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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934


NAZAR, Rogelio. Diachronic study of specialized terminolgy using quantitative methods: Example with an application to a corpus of papers on Applied Linguistics. Rev. signos [online]. 2011, vol.44, n.75, pp.48-67. ISSN 0718-0934.

This paper presents a methodology for analyzing the evolution of the terminology used in a specialized domain. Such terminology is measured according to its variation in the frequency of use, as well as the appearance and disappearance of the terms. As an example, the paper reports the results of the application of this methodology to a corpus made up of the 1983-2006 Spanish Association of Applied Linguistics proceedings. The methodology can be summarized in a quantitative and language-independent algorithm that accepts a set of text documents organized by years as input and offers a selection of terms as output by calculating their frequency distribution over time. The geometrical properties of the curves representing the frequency of use of the terminological units help to automatically identify those which come into use and those no longer in use. Metaphorically, the paper offers a kind of radiology of the paradigm shifts that occur in the history of the field as well as a neology and an archeology of its terminology, revealing terms that would be otherwise hard to find due to the scale of the corpus. The specific objective of this paper is to propose an alternative to other methods which only consider curves of frequency distribution of units in the time line arbitrarily selected by a user. This paper offers a new view because it is the reverse procedure: instead of introducing lexical units to study their frequency curves, the curves to obtain the units are introduced. The usefulness of these sets of units may vary according to the needs. For instance, the creation of glossaries of different types (hard copy or electronic format) may require a nomenclature that includes only the terminology firmly established in the literature or, in other cases, neologisms or terms no longer in use.

Palabras clave : Terminology extraction; corpus statistics; quantitative linguistics.

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