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A technical language , also known as technolect , is the language that applies to a specific subject or industry. A language that “differs from the common language primarily through technical terms ” is also called this. The technical languages ​​together with the common language , dialects and regional varieties form the overall language.

The technical languages ​​build on the common language and are in an interrelation with it. To jargon are characteristic especially technical terms and foreign words , the technical vocabulary . It is very uncommon outside of the subject area or individual words have a different meaning in it than common language. Grammar and intonation can also differ.

A distinction is made between the special languages and the so-called jargons as languages ​​of certain social or professional groups. As jargon, the technical language becomes technical jargon or distant, but still respectfully to technical Latin and somewhat pejorative to technical jargon .


Technical languages ​​belong to the standardized language varieties . They also have the function of group languages and colloquial languages ​​of the respective specialists, but differ from the other non-standardized group and colloquial languages ​​due to the standardization mentioned.

The extensive standardization is now primarily intended to lead to writing that is suitable for translation . Such technical languages ​​are also known as controlled languages .

Technical jargon has two functions from a sociolinguistic point of view. On the one hand, it precisely describes internal theoretical facts in order to be able to communicate about them. Second, it can convey a sense of togetherness for the group.

A single technical term in a technical language is also called a terminus technicus or a term for short. The entirety of all terms in a field forms a terminology . Terminology can, for example , be formulated in a dictionary , glossary or thesaurus .

Many terms and technical languages ​​are rapidly evolving due to advances in science. The use of language in various disciplines is also changing because more and more technical terms - especially English - are being used.

Experts of a particular subject area are not properly understood by lay people, which is why their art as jargon or as jargon is called. "Chinese" stands for "incomprehensible". A weakened variant of this is technical Latin - usually not meant in a derogatory way, but a mixture of distanced and respectful connotations . The origin of the term is that in the European Middle Ages the scholars of all European universities wrote and discussed in Latin. Latin as a language of science has been retained in terminology in botany and medicine to this day . Numerous Latin expressions are also still in use in the humanities .

Translation of technical terms

As desirable as the translation of technical terms into an understandable language is, it also harbors dangers. Werner Schäfke wrote this clearly in his book about the English cathedrals:

" Glossary : The annoying attempt to translate the technical jargon, which the author is too familiar with, laboriously into (un) understandable High German, whereby the translation, as with the ferry across the canal, involves the risk of seasickness and loss of luggage."

On the other hand, the "general understanding" of the content, which is (should) be expressed using technical language, is mostly in the interests of scientists, authors and publicists. This does not apply to those who consciously want to distance themselves from general society (“ ivory tower ”) or who use esoteric choice of words to spread a pseudo doctrine or try to preserve a secret doctrine.


Some technical languages ​​stand out particularly clearly from everyday language. Examples for this are:

Some technical terms mainly come from certain languages, for example

Related terms

A nomenclature is a special case of terminology in which the naming of objects in a certain subject area is determined by guidelines (for example the nomenclature of living things in biology or the nomenclature of chemical compounds ).

As vocabulary , vocabulary or lexicon to mean all words , which a person is powerful or to a specific language are.

Terminology refers to the totality of all terms and designations (terms) in a technical language, or the technical language itself. DIN 2342 specifies more detailed definitions of the terminology.

See also


  • DIN 2342-1: Terms in terminology; Basic concepts .
  • Hans-R. Fluck: Technical languages . A. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, ISBN 3-7720-1294-9 .
  • Fritz Clemens Werner: Word elements of Latin-Greek technical terms in the biological sciences . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt / Main 1997, ISBN 3-518-36564-9 .
  • Thorsten Roelcke: Technical languages . Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-503-07938-6 .
  • Gerold Schmidt: Language change and new language formation through the unification of Europe . In: mother tongue. Journal for the maintenance and research of the German language. Wiesbaden, 84th year 1974, pp. 409-419.
  • Peter Dilg, Guido Jüttner: Pharmaceutical terminology. The technical language of the pharmacist. Frankfurt am Main 1972.
  • Alfred Schirmer: Dictionary of the German business language on historical bases, with a systematic introduction . Publisher by Karl J. Trübner, Strasbourg 1911, p. 218 ( archive.org ).
  • Technical language - International Journal of Specialized Communication . facultas.wuv, Vienna ISSN  1017-3285 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Technical language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ According to Kuno Lorenz: usage language. In: Jürgen Mittelstraß (Hrsg.): Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. Volume 3. 2nd edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-02102-1 , a case of everyday language , different from the (unoccupied) previous version, according to which the generic term of the technical language should be the jargon .
  2. Duden, German Universal Dictionary .
  3. a b Differentiation between technical and common language. Department of Translation, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Mainz.
  4. Werner Schäfke: English Cathedrals. A journey through the highlights of English architecture from 1066 to the present day . DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne 1983, ISBN 3-7701-1313-6 .