Taikomoji kalbotyra, 14: 72–81 eISSN 2029-8935
https://www.journals.vu.lt/taikomojikalbotyra DOI: https://doi.org/10.15388/Taikalbot.2020.14.6
Neologisms in Hungarian terms of quality assurance
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary
Abstract. By employing a functional-cognitive frame, this paper, in which neologisms derived from English are analysed, focuses on the semantics of new Hungarian terms of quality assurance (quality management in general). Although the importance of unambiguous terms in scientific communication is often emphasised (Temmerman 2002: 211), it has been observed that the presence of conceptual metonymies and metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Panther and Thornburg 2003, Kövecses 2015) also fosters understanding of technical languages. The author’s previous research in the field of the semantics of Hungarian neologisms (e.g. Sólyom 2014a, b, 2016) has also revealed that the presence of metonymies and metaphors has a significant impact upon the process of meaning construal. The present research assumes that various metonymic and metaphorical meanings occur in the semantics of novel Hungarian terms of quality assurance. To attest this, examples from a questionnaire filled by Hungarian quality engineers in 2018 will be analysed. Another question addressed in this paper is whether there is a mental reason for the fact that although there are colloquial Hungarian words and expressions for describing the processes of manufacturing, experts in the field do not use them, but rather employ neologisms with English roots. Indeed, this is how specialists distinguish technical terms from everyday expressions.
Keywords: neologism; quality assurance; Hungarian technical terms; metonymy; metaphor
Vengriški kokybės užtikrinimo srities terminai naujadarai
Santrauka. Straipsnyje funkciniu ir kognityviniu aspektu nagrinėjami nauji vengriški kokybės užtikrinimo srities terminai, naujadarai analizuojami atsižvelgiant į jų gramatines ir semantines savybes. Medžiaga rinkta 2018 metais, šios srities ekspertai (kokybės inžinieriai) užpildė klausimyną. Naujus terminus vienija tai, kad jie kurti naudojant angliškų žodžių šaknis, o iš kelių žodžių sudarytuose terminuose esama ir angliškų žodžių.
Nors mokslinėje literatūroje dažnai pabrėžiama vienareikšmių terminų svarba mokslinėje komunikacijoje (Temmerman 2002: 211), šiandien jau aišku, kad konceptualiosios metaforos ir metonimai (Lakoff-Johnson 1980, Panther-Thornburg 2003, Kövecses 2015) gali turėti svarbų vaidmenį kuriant žodžių reikšmes, jie taip pat palengvina terminijos supratimo procesą. Straipsnio autorės tyrimai atskleidė, kad metaforų ir metonimų vartojimas gali turėti reikšmingą poveikį reikšmių kūrimo procesui sudarant kasdien vartojamus naujadarus, kai kalboje pradedama vartoti naują žodį arba naują konstrukciją.
Šiame straipsnyje teigiama, kad tai būdinga ir naujiems vengriškiems kokybės užtikrinimo srities terminams, todėl šiuose terminuose taip pat galima rasti įvairių metoniminių ir metaforinių semantinių struktūrų. Ypatingas dėmesys skiriamas gramatinių procesų semantikai, t. y. žodžių darybai, nes didelę dalį šių terminų sudaro tokie vengriški veiksmažodžiai, kurie yra sudaryti prie angliškos šaknies prijungus produktyvias vengrų kalbos darybos morfemas -(V)z arba -(V)l. Kitas svarbus dalykas kuriant šiuos terminus yra vengriškų priešdėlių semantika, nes jie suteikia naujiems veiksmažodžiams perfektinę reikšmę, pabrėžia veiksmo užbaigtumą.
Antroje straipsnio dalyje iškeliama hipotezė, kad esama ir mentalinių priežasčių, kodėl, nepaisant to, kad gamybos procesus galima aprašyti kasdieniais (šnekamosios) vengrų kalbos žodžiais ir žodžių junginiais, nagrinėjamosios srities ekspertai, užuot vartoję juos, pirmenybę teikia naujadarams su angliškomis šaknimis. Šiai hipotezei pagrįsti straipsnyje aptariami informantų atsakymai apie nagrinėjamų terminų vartojimą. Analizė atskleidė, kad vartodami naujadarus kokybės užtikrinimo srities specialistai gali atskirti specialiuosius terminus nuo bendrų, kasdienių leksemų.
Raktažodžiai: neologizmai, kokybės užtikrinimas, vengriški techiniai terminai, metonimija, metafora
Copyright © 2020 Réka Sólyom. Published by Vilnius University Press.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This paper focuses on the semantics of Hungarian technical terms of quality assurance (quality management), especially manufacturing, in a functional-cognitive frame. There are three main aims of the analysis: first, to present the results of a survey conducted among Hungarian quality engineers concerning new terms; second, to study mental processes involved in the use of the collected terms, which may refer to the presence of conceptual metonymies and metaphors; third, to reveal the triggers for using neologisms instead of colloquial Hungarian terms, or translating whole words into Hungarian.
2. Research questions
The hypothesis of the paper is that metonymic and metaphorical features can be detected in the semantic structure of technical terms. Consequently, the first research question of the paper is what kinds of metonymic and metaphorical meanings can be revealed in the analysed terms. It has emerged that the need of unambiguous terms does not exclude the presence of conceptual metonymies and metaphors, metonymic and metaphorical expressions, or blends (cf. Temmerman 2007, Ureña et al. 2013). These processes of meaning construal do not weaken the meaning of a new word or phrase. On the contrary, they can foster the understanding processes. Thus, the second research question focuses on the reasons for the use of neologisms. The paper assumes that experts in the field (viz. quality engineers in the case of the questionnaire of 2018) do not use neologisms randomly but choose these terms for certain reasons and with particular aims.
3. To the definition of neologisms
3.1. Traditional definitions
In dictionaries and lexicons, various explanations for neologisms can be found (e.g. A Dictionary of Stylistics, Sachwörterbuch der Literatur, Dictionnaire des Termes Littéraires). What is common in them is that they highlight the importance of novelty in the new words and phrases. Two Hungarian lexicons, Stilisztikai lexikon (‘Lexicon of Stylistics’, Szathmári 2004) and Alakzatlexikon (‘Lexicon of Figures’, Szathmári ed. 2008) explain the notion of neologisms in the following ways: “Neologisms are new words, phrases, shades of meaning and grammatical forms, which (…) enrich language permanently” (Szathmári 2004: 154–155); they also emphasise that a neologism is “a linguistic novelty” (Kozocsa 2008: 423). Although numerous definitions are given, they do not concentrate on language users’ former experiences and expectations. Yet, it is important to deal with these, as they have a significant impact on the usage and spread of neologisms.
3.2. A functional-cognitive definition of neologisms
It is often a puzzle for language users where the “boundaries” regarding a linguistic phenomenon such as neologisms start and end. On the one hand, what may seem to be a linguistic novelty for one person may not be a neologism for another and vice versa. On the other hand, even in the case of the same language user, neologisms are relative: what used to be a novelty would not be a neologism after a while. Users get used to certain neologisms which they would previously have considered linguistic novelties.
It is also true that our understanding of a neologism is influenced by many factors, e.g. details considered familiar by the speaker, emphasised aspects of conceptualization, social relationships, the speaker’s belief regarding the hearer’s knowledge about the context and the intention of what is being expressed (cf. Langacker 1987: 65). In short, analysis of a linguistic phenomenon like a neologism usually depends on the language users’ own linguistic experiences. Consequently, a functional-cognitive definition of neologisms should focus on the former experiences and expectations of language users.
In this sense, a neologism is a linguistic phenomenon that, in a given situation, is considered by the addressee to have a novel meaning and/or a novel style, according to the addressee’s prior or imagined prior experiences and expectations. These meaning and style attributions are dynamic and may, to an extent, be subject to change, depending on language users’ former experiences and expectations, even in the case of the same language user (Sólyom 2014a: 19; 2014b: 359–360). This scale ranges from the unknown linguistic phenomena to the well-known everyday words and expressions.
The technical terms in the present paper fit to this definition: they cannot be found in any contemporary Hungarian dictionaries (e.g. in the International Explanatory Dictionary of Quality Assurance [A minőségügy nemzetközi értelmező szótára, Balogh and Földesi 2003]). In addition, according to the results of representative databases (cf. The Hungarian Gigaword Corpus, MNSZ2) and internet search engines, they have occurred in Hungarian in the last few years.
4. Data of the empirical research
In 2018, twelve quality assurance engineers completed a questionnaire, which focused on neologisms in quality assurance. In the survey, two questions had to be answered: the first one asked whether informants could list some novel technical words/phrases from the field of quality assurance with non-Hungarian origins that they used frequently in Hungarian communication during their work. The second question focused on the motivations of using these technical terms and asked them why they used them instead of translating or defining the notions into Hungarian. The informants listed altogether 17 novel technical terms which count as neologisms: they fit the category based on the definition presented in Section 3.2 and cannot be found in the dictionaries of the field (e.g. in Balogh and Földesi 2008).
The results were analysed grammatically and semantically. In the case of the neologisms considered, cognitive aspects (viz. types of processes during meaning construal) and socio-cognitive aspects (viz. language users’ attitudes towards the analysed terms) are considered in the grammatical and semantic analysis. Based on the informants’ answers, different grammatical groups of the novel Hungarian terms can be distinguished. Semantically, the neologisms considered can be divided into more categories, which are based on the different stages of the manufacturing process.
First, the functions of two derivational morphemes, -(V)z and -(V)l suffixes are discussed, and then a semantic grouping of the novel Hungarian terms is given. The grouping is based on the different stages of manufacturing processes. After this, the prototypical metonymic and metaphorical semantic features in the collected neologisms are discussed, and some examples from the informants’ answers are shown. Finally, the informants’ answers concerning the usage of the neologisms are discussed to reveal their attitudes towards the terms.
5. Hungarian -(V)z and -(V)l verbal suffixes
In the case of twelve neologisms in question, two prototypical derivational morphemes occur: -(V)z and -(V)l suffixes. Since Hungarian is an agglutinative language, it has a rich affixational system. In this system, these suffixes function as derivational morphemes (and -(V)z is often followed by the -ik suffix, which is an inflexional morpheme that refers to the 3rd person singular). These two derivational morphemes, -(V)z and -(V)l, are “competing morphemes” (Ladányi 2007: 105, my translation), and their general, invariant meaning is “to be concerned with something” (Ladányi 2007:105, my translation). From the two types, -(V)z seems to be more productive (Ladányi 2007: 107). There are well-defined phonological rules in Hungarian when to use -(V)z or -(V)l, and sometimes it is possible to insert both after the same root. However, the style of the new word will be slightly different. These affixational rules apply to verbs in general either with Hungarian roots or with roots from other languages. The verbal features of the new words are usually easy to detect for Hungarian language users, as the derivational suffixes show that these words fall into the category of verbs.
According to Keszler’s description (2001), the meaning of the new verbs elaborated with -(V)z, viz. the result of the derivational process, can be divided into more categories, depending on the meaning of the nominal base (root) of the new word (Keszler 2001: 309). The new meanings fall into the following categories:
• ‘do sth. with the thing mentioned in the base’, e.g. dartsozik (‘to play darts’);
• ‘put the thing mentioned in the base on sth.’, e.g. ketchupöz (‘to put ketchup on sth.’);
• ‘play the musical instrument mentioned in the base’, e.g. szintetizátorozik (‘to play the synthesizer’);
• ‘travel on the vehicle mentioned in the base’, e.g. mountainbike-ozik (‘to ride the mountain bike’);
• ‘consume the thing mentioned in the base’, e.g. hamburgerezik (‘to eat a hamburger’);
• ‘take part in the thing mentioned in the base’, e.g. aerobikozik (‘to do the aerobics’).
Keszler (2001: 309) gives some prototypical examples for the meanings of those verbs, which are elaborated from foreign bases with the help of -(V)l. These categories are the following (with examples):
• ‘function with the thing mentioned in the base’, e.g. faxol (‘to fax something’);
• ‘travel on the vehicle mentioned in the base’, e.g. raftingol (‘to go rafting’);
• ‘create the thing mentioned in the base’, e.g. jammel (‘to jam’ [in music]).
6. Semantic grouping of the novel Hungarian technical terms
In the present section, a possible semantic grouping of the novel Hungarian terms of quality assurance is discussed. The grouping is based on the answers of informants, who filled the questionnaire in 2018, and the neologisms in the different groups refer semantically to those procedures which occur during the manufacturing process of a product. The examples contain not only words, but some longer novel expressions which were mentioned by the informants during the survey. In the following list, five groups are presented, and a short definition for the different categories is provided, followed by some examples and their explanations.
The first group includes procedures and activities concerning the documents in the quality system, where the reason for the procedure is a change of the technology or new requirements for quality standards. The examples from the survey are (meg)review-z: ’to review’, approve-ol/approve-ál: ’to approve’, release-el: ’to release, put into force (e.g. a document)’, and update-el: ’to update’.
The second group covers terms which are used to refer to the handling of non-conformities in the process of manufacturing (e.g. they refer to pieces of work or products which do not conform to the specifications or requirements). Some examples are as follows: felhasznál use as is-ként: ’to use sg. as use as is’ (sic!); nyit egy deviation-t: ’to open a deviation’ (to get permission in order to use the non-conform product in further processes); nyit egy NC-t (NC=’non-conformity’): ’to open an NC’, which refers to those products that are put into the database of non-conform products with an identifier; reworköl: ’to rework sg.’ (so that it will correspond to the specification); and szkreppel: ’to scrap sg.’ (as it cannot be used).
The third group comprises terms describing the steps of installing a manufacturing device, for example, leIQ-z vmit (IQ=’installation qualification’): ’to install the manufacturing device in a documented way’; leOQ-z vmit (OQ=’operational qualification’): ’to check whether the device is operable in a documented way’; and PQ-z vmit (PQ=’performance qualification’): ’to check in a documented way whether the device functions in series’.
The fourth group contains neologisms which refer to the act of checking manufacturing processes. This category includes such terms as leverifikál: ’to verify sg in the way that the outcome of the process (e.g. the sizes of a product) can be measured directly’. Another example of this type is levalidál (for validál see Balogh and Földesi 2008: 250): ’to validate sg (e.g. the parameters of the adjustments in the case of a welded coupling) when the outcome of the process cannot be measured or not worth measuring’.
In the fifth group, some neologisms referring to risk assessment can be found. This category covers such items as mitigál: ’to mitigate’ (in the sense of reducing sth), evaluation-t készít: ’evaluate a risk’, and risk assessmentet csinál: ’do an overall risk assessment’.
7. Metonymic and metaphorical relations in the semantic structure of the analysed terms
The next step is to discuss metonymic and metaphorical processes of meaning construal, which can be detected in the semantic structure of the neologisms analysed. The analysis is based on a functional-cognitive frame, in which metonymy and metaphor are understood as processes of mapping between different semantic domains. Thus, metonymy is a process whereby the mapping takes place within the same domain, while in the case of metaphor, the mapping is between two domains, which are semantically further from each other (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Kövecses 2010: 4, 173).
“Metonymy is a cognitive process in which one conceptual entity, the vehicle, provides mental access to another conceptual entity, the target, within the same domain, or ICM” (Kövecses and Radden 1998: 39). As Panther and Thornburg emphasise, “in a linguistically manifest metonymic relation, a source meaning is related to a target meaning by means of a linguistic form (e.g. morpheme, word, phrase, sentence) (…). (…) the metonymic mapping takes place within one cognitive domain (ICM)” (Panther and Thornburg 2004: 96–97). Since Lakoff and Johnson’s book Metaphors We Live By, it has become well-established that conceptual metonymy – just like conceptual metaphor – is an everyday mental operation, which is used not only by poets or writers, but also by ordinary people.
In the case of the technical terms, which are elaborated with the help of a derivational suffix, the root of the new word is typically an English word: usually a verb (e.g. scrap) or an acronym (e.g. PQ, from the technical term performance qualification). When this word becomes a root of a novel Hungarian term, it gets one of the above-mentioned Hungarian suffix, -(V)l or -(V)z, and with its help, it can be fit into the Hungarian verb system, viz. it becomes a Hungarian verb. As demonstrated above, sometimes even a prefix is added to the verb. The novel Hungarian term will still contain the English root, and it is sometimes written in English (e.g. release-el); sometimes it gets the Hungarian spelling (e.g. szkreppel from scrap). Consequently, the English root in the new verb can still be easily detected, which helps language users identify the neologism. If they are familiar with the meaning of the English root, they will recognise the origin and will understand that the new verb, which denotes an action, refers to the meaning of the base. It is worth clarifying the connection of this phenomenon with the notion of metonymy.
In their paper entitled Where does metonymy begin? Some comments on Janda (2011), Brdar and Brdar-Szabó argue that in many cases of suffixation (e.g. in the case of Norwegian baker) “(…), suffixation is misconceived and leads to an overuse of the term ‘metonymy’” (Brdar and Brdar-Szabó 2014: 313). On the contrary, they point out that
(…) metonymy does not come about by joining a base and a suffix – or any meaningful units – on the syntagmatic axis. Rather, (…) metonymies operate on meaningful units, simple or complex; that is, metonymy is a paradigmatic operation. Such a derived word may acquire another sense, just like a morphologically simple word. If this sense is related by contiguity to the original sense we recognize that a metonymic extension has taken place. This new sense may in turn function as a metonymic source for another extension, and so on. (…) All this means that metonymies come in networks, and are organized in sequences with nodes that may branch out at certain points. This is true even if we concentrate on metonymies derived by a single suffix (Brdar and Brdar-Szabó 2014: 334).
This is true for the derived words in the case of the technical terms here considered. These neologisms are examples of the action icm (idealized cognitive model, cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Kövecses and Benczes 2010: 70), or sometimes they refer to places or people.
Here is an example from the collected neologisms: PQ-z (from the root PQ) means ’to check in a documented way whether the device functions in series’. The new Hungarian verb, PQ-z, which depicts the process of performance qualification, refers to the result of the whole process (action) metonymically, which can be read in the root of the neologism. The situation is the same in the case of the other verbs in the data set due to the fact that they refer to different stages of manufacturing.
These processes are typical in the case of an English root + Hungarian derivational morpheme, and in the case of novel verbs, the English roots awaken the notion which refers to a manufacturing stage, and, metonymically, Hungarian verbs are elaborated from these roots. Yet, in the new Hungarian terms the English roots can still be detected; consequently, language users can still recognise the original meaning. With the help of the derivational morphemes -(V)l or -(V)z, a further “step” can be taken towards the metonymic meaning expansion in the case of the novel Hungarian verb.
As for metaphor, Lakoff and Johnson emphasise that “… metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature” (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 3). “The two domains that participate in conceptual metaphor have special names. The conceptual domain from which we draw metaphorical expressions to understand another conceptual domain is called source domain, while the conceptual domain that is understood this way is the target domain. (…) The target domain is the domain that we try to understand through the use of the source domain” (Kövecses 2010: 4). In the set of the terms collected through the questionnaire, two prototypical types of conceptual metaphors or metaphorical expressions can be distinguished.
In the first type, a Hungarian prefix occurs in front of the English root of the new verb, and the prefix refers to a direction originally, e.g. le ’down’ or meg, which means originally ‘back’ (cf. J. Soltész 1959: 29, Tolcsvai Nagy 2013: 197). It is common in these Hungarian prefixes that they have gained metaphorical perfective/completing functions and, consequently, they can refer to the completeness of an action. In the case of these metaphorical meanings, the source domain is the original, ancient meaning of the Hungarian prefix, which refers to a direction (J. Soltész 1959). The original and still existing meaning of le (‘down’), and the ancient meaning of meg (‘back’) used to refer to concrete directions. During the centuries, however, they have gained new, aspectual functions, consequently, they can refer to the completeness of an action. Nevertheless, their new functions are not independent from the ancient meanings, e.g. in the case of meg (originally: ‘back’), the speakers referred to things left behind them, and the situation is similar in the case of le (‘down’): if the speaker put something down (e.g. a concrete object), it was not necessary to carry it anymore. Thus, the ancient, concrete meanings of the prefixes started to serve as source domains for a new aspect, and the new, aspectual meaning (viz. perfectiveness) occurred as the target domain of the metaphorical mapping in the case of these verbal prefixes. During the centuries, these novel functions have grammaticalized (cf. Heine et al. 1991: 98–113), and in the case of novel terms they can reinforce the aspectual meaning.
In the context of quality assurance, these prefixes refer to the completeness of the action in the manufacturing process, e.g. while the verb validál means ‘to validate’, the verb levalidál (lit. ‘validate down’, with the Hungarian prefix le) gains a new meaning: ‘to finish the process of validation’. Some other examples of these types in the questionnaire data are: leIQ-z (‘to finish the installation process of the manufacturing device in a documented way’, from the root IQ ‘installation qualification’), leOQ-z (‘to check completely whether the device is operable in a documented way’, from the root OQ ‘operational qualification’), leverifikál (‘to verify something completely in the way that the outcome of the process [e.g. the sizes of a product] can be measured directly’, from the root verify). There is another example in the corpus for an analogous process with the prefix meg, megreview-z (‘to review something completely’).
In the second type of metaphorical processes in the corpus, a metaphorical word helps elaborate the new technical term, just like in the case of its English equivalent. Usually, longer expressions fall into this category, and an implicit metaphor (where only the source domain of the whole conceptual metaphor can be detected) occurs. Some examples of this type are the following: nyit egy deviation-t ‘to open a deviation’ (where the deviational document is a book metaphor is elaborated); nyit egy NC-t ‘to open a non-conformity’ (this expression refers to products which are put into the database of non-conform products with an identifier, and here the document is a book metaphor can be detected). In these cases, the source domain is a book, as engineers explained: when a deviational document or a non-conformity is detected, they do not only create a new file for it, but a report is usually written or printed. When more reports are filled and signed, they form piles of documents as if they were books.
There are also some expressions with the verbs csinál (‘do/make’) and készít (‘prepare’). They refer to the processes of quality management as if they were three-dimensional products, e.g. food or artefacts. Examples of these types are evaluation-t készít (‘to evaluate a risk’) and risk assessmentet csinál (‘to do an overall risk assessment’).
With the help of these metonymic and metaphorical examples, evidence for metonymic and metaphorical meaning construal can be identified in Hungarian technical terms provided by the informants. In some cases, these semantic structures come into existence on the level of prefixes and suffixes, while in others, on the level of lexemes and phrases. This verifies the first hypothesis of the paper, concerning the presence of metonymic and metaphorical meaning construal.
8. Mental reasons for using neologisms in quality assurance
Another objective in this study was to examine the triggers for using novel technical terms when talking about the process of manufacturing. The informants in this research gave some reasons why they preferred using novel technical terms formed from English roots rather than translating these terms into Hungarian or circumscribing them. Their answers reflect not only the practical reasons for using neologisms in technical languages, but they also reveal language users’ attitudes towards these terms. The question concerning their motivation was the following: “Why do you prefer using those novel technical terms in your work?”
Let us examine some answers provided in the questionnaire:
“It is practical, since everyone in the office knows and understands them.”
“It is much easier to use these words, as it would be hard to circumscribe the processes or steps with Hungarian words exclusively.”
“Even if I create a new ‘Hunglish’ word, which is half-English and half-Hungarian, my colleagues understand it, as they know its equivalent in English.”
“We all learned these English terms at university, and we use them with our foreign business partners.”
Using these novel terms is practical and “handy” for experts. Therefore, they do not feel that these terms are problematic or grammatically incorrect. For those language users who are not experts in the field, these novel morphological formations in everyday language use can sometimes be problematic, as they are half-English and half-Hungarian. People do not always understand them and even if they know the meanings of such novelties, it seems that they often have negative attitudes towards these phenomena: they feel that these words are “false” or “strange” (Sólyom 2014a: 68). This is not, however, a problem for experts of quality assurance because they have learned the English equivalents and use them. Thus, these responses answer the second question of the paper: there is a mental reason (viz. easier and faster understanding) why experts of the field use novel technical terms in technical communication.
It should be added that there might be another, yet socio-linguistically not negligible, reason for the usage of these terms among experts: when using the half-English and half-Hungarian words and expressions, they can seem to be “very competent” in their field and exclude people who are unfamiliar with these technical terms.
The present paper focused on neologisms of one domain of Hungarian technical language, namely the technical language of quality assurance. The data was collected from Hungarian informants with the help of a questionnaire conducted in 2018. The analysis of the terms collected was based on a grammatical and semantic grouping, through which the processes of metonymic and metaphorical meaning construal could be detected and analysed. The empirical research aimed to answer two research questions: different metonymic and metaphorical relations were detected in the technical terms given by engineers, and their motivations for using these neologisms in technical communication were identified.
In the future, research on novel Hungarian technical terms of quality assurance could be broadened in its scope and more grammatical/semantic analyses could be conducted in order to reveal the prototypical groups and examples of such terms, with special regard to metaphors and metonymies. Data gained through questionnaires could be useful, since with their help, the understanding processes and the triggers for creating neologisms in technical languages could further be studied.
Work on this paper was supported by a research grant obtained from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary (The Hungarian Language and Professional Culture. Hungarian Linguistic Research in the Fields of Content Development and Technical Documentation). The author would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on the earlier version of this article.
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Neologisms in Hungarian terms of quality assurance
The paper has focused on new Hungarian terms of quality assurance in a functional-cognitive frame. Neologisms given by Hungarian quality engineers in a questionnaire in 2018 have been analysed, based on their grammatical and semantic features. What is common in these terms is that they either have English roots and are derived from these roots in order to create novel Hungarian technical terms, or they are longer Hungarian expressions, which contain English words.
Although the importance of unambiguous terms in scientific communication is often emphasised (Temmerman 2002: 211), it has become clear that the presence of conceptual metaphors and metonymies (Lakoff–Johnson 1980, Panther–Thornburg 2003, Kövecses 2015) play an important role in meaning construal and foster understanding processes in technical languages. The author’s research (e.g. Sólyom 2014a, b, 2016) has already revealed that the presence of metonymies and metaphors has a significant impact on the process of meaning construal in the case of everyday neologisms.
This paper establishes that this is also true for the novel Hungarian terms of quality assurance. Consequently, various metonymic and metaphorical semantic structures have been detected in these terms. To prove this hypothesis, examples from the questionnaire in 2018 have been shown and analysed morphologically and semantically. Special attention was paid to the semantics of grammatical processes, e.g. derivation, since many of the analysed terms are Hungarian verbs derived from English roots with the help of the productive Hungarian derivational morphemes -(V)z or -(V)l. Another crucial point was the semantics of Hungarian prefixes in these terms, since with the help of prefixes, perfectness and completeness can be emphasised.
The second question of the paper was whether there is a reason for the fact that although there could be everyday (colloquial) Hungarian words and expressions for circumscribing the processes of manufacturing, experts in the field do not use them, but prefer to elaborate neologisms from English roots instead. To prove this hypothesis, the paper investigated informants’ answers, concerning the use of the technical terms analysed. During the analysis, it has become clear that by using the neologisms, experts in the field can distinguish technical terms from everyday expressions.
Submitted December 2019