Terminology Evolution and Translation: Specificity of Referent & User’s Epistemic Continuum Exemplified in Islamic Terms

Omar A. S. Al-Shabab, Farida H. Baka


In the dynamics of environmental context, the referent of a linguistic sign changes, but the sign persists as a verbal symbol. Since a technical term strictly evokes one referent, it may lack in specificity due to the ever-changing reality, resulting in homonymy, overlap, and a semantic continuum based on designating by necessity. In addition to the elements of reference theory, the criteria for technical terms postulate the user, whose authority and responsibility are necessary for the term to function as a specific designator. The centrality of the user, translator or otherwise, has hermeneutic and linguistic implications for the evolution of terminology, because it stipulates that terminological meaning and usage are dependent on the user’s conscious knowledge, a condition that leads to the recognition of a user epistemic continuum parallel to the semantic necessity continuum. Ideally, a term should be universally specific in reference, and its user should be epistemologically empowered and ethically responsible. 


Terminology, technical terms, Translation, Islamic terminology, semantic continuum

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.1p.94


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