English Medical Vocabulary in Ophthalmology
a Historical Review
María José Esteve Ramos
Universidad de La Rioja
The study of scientific language and literature has been a major trend within the wider field of English studies, and a lot of research has focused on the study of its lexicon in each period from a synchronic perspective.
However, a diachronic review of a specific field of science had only been undertaken in specific periods of the language, and not much attention had been paid to the evolution of a subspecialty from its early origin to our present day use. This work attempts a study of the lexicon referred to anatomy and disease terms from a morphological and etymological point of view. Results suggest that the presence of the native lexicon may be higher than expected, and that the language of ophthalmology presents its own characteristics since as early as Old English, defining the specialised area with a terminology of its own, a version of what is nowadays called ESP.
Seven texts, each of them belonging to the main periods of the language, have been selected in order to extract the data. Interesting conclusions regarding the composition of medical vocabulary proof that the historical perspective enhances and implements the modern idea of the Latinate predominance in this area.
ISBN 9783895860232. LINCOM Studies in English Linguistics 13. 306pp. 2008.