9. A method for analysing the dynamics of naming from a monolingual and multilingual perspective
Today, term variation is commonly accepted to be a widespread phenomenon in specialised communication. Although some degree of arbitrariness is inevitable, the expert’s choice of a term variant is generally motivated to some extent, reflecting the way he or she views a concept. This work presents a methodology for describing the conceptually motivated patterns of term variation in a corpus of special language use. This method – which analyses the conceptual information displayed on the term’s form – represents an attempt to provide a framework which accounts for the flexibility of concepts and conceptual structures in a systematic way, adopting a perspective which is relevant for both monolingual and multilingual studies. Using data from a bilingual (French and Galician) corpus of texts related to coastal fishing and aquaculture, the applicability of the analysis method is illustrated with a description of the variation patterns pertaining to terms designating human entity concepts within the corpus. Furthermore, this study points out common trends and differences across languages. The linguistic differences are related to the culture-boundness of specialised knowledge and its terminology.