likewise absorbed all significant medical terms radiated from other languages. In the large majority of cases, the medical terminology is built up of Latin and Greek or Greco-Latin elements. It is not overall the contribution of any one language, not even of Greek and Latin taken together, for it includes a considerable number of terms, which, though consisting of classical elements, were completely unknown to the native speakers of both the classical languages. Socrates spoke Greek all through his life but he never used the telephone and did not know that the word for it comes from his mother tongue. This year paper has dealt with etymology and semantics of medical terms in English. The paper has provided comprehensive information concerning the origin of medical terms, supplying with illustrative examples taken from Medical Etymology. The History and Derivations of Medical Terms for Students of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing By: O.H. Perry Pepper. 21

Moreover, we have taken into consideration word formation patterns: prefix, root and suffix in order to understand better the meaning of medical terms. The year paper provide useful information for students who are interested in studying medical terminology. Especially those who are engaged in the arduous process of studying in order to reveal all the misunderstandings will appreciate the utility of the present work more. However, it is in everyone's interest to be an insider when it comes to medical terminology, the jargon of medicine. Being familiar with medical words makes your visit to the doctor less intimidating and, more importantly, enables you to make sound decisions about your health care in consultation with your family physician. Also it is an advantage to be able to better communicate with clients and physicians. On this ground, the present work founds a claim to usefulness.


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