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Eponyms in Politics

Floriana Popescu & Carmen Maftei ("Lower Danube" University, Galati, Romania)



The present paper represents a subdivision of a more complex lexical study that aims at proving that eponymy may be considered as a highly productive word building process within the scope of scientific discourse.

Eponyms are used in both the literary and scientific discourses; nevertheless little research has been done so far to their lexical study. Specialists have assigned them to various compartments of linguistics, among which stylistics is most frequently referred to.

The term eponym has a Greek origin coming from epi + onyma (name) meaning "giving the name to". Dictionaries define it as "a person, real or imaginary, from whom something, as a tribe, nation or place, takes or is said to take its name" (Webster 1996:481). In former approaches (Maftei 2003: 225-232, Popescu and Maftei 2003: 208-224, Popescu and Maftei 2004:174-180) eponymy was regarded as a productive process of deriving new lexemes from proper names, statement which particularly valid when reference is made to the scientific discourse.

Our main concern is to provide a framework fit for the lexical interpretation and illustration of eponymy, investigating all the types of eponyms within the discourse of politics. The contemporary terminology has undergone transformations in various specialized fields, therefore new concepts have been introduced thus contributing to the enrichment of the vocabulary. The percentage held by eponyms is considerable.

The main concern of this research is to provide a lexical interpretation of eponyms identified in politics derived from a proper name. Politics is a highly complex system, which might be considered an umbrella term as it has numerous branches, among which we mention only few of them just to prove its connections with other sciences. Therefore it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to consider only the terminology from politics since sciences are interrelated and we cannot focus only on the tackled terminology without interfering with mathematics, computer science, economics, statistics, history, etc. Most of these theories, laws, methods, principles, etc., have their eponyms in the people that first discovered or proved them.

The present research attempts at providing a classification of eponyms in politics, based on McArthur’s (1996:350) version, who identified six types: (a) simple eponyms, (b) compounds and attributive constructions, (c) possessives, (d) suffix-based derivatives, (e) clippings and (f) blends, to which we add initialisms and we also dedicate a small subchapter to eponyms identified in the political discourse.



McArthur, T., (1995). The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Maftei, C., 2003, Eponyms in Chemistry in Mélanges de terminologie et de sémantique, Anca Gâţă (ed.), 2003, Editura Academica, Galati

Popescu, F., Maftei, C., 2003, Eponyms in Physics in Mélanges de terminologie et de sémantique, Anca Gâţă (ed.), 2003, Editura Academica, Galati

Popescu, F., Maftei, C., 2004, Eponyms in Anatomy and Physiology in Croitoru, E., Praisler, M., Tuchel, D.,(eds.) Cutural Matrix Reloaded. Seventh International Conference of RSEAS, Galati, 8-10 October, 2004, Editura Didactica si Pedagogica R.A., Bucuresti, 2005

Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language , (1996).Gramercy Books

Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9. - 11. december 2005

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