Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What is Terminology?

All fields of study have their own set of terminologies, jargons, and technical words or phrase that no one seems to fully understand. In many cases, any particular terminology is used to describe and represent a rather lengthy definition of an occurrence, situation, condition, mechanism, or object which otherwise requires an entirely different page or even book to explain.

Terminology Word Cloud
Apparently it is difficult to make a word-cloud, so there you go
A terminology, therefore, ideally makes a writing or report more concise. On the other hand, it does not seem fair to justify the use of jargons for a piece of writing or statements addressed to public. The main reason is that some terminologies only apply and are useful for specific group of people.

When doctors start to use medical terminologies that their patients have never heard before, it would make the explanation quite ambiguous attached with an uncertain nature. Patients are not doctors, so both of them must share “common language” in order to communicate effectively and come up with understandable solution for the patients’ underlying health condition. The same thing can be said to many other branches of knowledge that we often encounter in everyday life for examples electricity, computers, trades, legal issues, biology, physics, carpentry, and so on.

One of the most acceptable exceptions is in school hours. Students hear many new jargons, or at least those that the students think are new, on daily basis. Biggest difference is that the teachers – in this case the speakers – are bound by professional obligation to explain the meaning of the terminologies to their pupils. As a matter of fact, teachers can spend many hours to help students understand a single terminology alone. The purpose is to get rid of confusions among students anytime the same jargon is used again under different subject both inside and outside of school environments.

During conversational situation, however, jargons are rarely described by the speakers under the assumptions that the listeners understand the subject as well. It only makes sense in case the conversation happens among people of the same academic group for examples when physicians discuss atomic structure with other physicians or people of relating fields of study. Assuming the discussion happen between an educated scientist and a young student, there is very good chance that the student is left in the dark. As a result, the discussion has no apparent answer to questions.

Terminology is a science in itself with the sole purpose of studying terms. Human is very good at it. Our ancestors came up with new word to describe things that we all agree to use now. Let me give you one example:

There is no clear reason why a table is called a table. What we now understand is that it is some kind of platform on which we put down some things such as a pencil, a phone, an ashtray, candles, and all other things so you can have easy access to them. We also agree, at least in our mind, that a table has a flat surface, four legs, and it must be sturdy enough to support the weights of many things on it. As design and creativity develops, you can actually make a table with only three legs or make the surface rather rough too. As long as it looks like a table and serves the function of a table, no one will blame you for calling it simply as “a table”.

People grow smarter and things become more complicated to explain; soon enough, your daily conversation will be sprinkled with too many jargons that long ago would not be understandable. As people are becoming more familiar with every new terminology, communication also becomes easier, hopefully.