Publication details [#8472]

Ohly, Rajmund. 1997. Terminology in African user models. 20 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


The notion of terminology in the African context is discussed, noting that terms considered specialized or technical in European languages are often necessary in general language use in Herero (Bantu, Namibia). The impact of linguistic acculturation during the colonization period on Herero vocabulary is illustrated with neologisms. African speakers' enigmatic language behavior and the metaphorical structure of African languages are seen as obstacles to the development of standardized terminologies and technical languages. Language planning efforts aimed at the elaboration of terminologies in African countries are examined in a discussion of the pros and cons of discourse, user, and expert user models, based on the notions of common, workshop, and professional language, respectively. Structuralist and sociolinguistic approaches to terminology formation are distinguished, and the latter's importance for the African situation is stressed. Two obstacles are identified to its implementation: (1) inadequate corpus planning due to the linguistic divergence of the social elite and restricted socioeconomic mobility of the nonelite and (2) subtractive bilingualism produced by second-language learning and use. (Z. Dubiel in LLBA, Accession Number 200008482)