THE PRINCIPLES OF FORMATION OF LATVIAN TERMINOLOGY
Latvian terminology has a long history of development. The first Latvian terms are dated back to the 16th century, with the first written (printed) matter in Latvian. We can speak about the scientific approach to selecting and forming of terms, beginning with the second half of the 19th century when different textbooks and manuals of various branches of science and technology as well as terminological dictionaries were published in Latvian and when essential problems of formation of terminology (the role of native derivatives and borrowings, the brevity of a term, etc.) were discussed in separate articles (J. Alunāns, K. Valdemārs, etc.).
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and in the first half of the 20th century an important role in consolidating the scientific approach was played by the terminological activities of J. Endzelīns.
At present the development of Latvian terminology is proceeding in conformity with the world-recognized basic principles of terminological work.
In the present book the term is interpreted as a functional unit with a definite sphere of application and functional meaning.
A term is the result of the process of termination and by «term» we denote the unit of termination a word or a combination of words that expresses (names and marks) a definite scientific conception in the terminological system of the respective branch of science.
The basic principle of terminology formation is to consider the requirements placed upon the scientific term: systematicality, the precision of meaning, the brevity of form, monosemy, mononimity, contextual independence, emotional neutrality, etc.
Though nowadays terminology is recognized as an independent branch of science, its close links with linguistics determine the dominating role of lingual (intralingual) principles in formation of terminology. The lexical aspect of those principles supposes to respect the specifies of the terminological stratum in the general lexical system of language, the interrelations of terms and non-terms, terminological and general vocabulary, the connections between terminology and professionally, socially, territorially, historically and stylistically limited lexical layers, etc.
The substantive nature of a term and the differentiated understanding of the terminological vocabulary have a particular role. A conception of termeme gives for the words of various parts of speech a possibility to allocate a definite place within terminological systems and terminological vocabulary in general. The termeme is a conceptually united combination of termination with a term as the central member and words of other parts of speech as secondary members.
Vitally important principles follow as well from such aspects as the semantic one (differentiation of the meaning of terms and elements of terms, the separating of the semantic fonctions of terms of different structures, etc.), the phonological and morphological (using of variants of spelling and form for the differentiation of semantics, action of analogy, etc.), the aspect of word-building (formation of terms according to general rules for word-building, activization of elements of small productivity and non-productive elements of word-building, the specifying of the semantics of word-building elements and making of new patterns, etc.) and the syntactic aspect (the chief patterns of phrase terms of three and more components and ways of their abbreviation, the use of hyphening, etc.).
Since the formation of terminology deals with problems of borrowing and contacts among languages, the interlingual principles should be pointed out. On the interlingual aspect of these principles when estimating usefulness of borrowing any term of great importance is international or foreign character. More strict criteria should be put forward for the borrowings from concrete national languages of ourdays as they possess special phonetic, morphological or other peculiarities of their own. Among internationalisms the coinings of Latin and Greek origin are of main importance. In the course of developing of national terminology the closest contact language plays a special role. During the last few decades the Russian language was the most influential contact language. The Russian term forming models contributed to the word-building capacities of Latvian, but at the same time it caused influx of non-motivated borrowings into Latvian terminology. The basic principle in applying Russian terminology is choosing or producing the most suitable equivalent for expression of the respective concept in Latvian rather than literal translation or borrowing of the Russian term.
A number of peculiar elements and variants come into terminology with so-called regionalisms. The main criteria in borrowing them are the regional specific of the phenomenon, the terminological function of the regionalism in the root-language, the occurrence of regionalism in many other languages of the world, etc.
As to the extralinguistic principles there are briefly characterized only those which are mainly connected with the subjective (a personality, a terminologist) and social (the activities of the society, groups of experts, enterprises and organizations) factors, the main to be respected in the practice of formation of terminology. Those are: the principle of the scientific approach, the principle of scientific management, the cooperation of experts and linguists, the necessity of coordination of terms both in a separate branch and among branches on general technological and scientific level and harmonizing them on international level. The socially historical principle and the informative principle are of great importance, as well.
The fixed requirements of various intra-, inter- and extralinguistic principles not always are mutually co-ordinated. Sometimes they are in contradiction which motivates separate deviations from the systemic patterns of terms. Thus these questions should be more profoundly investigated, among them the problem of hierarchy of principles.
System or exception, innovation or tradition, coordination among branches or the pointing out of the specifics of a branch those are some of the problems in this connection.The new linguistic situation in Latvia opens vast opportunities for the development of Latvian terminology.