The Paradigmatic Relationships between Business Terms (Words)

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The Paradigmatic Relationships between Business Terms (Words)

Analyzing Business vocabulary into four strata, outlining their boundaries and explaining their relevance to business communication is the first step in the study of underlying inherent diversity. The next strep focuses on the associative – paradigmatic - relations between different words. General Business English terminology, for example, displays a wealth of paradigmatic connections. Some of the terms are related to each other as derivatives(производные): agent and agency; competition and competitiveness. Some other terms are associated as general with particular: brokerstockbroker, insurance broker, shipbroker; assetsfixed assets, liquid assets, etc. In a number of cases, the opposition is based on antonymy: assets – liabilities; going public – going private.

It is essential to know the difference in meaning between the terms associated paradigmatically. The following four business terms advertising, publicity, marketing, and public relations often function side by side, but, as shown in Longman Business English Usage thaey are not the same and should be kept apart:

1. Advertising means making product or service known to the public (through the press, television, cinema etc.) in order to sell it.

2. Publicity involves attracting the public’s attention but not necessary to sell anything specific.

3. Marketing involves all the activities intended to stimulate demand for product and services, e.g. advertising, sales promotion, branding, consumer tests, market surveys and so on.

4. Public relations have been defined as the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics’. Although it is a part of marketing and promotion, PR has no direct involving in selling. Its function is to build up good image and reputation, to show that the firm is socially aware and has the public interest at heart.

On several occasions the paradigmatic connections between business terms were used to present business vocabulary as “set of related lexemes”. In his Key Words in Business Bill Mascull suggested six main subject areas:

What is business are you in?

People and organizations.

Research, development, and production.

Products, markets, and marketing.

The bottom line.

Towards the feelgood factor.

They were then subdivided into a sequence of topic sections. For example, What business are you in?consists of twelve sections:

Business and businesses.

From multinationals to small firms.

Public sector and private.


Parents and sisters.

Launching a bid.

Predators, raiders, and white knights.

Leveraged buy-outs and junk bonds.

Joint ventures and alliances.



Management buy-out.

Each topic section covered high-frequency words and business terms. For example, Business and businesses listed the following terms: business, company, firm, concern, enterprise, free enterprise, private enterprise, commerce, commercial etc.

In his new book Business Vocabulary in Use (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Bill Mascull made another attempt at systematizing and structuring essential business vocabulary. The thematic classification of business terms is presented in 40 units. Generally Bill Mascull’s books presented a wide range of paradigmatic connections and associations between business terms. It should be noted, however, that none of the classifications, however, exhaustive, can reflect and present the whole of business vocabulary. Inherent diversity puts up resistance to any attempt on the part of applied linguistics to squeeze it into the confined net lists, thematic divisions and lexical inventories. There will also be a certain amount of discrepancy and difference between various classifications of business vocabulary. One will also find words and terms that are used in business-related books and settings but are not listed in either dictionaries or glossaries of business terms.

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