Terms in context: A corpus-based analysis of the terminology of the European Union's development cooperation policy

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Published May 31, 2017
Judith Kast-Aigner


This paper is concerned with the terminology the European Union (EU) has created and used with regard to its development cooperation policy during its existence. The idea of
fostering the development of less privileged countries by means of preferential trade agreements and financial aid was already incorporated in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, making development cooperation one of the Union’s oldest policy areas. Both the concrete concepts and the respective terms applied have been subject to continuous change, the more so as they were strongly influenced by the political and economic situation at the time. The purpose of the paper is to illustrate how tools and techniques developed in corpus linguistics can assist terminologists in compiling terminological information. It presents some of the results of a detailed diachronic study of the English terminology of the EU’s development cooperation policy, aiming to describe the conceptual and terminological changes in this field over time. The analysis is based on a corpus of EU texts and supported by linguistic software, viz. WordSmith Tools. The generation of key words and word clusters is complemented by the establishment of terminological domains, which represents a helpful way of structuring the terms, thus facilitating the identification of the main topics of the underlying texts. The use of corpora in terminology opens up the possibility to gather both conceptual and linguistic as well as usage information about the terminological units. It also allows the analysis of concordances that can help to reveal ideological aspects of the terminology involved. The findings may contribute to the knowledge and understanding of European development cooperation among professionals in European and national bodies as well as scholars and teachers in the field of development cooperation.

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Kast-Aigner, Judith. 2017. “Terms in Context: A Corpus-Based Analysis of the Terminology of the European Union’s Development Cooperation Policy”. Fachsprache 31 (3-4):139-52. https://doi.org/10.24989/fs.v31i3-4.1415.
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