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Creating medical terminology: from Latin and Greek influence to the influence of English as the current lingua franca of medical communication

Katja Dobrić orcid id ; Department of Foreign languages at the Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka, Croatia

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The language of medicine is a broad research field, so broad that there ought to be a special field of linguistics called medical linguistics. its development, especially the development of medical terminology, is interesting both to medical historians and to linguists.
Hippocratic writings dating from the 5th and the 4th century Bc contain many medical terms which were the foundation of the language of medicine in the greek era. At the beginning of
the first century ad greek medical terminology was latinized and stomachos (gr.) turned into stomachus (latin). This started the era of medical latin. This latin still contained numerous greek terms, which resulted in a mixture of latin and greek terms and prefixes and suffixes thereof.
In the past medical terminology was borrowed from greek and latin but, today, with english becoming the language of international medical conferences, medical terms are often composed of words borrowed from english e.g. bypass or screening, these being terms accepted both in german and croatian. The latter, however, tends to use the croatian equivalents for the above mentioned terms.
two attempts will be emphasized in this paper in order to illustrate the methods used in importing and creating new terms for medical concepts. The status of greeek and latin medical terms in national languages will be briefly outlined. Special emphasis will be put on english terms in both german and croatian languages of medicine.


borrowing; Croatian; English; German; Latin and Greek words; medical terminology; terminological principles

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