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of L'viv Polytechnic National University

"Problems of Ukrainian Terminology"


Lagdan S. Somatic metaphor in railway terminology //  Website of TC STTS: Herald of L'viv Polynechnic National University "Problems of Ukrainian Terminology". 2014. # 791.


Svetlana Lagdan

Dnipropetrovsk National University of Railway Transport named after V. Lazaryan




Lagdan S. P., 2014


The article deals with the problem of metaphorical term formation in the field of railway industry based on somatic vocabulary and describes lexical and semantic features of metaphorical terms. The term serves as a nominative unit of cognitive activity, the process of its creation being a mechanism of comparing a sign of the general language with a special scientific sign and the human him-/herself performing the role of this sign.

Keywords: Ukrainian language, railway terminology, somatic metaphor, metaphorization.


The article deals with the problem of metaphoric terminology in the field of railway industry that is based on somatic vocabulary and describes the lexical and semantic features of metaphorical terms. The term serves as a nominative unit of cognitive activity. The process of its creation is as a mechanism of comparing the sign of the general language with that of special scientific one. This sign is actually a man with his physical, mental, psychomotor and social features.

For metaphorical transfer the person as the expert applies the most well-known concepts and objects of the community. The names of the parts and organs of the human body compose the somatic vocabulary on the basis of which the terms are formed by means of metaphorization. Somatism is the part of anthropomorphic metaphor.

Depending on the object, somatisms are divided into somonimic (names of parts of the human body), osteonimic (the words that describe the bones of the human body), splanhnonimic (names of internal parts of a body), anhionimic (words denoting bodys circulatory system), and sensonimic (names of the human senses).

The largest group among railway somatisms is composed by somonimic and osteonimic metaphorical formations, because the bases for metaphorization are the most famous characters of the human body, the names of which have ancient origin. This suggests that the new metaphorical meanings are developed primarily in words with specifically-subject correlation, so most of the railway somatisms are the names of elements, machines, mechanisms, devices, instruments, etc. Just some of the terms refer to specific concepts or phenomena.

The frequently used terms are somonimic lexical items and their derivatives like cap piece, coupler guard arm, head, spigot shaft, haul, cog-tooth, axial pin, angle fitting, heel. For example: rack head, air drag, web of rail, locomotive run, one shoulder section, knuckle of coupling, dog clutch, mounting pin of paddle cross bar of flat wagon, crankshaft, heel ball, center plate of car frame.

The most frequently used osteonimic lexical items include such words as jaw and tooth, for example: grab jaw, axle equipment of jaw type, ant creep device, driving gear. As a part of terms also are used such lexical items of osteonomic semantics as ribs, spine and skeleton: truss plate, slab type superstructure, spin watershed, center sill of car frame, soil skeleton, skeleton diagram. The lexical item the bone was changed into crutch, for example: the main crutch, spike fastening rails to sleepers.

The lexical items of other groups of somatic in the field of railway terminology are not numerous. The splanchnonimic group consists of such lexical units as throat and pharynx: frog throat, yard neck, coupling jaws. The group of anchionimic lexical items includes such words as heart and strand. They are derived into compound terns end of frog, cable stranded. Lexical items of sensonimic lexis are the following: eye, tongue, and nose, for example: cheek of locking bar of the wagon, tongue shift, placing spike towards the rails nose.

The reason for the metaphoric transformations of primary meanings of somatics in railway vocabulary is mostly formal resemblance namely in shape and location, the nature of the structure, the principle of functional features. The metaphor does not simply emphasize a feature or similar characteristic of the subject but it highlights the strongest characteristic that is generalized. The most common ways of metaphorization are suffixal, prefixal-suffixal and root-and-pattern derivation.



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