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Chemical morphology
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The terminology of chemical compounds (such as natriumchloridesodium chloride, NaCl, kaliumchromaatpotassium chromate, K2CrO4, N-acetyl-p-aminophenolparacetamol) is a field in its own right, with a large terminological component - there are official guidelines for its nomenclature. From a language system perspective, chemical terminology can be seen as a mix of (neo-classical) derivation and (neo-classical) compounding, with a great number of internationalisms (De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 2.3.41, 273 vv). Remnants of older naming systems such as natronloogcaustic soda, NaOH and zuiveringszoutsodium hydrogen carbonate, baking soda, NaHCO3 belong to the realm of lexicography.

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Chemistry has an extensive vocabulary and a significant amount of jargon, much of it derived directly or indirectly from Latin or Ancient Greek. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is responsible for the international standardization of nomenclature in chemistry (Anstein 2006). From a linguistic perspective, the terminology of chemical compounds can be seen as using both derivation and compounding. For example, zuurstofoxygen in its (simplest) bound form is called oxideoxide, waterstofhydrogen in its (simplest) bound form is called hydridehydride. Both in oxide[ɔk.ˈsi.də] and hydride[hi.ˈdri.də] the suffix -ide can be recognized. A simple chemical compound, then, is described by means of a morphological compound: waterwater (H20) can be called both waterstofoxidehydrogen oxide and (less common) zuurstofhydrideoxygen hydride. To denote structural variants, prefixes such as iso- are used as well: both isopropylalcoholisopropyl alcohol and propanolpropanol have the molecular formula C3H7OH, but the structure of the molecules is different.

A domain-specific property of chemical compounds is that the terms can be adorned with diacritics for disambiguation purposes. Cf., e.g., ijzer(III)chloride[εɪ.zər.ˈdri.χlɔ.ri.də]FeCl3, iron(III)chloride, ferric chloride, ijzer(II)chloride[εɪ.zər.ˈtwe.χlɔ.ri.də]FeCl2, iron(II)chloride, ferrous chloride and N-acetyl-p-aminophenolparacetamol.

The table below (after De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 274) lists some common chemical suffixes:

Table 1
suffix meaning/use examples
-aan to denote saturated carbohydrates butaanbutane, C4H10
-aat to denote salts of certain acids natriumsulfaatsodium sulfate, Na2SO4
-ase to denote enzymes maltasean enzyme that breaks down the disaccharide maltose
-een to denote unsaturated carbohydrates benzeenbenzene, C6H6
-ide to denote simple ions fluoridefluoride
-iet to denote salts of certain acids natriumsulfietsodium sulfite, Na2SO3
-ine to denote certain psycho-active compounds heroïneheroin
-ium to denote chemical elements kaliumpotassium
-ol to denote alcohol-like substances isopropanol2-methylpropan-1-ol, (CH3)2CHCH2OH
Most suffixes make neuter nouns, selecting the singular definite article het.

References:
  • Anstein, Stefanie, Kremer, Gerhard & Reyle, Uwe2006Identifying and Classifying Terms in the Life Sciences: The Case of Chemical TerminologyCalzolari, Nicoletta and Choukri, Khalid and Gangemi, Aldo and Maegaard, Bente and Mariani, Joseph and Odijk, Jan and Tapias, Daniel (ed.)Proceedings of the Fifth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2006)Genoa, Italy1095-1098
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
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