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» Journal Issues » 2017 » Journal Ukrainian Language №1 (61) 2017 » Diminutives of biological term system in modern Ukrainian

Diminutives of biological term system in modern Ukrainian

Journal Ukrainian Language №1 (61) 2017
UDC 811.161.2’373.43

Nina Klymenko
Corresponding Member of the NAS of Ukraine, Professor, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Head of the Department of Lexicology, Lexicography and Structural-Mathematical Linguistics, Institute of the Ukrainian Language of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
4 Hrushevskyi St., Kyiv 01001, Ukraine

Heading: Researches
Language: Ukrainian

Abstract: The article is aimed at studying of the category of diminutivity from functional and semantic perspective, which enables to trace not only its correlation with other categories, ex. augmentativity, graduality, but also the structure of the category itself, its doublefold nature: orientation towards the meaning of diminution (ascertain of the small size of an object, little realization of quality) and on accompanying component of the meaning – feature of a favourite object without displaying its size: голівонька, бабуся, татусь.

Biological terminological system amongst others is remarkable due to the large amount of noun terms with diminutive-hypocoristic suffixes -ок, -ик, -ець, -ц(е), -к(о): віночок, тичинка, плодолистик, дихальце, тільце. The majority of them lack diminutive-hypocoristic meaning and only state tiny size, which is connected with constant expansion of objects of its investigation, understanding of something which was earlier thought of as indivisible, which is becoming complex, small object, which is getting even smaller. It becomes important to study how a new stratification of word stock takes place, mainly of noun origin, the role in it of proper word building devices, borrowings and translation loan words.

It has been established that word-building potential of diminutives is limited. Three-stage diminution of an object is possible by means of suffixation: зерно-зерня-зерняточко. For the majority of diminutives it remains potential and exhausts at the first or second stages of formation. Forming diminutives by means of compounding of only proper components is also not productive. Composition of borrowings is widespread in biological term system: біосома, макросома, сферосома, хромосома та т.ін. The role of semantic word formation of diminutive biological noun-terms becomes clear. Names of everyday objects become designations of terms which relate to flora and fauna, and terms, in their turn, are used in everyday speech. On the one hand, there exist віночок, вусик, тичинка, шапинка, on the other hand – бактерія, вірус, епідемія, інфекція, інсулін.

The world of cells, tissues, corpuscles, nuclei and karyosomes visible with the help of modern microscope appears as a collection of terms arranged in Biology according to certain relations in the organism and its organs. It directly relates to the category of diminutivity, which in biological term system is further undergoing the process of desemantisation and is transforming to express meanings within the scope of relations of ‘a part to the whole’. It is stimulated by semantic word-formation, term formation and specialization of meanings.

Keywords: diminutivity, diminutive desemantisation, semantic word-formation, family of words, composite formation, family of nominations, term formation, specialization of meanings.


  • SUBT – Dictionary of Ukrainian Biological Terminology. (2012). Kyiv (in Ukr.).
  • CUM-11 – Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language: in 11 vol. (1970 – 1980). Kyiv (in Ukr.).
  • DNGL – Babiniotis, G. (2005). Dictionary of the New Greek Language: Aeneas: Lexicology Center (in Greek).


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