Linguistics Research - Human Language, Phonetics, Syntax, Phonology

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The vocabulary of anglophone psychology in the context of other subjects.

Benjafield JG

Department of Psychology, Brock University, Canada. john.benjafield@brocku.ca

Anglophone psychology shares its vocabulary with several other subjects. Some of the more obvious subjects that have parts of their vocabulary in common with Anglophone psychology include biology (e.g., dominance), chemistry (e.g., isomorphism), philosophy (e.g., phenomenology), and theology (e.g., mediator). Using data from the Oxford English Dictionary as well as other sources, the present study explored the history of these common vocabularies, with a view to broadening our understanding of the relation between the history of psychology and the histories of other subjects. It turns out that there are at least 156 different subjects that share words with psychology. Those that have the most words in common with psychology are mathematics, biology, physics, medicine, chemistry, philosophy, law, music, linguistics, electricity, pathology, and computing. Words that have senses in other subjects and have their origins in ordinary language are used more frequently as PsycINFO keywords than words that were invented specifically for use in psychology. These and other results are interpreted in terms of the ordinary language roots of the vocabulary of Anglophone psychology and other subjects, the degree to which operational definitions have determined the meaning of the psychological senses of words, the role of the psychologist in interdisciplinary research, and the validity of psychological essentialism.

Published 20 February 2013 in Hist Psychol, 16(1): 36-56.
Full-text of this article is available online (may require subscription).


Articles on Linguistics published 20 February 2013:

New insights into the classification and nomenclature of cortical GABAergic interneurons.   Nat Rev Neurosci, 14(3): 202-16.

A systematic classification and accepted nomenclature of neuron types is much needed but is currently lacking. This article describes a possible taxonomical solution for classifying GABAergic interneurons of the cerebral cortex based on a novel, web-based interactive system that allows experts to classify neurons with pre-determined criteria. Using Bayesian analysis and clustering algorithms on the resulting data, we investigated the suitability of several anatomical terms and neuron names for ... [Abstract] [Full-text]


Articles on Linguistics published 6 February 2013:

Revisiting liver anatomy and terminology of hepatectomies.   Ann Surg, 257(3): 383-6.

[Abstract] [Full-text]

Use and dissemination of the brisbane 2000 nomenclature of liver anatomy and resections.   Ann Surg, 257(3): 377-82.

[Abstract] [Full-text]


Articles on Linguistics published 4 February 2013:

OCT1 identity crisis.   Gene, 516(1): 190-1.

"OCT1" is used in the literature to describe two distinct genes and their resulting proteins, namely organic cation transporter 1 (encoded by SLC22A1) and octamer binding transcription factor 1 (encoded by POU2F1). The interchangeable use of "OCT1" is misleading and could result in erroneous research data. [Abstract] [Full-text]


Articles on Linguistics published 1 February 2013:

Task complexity, student perceptions of vocabulary learning in EFL, and task performance.   Br J Educ Psychol, 83: 160-81.

[Abstract] [Full-text]


Articles on Linguistics published 25 January 2013:

Can we name Earth's species before they go extinct?   Science, 339(6118): 413-6.

Some people despair that most species will go extinct before they are discovered. However, such worries result from overestimates of how many species may exist, beliefs that the expertise to describe species is decreasing, and alarmist estimates of extinction rates. We argue that the number of species on Earth today is 5 ± 3 million, of which 1.5 million are named. New databases show that there are more taxonomists describing species than ever before, and their number is increasing faster than ... [Abstract] [Full-text]


Articles on Linguistics published 18 January 2013:

Identifying personal genomes by surname inference.   Science, 339(6117): 321-4.

Sharing sequencing data sets without identifiers has become a common practice in genomics. Here, we report that surnames can be recovered from personal genomes by profiling short tandem repeats on the Y chromosome (Y-STRs) and querying recreational genetic genealogy databases. We show that a combination of a surname with other types of metadata, such as age and state, can be used to triangulate the identity of the target. A key feature of this technique is that it entirely relies on free, ... [Abstract] [Full-text]

On the use of elevation, altitude, and height in the ecological and climatological literature.   Oecologia, 171(2): 335-7.

Effective communication regarding distance in the vertical dimension is critical for many ecological, climatological and broader geophysical studies of the Earth. Confusion exists regarding the definition of three English words commonly used to describe the vertical dimension: (1) elevation; (2) altitude; and (3) height. While used interchangeably in "everyday" non-technical English, here we provide explicit definitions and strongly recommend their use in scientific literature. We ... [Abstract] [Full-text]


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