Ingvild Roald



Research Fellow
University of Bergen

Employed by
Vestlandet Resource
Center for Deaf Education,
Bergen, Norway

When the first classes of Norwegian Deaf students in Upper Secondary School took physics as their major,no terminology for the more advanced physical concepts existed in Norwegian Sign Language (NSL). This is a description of the process to arrive at a working terminology. The considerations that were taken into account are discussed. Some examples of the resulting terminology are given in the text. A dictionary of the terms is attached.


Languages in different forms and for different uses

Our everyday world we know about, and we can talk about it in everyday words. Where these words came from is a philological question and will not be dealt with here.

But we all know that new words emerge, out of various subcultures like the teenagers, or out of the need of a group to talk about new things. Computer words are new in all languages, as computers are a new phenomenon. When words for such new concepts are developed in one language, they often will drift over to other languages. This is a phenomenon we see quite clearly today in the computer related words used in Norway, which most often are the English words with a more-or-less Norwegian pronunciation. But attempts have been made to make Norwegian terms for these words, and some of these are in use. ­ When Norway struck oil in the early 1970s, there was no terminology available in Norwegian for the technology. A project was set up to develop this terminology, and to make it as easily understandable and as Norwegian as possible (Rangnes 1996). That this is a phenomenon that occurs regularly is seen in this quotation from Pitch and Draskau (1985) p. 17:

 'Normally, LSP {=Language for Special Purposes} planning is directed towards the development of terminologies which do not yet exist in the language in question, for example many African and other languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, etc., need to develop terminologies in order to be able to communicate in their own language within a special field of knowledge.'