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Course 6


Definition in terminology
Definition is a problem in just about any field or activity that requires it. Why?  - subject of theoretical interest among philosophers - logicians, mathematicians, lexicographers, thesaurus-makers, etc. Philosophers have debated whether meaning has to with the „thing‟ or with the word for the „thing‟.

Definition in terminology
Definition :

A dictionary-style statement that describes the concept designated by a term. Its role:

states the essential and delimiting characteristics of a concept. => helps establish the textual match between languages

Definition in terminology


=> form: a statement
=> connects two entities:
 

The concept
The term ( = the designation of the concept)

.? The term belongs to ……….Definition in terminology Form: term IS A description of concept Definiendum = Definiens DEFINITION The concept belongs to……...? => the two are (supposed to be) interchangeable in all contexts   .

Definition in terminology  We already know that a term is a  a word (simple term). . symbol or formula that designates a particular concept within a given subject field.?  A unit of knowledge abstracted from a set of characteristics or properties attributed to a class of objects. or entities.  But a concept is…. multiword expression (complex term). relations.

4 Characteristic n Characteristic 5 Characteristic 6 . Characteristic 2 Characteristic 3 Characteristic 1 CONCEPT Char.Definition in terminology .

Definition in terminology  Functions of definition:    fixation of a concept (typically during first concept – term assignment) explanation of a concept relating concepts (either for differentiation or similarity) .

glaciers and rivers in the mountains. Melting point 0C Boiling point100C liquid precipitation rain freezing rain drizzle freezing drizzle dew Water takes many different forms on Earth: water vapor and clouds in the sky. odourless water Acidity (pKa) = 15. seawater and rarely icebergs in the ocean.Definition in terminology . tasteless.74 Molecular formulaH2O .74 Basicity (pKb) = 15. Colourless.

A very small amount of the Earth's water is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products. lakes and ponds 0. water vapor or steam. glaciers and polar ice caps 2. Water covers 70. and gaseous state. On Earth. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions.WATER Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. and other land surface water such as rivers. with 1. but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state. Its molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.4%.9% of the Earth's surface. and is vital for all known forms of life. Oceans hold 97% of surface water. clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air).6%.001% in the air as vapor. and precipitation. . it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies. ice.

Approximately 70% of freshwater is consumed by agriculture. (Wikipedia) . A recent report suggests that by 2030. water demand will exceed supply by 50%. Clean drinking water is essential to human and other life forms. in some developing regions of the world. There is a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita. Water plays an important role in the world economy. However. some observers have estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. precipitation. Over land. usually reaching the sea.WATER Water on Earth moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration). and runoff. Access to safe drinking water has improved steadily and substantially over the last decades in almost every part of the world. evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land. as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation.

Taoism. Immersion (or aspersion or affusion) of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity (where it is called baptism). In addition. a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam. the five daily prayers can be done in most cases (see Tayammum) after completing washing certain parts of the body using clean water (wudu). it is also a part of the practice of other religions. Hinduism. Islam. including Judaism (mikvah) and Sikhism (Amrit Sanskar). and Wicca. Major faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution) include Christianity.  . Shinto. Judaism. In Islam. Rastafari movement.WATER Religion Water is considered a purifier in most religions.

along with earth.WATER  Philosophy The Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles held that water is one of the four classical elements along with fire. Water is also taken as a role model in some parts of traditional and popular Asian philosophy. or basic substance of the universe. wood. In the theory of the four bodily umors. . The classical element of Water was also one of the five elements in traditional Chinese philosophy. fire. Water was considered cold and moist. water was associated with phlegm. earth and air. and metal. and as regarded as the ylem.

WATER Literature Water is used in literature as a symbol of purification. Examples include the critical importance of a river in As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and the drowning of Ophelia in Hamlet.  .

Definition in terminology  Define the following: on  can  dog  pencil  definition What problems do you face?  .

Definition in terminology .

Definition in terminology  Define PENCIL .

the graphite and casing have been sharpened to a point. At the other end. It is used for writing or making marks       . thin piece of graphite The graphite core is black The casing is yellow The casing is made of birch wood At one end there is an eraser.Definition in terminology  Define: pencil  Made of a long thin wood casing + long.

Definition in terminology   object = features concept = characteristics Not all semantic features identifying a concept in selected documents are needed in order to create a definition for that concept." (DUBUC/KENNEDY 1997:39)  term . The necessary and sufficient characteristics of a concept. Essential features are intrinsic to that concept. are referred to as essential. in the sense that they distinguish it from another and their absence makes it indistinguishable from another. which enable us to distinguish it from all other concepts.

Definition in terminology Types of definition depend on:     the the the the nature of the concept to be defined purpose of the definition information available requirements of the user .

there is no inheritance of characteristics between the whole and its parts.Definition in terminology   Establishing characteristics (essential / nonessential) = Establishing relations between characteristics Types of hierarchical relations among concepts   Generic-specific hierarchies (In generic-specific relationships. . the characteristics of superordinate concepts (broader concepts) are inherited by subordinate concepts (narrower concepts). Partitive hierarchies (part-whole) (In a partitive relationship.

Definition in terminology  Define : dog .

Definition in terminology Kingdom Subkingdom Superdivision Division Subdivision Class Subclass Order Family Genus .

– false yucca Species Hesperaloe parviflora – redflower false yucca Variety Hesperaloe parviflora – Engelmann's yucca .Definition in terminology Define: Yucca Kingdom Plantae – Plants Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants Class Liliopsida – Monocotyledons Subclass Liliidae Order Liliales Family Agavaceae – Century-plant family Genus Hesperaloe Engelm.

Definition in terminology     Definition by genus proximus & differentia (the next higher super ordinate concept and the specific distinguishing element) Also called analytical / Aristotelian definition Suitable to define nouns Analyzes their characteristics .

by exemplification. by paraphrase. stipulative etc. encyclopedic ~ terminographic Linguistic vs. (see www.Definition in terminology  Types of definitions:     Lexicographic vs.termium. ) . terminological (Cabre.gc. ontological vs. 1999:104) Definition by extension vs. ostensive. definition by intension Other types: by synonymy.

contracts) “«business day» means a day on which banks and foreign exchange markets are open for business in London and New York. charges and necessary outlays of every description.Definition in terminology  Example of definition by extension:  “«expenses» include costs. consent or waiver. «notice» includes a demand.”  Example of definition by intension:  .” (in legal texts .

Lexicographic definition .

Encyclopedic definition .

sub-types) (3) Genetic-causal information (how it comes about) (4) Essential material properties (5) Other material properties (6) Functional information (what it is used for) (7) Dimension (e. length) (8) Word explanation (9…) .g.Definition in terminology          (1) Taxonomical information (genus proximum) (2) Categorial/type information (e.g. speed. weight.

explains the concept c.Definition in terminology  Functions of the definition:    a. helps fixating a concept (typically during first stages of concept – term assignment) b. relates concepts (either for differentiation or similarity) .

   TEST Do all the objects X designated by the term belong to the class Y designated by the hypernym and do they have those characteristics? Are all the objects of the class Y with that set of characteristics X-s? .

(4). (5).)? Assuming you have data for (2). for ex. Which would you choose? Why? .Definition in terminology  Exercise: Which characteristics of the above to include in a definition (of pencil. and you are asked to write a onesentence definition making use of only three of these facets. (7). (6). (8).

mould opposites: winner . Such relationships include the following types:       producer-product: bake .hammer container-contents: bottle .loser . concepts are linked by spatial or temporal proximity and may share nonessential features.Definition in terminology Non-Hierarchical Relationships (Associative Networks)  In associative relationships.fruit juice cause-effect: humidity .bread action-result: presidential election .president elect action-tool: hammering .

X includes A + B) the definiendum should be expressed by the same part of speech as the definiens The definition of the concept should not contradict other definitions in the same concept system / field .Definition in terminology  Best practices for definitions:      Mind your defining vocabulary/entailed terms (the language should not be (unnecessarily) obscure : Mind definitional views: develop a concept system Front the definiendum and use a “definitor” or link to equate definiendum to definiens (X is a Y.

ISO 1995) .Definition in terminology  Worst practices for definition (1): circularity: using a concept (C1) while defining another (C2). when the definition of C2 involves use of C1 Example:    textile: a type of fabric that is woven fabric: a type of textile (cf. ISO 1995) tautology: using several parts of the definiendum in the definiens Example:   uniform movement: movement that occurs uniformly (cf.

Definition in terminology  Worst practices in terminology (2): negation: defining by specifying what is absent Example: Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (Note WHO’s definition. which is acceptable: “Health is a state of complete physical. mental and social well-being and not not merely the absence of disease or infirmity)  incompleteness: insufficient statement of characteristics Influenza is a viral infection (no differentiating characteristics? There are so many viral infections)  multiple definitions: explaining more than one term in a definition  .

Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that causes a fever. . cough. and inflammation of the lining of the nose and airways. Which ones fit the above recommendation and which do not? Why?  1. runny nose. headache.Definition in terminology Exercise 1: Here are some definitions of medical concepts from THE MERCK MANUAL (1997). a feeling of illness (malaise).

conversion disorder. Somatoform disorders is a relatively new term for what many people refer to as psychosomatic disorder.Definition in terminology  2. and hypochondriasis. either the physical symptoms or their severity and duration can‟t be explained by any underlying physical disease. . In somatoform disorders. Somatoform disorders include somatization disorder.

The term psychosomatic disorder has no precise definition. 4. An intracranial hemorrhage is bleeding inside the skull. Most often. . a physical disorder has a necessary biologic component – a factor essential for the disease to occur. the term is applied to physical disorders thought to be caused by psychological factors. However. Rather. no physical disorder is caused exclusively by psychological factors.Definition in terminology   3.

Definition in terminology   5. 6. Paraneoplastic syndromes are the remote effects of cancer (most commonly lung and ovarian cancer) on many different functions of the body. Shy-Drager syndrome is a disorder of unknown cause in which many parts of the nervous system degenerate. often those of the nervous system. .

Definition in terminology Exercise 2: Consider a term (of you own choice – I suggest diabetes or inflation)  Find 4 different sites and copy-paste the definitions:  analyse and say what kind of definitions they are according to the criteria given  list and then analyse the characteristics of the concept encoded in the definition – how / why do they differ? .

Definition in terminology DEFINIENDUM DEFINITOR DEFINIENS Genus Distinguishing characteristics .