Chapter 2Terminology standardization in the Arab world
The quest for a model of term evaluation
Standardization is a polysemous term. It refers at the same time to the standardization of terms used in scientific and technical fields as well as the process of elaborating standards (or norms) in industry and other economic sectors. In fact, most people immediately think about ISO standards when they hear the term standardization. However, an encyclopedia devoted to scientific, legal, Sufi and technical terminology aims primarily to standardize terms, and this is the focus of the present paper. Whether standardizing terminology itself or standardizing the principles and techniques of managing terminology the ultimate goal of the process is always quality control and assurance. In the Arab World, the standardization of the terminology belonging to a particular subject field, be it a science (such as chemistry, linguistics and physics), art (such as painting), doctrine (such as Marxism) or vocation (such air-traffic and agriculture), attracts more attention than the standardization of terminological principles and techniques or the elaboration of industrial standards. Indeed, whether in language academies, specialized periodicals or in conferences organized by language academies, the Bureau for the Coordination of arabization in the Arab World (BCAAW) or by universities, the terminological issues and problems in the Arab world are greatly discussed.This article discusses standardization particularly with respect to the Arab World and examines its motivations, core principles, and problems. It also outlines the various attempts that both specialized institutions and individuals have made to standardize Arabic terms (e.g. Lakhdar Ghazal 1977; Hamzaoui 1986a; Heliel 1987 and Darir 2004). The aim is to suggest guidelines that, with further elaboration, could serve as a comprehensive model for the standardization of terms not only in Arabic but also in other languages.
- 1.Introduction: The problem
- 2.Causes of the terminological problem
- 3.Why standardization?
- 4.Standardization or unification?
- 5.Arabic efforts in the field of terminology standardization
- 6.Involvement in International Standards Organizations
- 7.General evaluation of terminological work in the Arab world
- 8.A viable comprehensive model of term evaluation
- A.Linguistic criteria
- 1.Correct linguistic usage
- B.Terminological criteria
- 2.Economy, concision or morphological singularity of form
- 3.Transparency and clarity
- 4.Frequency or widespread use
- 6.Productivity and systematicness
- C.Socio- and psycho-terminological criteria
- C1.Psycho-terminological criteria.
- 9.Credibility and prestige
- C2.Socio-terminological criteria.
- 10.Snobbism, fashion and the role of established linguistic usage
- 11.Lack of undesirable interference from the vernaculars
- 12.Maximum distinctiveness
- D.Aesthetic criteria
- 13.Aesthetic considerations