Research article
Issue: № 12 (31), 2014

Николаева О.С.¹, Бурунский В.М.²

1Кандидат педагогических наук, Юго-Западный государственный университет 2Кандидат филологических наук, Курский государственный университет



В данной статье рассматриваются характеристики современных терминосистем. Особое внимание уделяется этимологии юридической терминологии и терминологии гостиничного бизнеса.

Ключевые слова: термин, терминосистема, этимология.

Nickolaeva O.S.1, Burunskiy V.M.2

1Candidste of Education, South-West State University 2Candidate of Phylology, Kursk State University



The article considers the characteristics of the modern term systems. A special attention is drawn to the terminology of law and hotel business term systems.

Keywords: term, term system, etymology.

In the modern world which trends to globalization nearly all the people running a business, having foreign partners or just enjoying their holidays in the seaside abroad try their best to study English, to be able to negotiate, write business letters or at least to order meals or go shopping without feeling uneasy. So it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that English is becoming more and more popular and the number of people studying it as a foreign language increases day by day. At the same time Latin regarded as a “dead” language is becoming less and less popular and it’s nearly impossible to find a person nowadays who can at least translate Latin text or knows any Latin words. Thus we study English, use English words but sometimes we don’t really understand their real meaning or don’t know the difference between two synonyms. Actually in every day life it shouldn’t turn down to be a great problem. But when for some reason we deal with terms we have to be aware of its exact meaning in order to make yourself clear and not to find yourself in an awkward situation.

But what do we really mean by “term” and how do we differentiate whether this word or term or not. Nowadays there is no general definition of the “term”. Actually the “term” is being studied by several sciences at a time that it’s being described from different points of view. Thus linguists  tend to regard all the borrowed words as terms as the differ from original words of common usage [Суперанская, Подольская, Васильева 2007: 11] as long as sociologists make a suggestion that every specific. Following A. Superanskaya, N. Podolskaya and N. Vasilyeva we’ll define “term” as a word definition of a notion being a part of a professional field of knowledge notion system.  [1].Terms exist in term systems.

 «Term system is a sign model of a certain theory of special field of knowledge or activity; lexical units (words and phrases) of a certain language for the special purposes of any natural language act as elements of a term system, and the structure in general is adequate to structure of a concepts system of this theory"  [2].

So we can conclude that every science has its own term system. But how did they appear and where did they come from. As far as the origin of term systems is concerned we can’t overestimate the importance of the Latin language. Nowadays  terms of the Latin origin are used in legal system, medical science, linguistics and others in the most part of the Roman, German and Slavic languages. Roman law played an important role in formation of the legal terms. It hasn’t influenced  only the vocabulary of the law but also the stylistic peculiarities  of the modern legal language.

A great number of the Latin terms are used in the original form in English, French and Russian: a prima facie, ad hoc, inter alia, per se, pro et contra, res judicata, habeas corpus, sui generis, in camera, et al. и др. The most part of the original Latin legal terms are international. They are used in Russian, English and French having similar spelling and pronunciation.

Such English legal terms as “lawyer, attorney, solicitor, barrister” are used as synonyms in English at the same time each of them having its own narrow and very precise meaning. The term “solicitor” has a Latin origin. it was derived from “sollicitus"agitated," meaning “excited”; from  sollus” "whole, entire" citus” "aroused," from ciere” "shake, excite, set in motion" .In modern English “solicitor”means “preparing case for a barrister and  dealing only with courts of  lowest instance».Thus the meaning of the term in the modern language is connected with the meaning of its etymon as a “solicitor” is a person who sets the affair in motion dealing with it from the very beginning. The term “attorney” is one of the Roman law terms derived from the Latin “atturnatus” which meaning hasn’t changed a lot as the time has passed. The Latin synonym has the meaning  «assistant, attorney holder, agent» and the modern term is translated «attorney-in-law,  delegate, lawyer». The term “barrister” was derived from the Latin “bar”, which beginning with XIV century was the synonym to the word “court” And the term “barrister” itself meant “a law student who was invited to the court”. Nowadays this term has a meaning «a lawyer entitled to argue before the Supreme Court».

Thus the term systems of different fields have Latin origin. As a matter of fact not only medical and legal terms were borrowed from Latin under the influence of a number of historical facts and were being created during long periods of time.

 Despite of the fact that nowadays Latin is regarded as a “dead” language” we can’t overestimate its influence on the formation of the “modern term systems such as those of computer science and hotel business. And first of all it’s true for terms describing types of the rooms such as “single”, “double” and “triple”. “Single” was derived from the Latin “singulus” – “one, separate” meaning “a room for one person”; “double” came from Latin “duplus”  - “consisting of two parts” and it has the meaning of “a room for two people” as long as “triple” from Latin “triplus” – “consisting of three parts” describes a room where three people can stay.

The meal option “all inclusive” which is very popular in the Egyptian and Turkish hotels and familiar to practically every Russian tourist also has a Latin origin. The term “inclusive” was derived from the Latin verb “includere” – “surround, enclose, insert”. And nowadays in hotels it means that all local drinks and buffet three or even four times a day are included in the booking price. The French expression “à la carte” which was borrowed in its original form to nearly all the modern languages has the meaning of a restaurant situated inside the hotel territory where guests order meals according to the menu and the dishes are served by a waiter in contrast to a buffet with a  self-service system. The word “carte” was derived from the Latin “charta” meaning a piece of paper. Thus a piece of paper has an analogy with a menu which is a list of offered dishes printed on a piece of paper.

Even the term “hotel” was derived from the Latin “hospitale” meaning an inn. Though nowadays the original meaning was changed and now the terms “hotel” and “inn” are synonyms but are used to describe different types of places where people can stay for a night or for vacation. And the term “hospitality” was also borrowed from the Latin  “hospitalitem” meaning friendliness towards guests so we can conclude that its modern meaning hasn’t changed a lot from the original one. In order to describe the level of the hotel the stars are used. So  along with one-, two-. three-, four- or five star hotels offered for vacation nowadays appeared seven-star hotels which are also called by a Latin word “lux” meaning “light”. These types of  hotels offer their guests extra service such as golf clubs, water parks with numerous water slides and even yacht clubs without leaving a hotel. There also exist “apart-hotels”. This term was derived from the English word “apartment” meaning “flat”. The word apartment was derived from the Latin “partem” meaning “part”. And the modern meaning is based on its original one. As a rule “apart-hotels” consist of two-four storied buildings with a common territory  and a swimming pool or one multi-storied building with a swimming pool downstairs. Thus every guest of such a hotel has a part of a hotel for use.

Thus we should admit that a great part of the modern hotel business terms have a Latin origin. Nowadays hotels and tour operator web sites all over the world  use English terms of the Latin origin  to describe their services and facilities. Usually these terms have equivalents in French, Russian or German but their English variants being shorter more precise and widespread are more commonly used.

Drawing a conclusion we’d like to say that Latin being even a “dead” language still has a great influence on our modern professional and every day language. Unfortunately only a little part of students nowadays studies Latin at universities though not so long ago all the educated people were supposed to know it. A great part of the modern vocabulary of English, French, Russian and other languages has a Latin origin. Knowledge of the etymology of the words used, comprehension of the terms borrowed from Latin would do our language more laconic, precise and accurate.


  1. Superanskaya A.V., Podolskaya N.V., Vasilyieva N.V. General Terminology: Theoretical Questions // LKI, 2007. P. 14.
  2. Leichik V.M. Terminology: Object, Methods, Structure // KomKniga, 2006. P. 129.