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Abstract

Nowadays the discussion on the symbiosis of the international and national nomenclature systems in different areas of science provides clear evidences that full implementation of conventional international (mainly English) nomenclature principles in the local ones is sometimes not only unnecessary, but even redundant or impossible. Rapid development of natural sciences necessitates creation of accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible nomenclature systems for objects and phenomena under research. This study outlines the origins and development of the Slovak chemical nomenclature which is based on the Czech model. We analyze the unique Slovak nomenclature items as well as the re-evaluation of linguistic means in the field of inorganic chemistry in the international context. A part of this work is devoted to the syntactical structure of the names of inorganic compounds. At the same time we draw a parallel between chemical nomenclature and the phenomenon of controlled language.
1 23
Chemical Papers
ISSN 0366-6352
Chem. Pap.
DOI 10.1007/s11696-017-0133-8
Specificities and origins of the Slovak
nomenclature of inorganic chemistry
Michal Galamboš, Lukáš Krivosudský &
Jana Levická
1 23
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FEATURE
Specificities and origins of the Slovak nomenclature of inorganic
chemistry
Michal Galambos
ˇ
1,2
Luka
´s
ˇKrivosudsky
´
1
Jana Levicka
´
3
Received: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016
ÓInstitute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2017
Abstract Nowadays the discussion on the symbiosis of the
international and national nomenclature systems in differ-
ent areas of science provides clear evidences that full
implementation of conventional international (mainly
English) nomenclature principles in the local ones is
sometimes not only unnecessary, but even redundant or
impossible. Rapid development of natural sciences neces-
sitates creation of accurate, comprehensive and compre-
hensible nomenclature systems for objects and phenomena
under research. This study outlines the origins and devel-
opment of the Slovak chemical nomenclature which is
based on the Czech model. We analyze the unique Slovak
nomenclature items as well as the re-evaluation of lin-
guistic means in the field of inorganic chemistry in the
international context. A part of this work is devoted to the
syntactical structure of the names of inorganic compounds.
At the same time we draw a parallel between chemical
nomenclature and the phenomenon of controlled language.
Keywords Nomenclature Terminology Inorganic
chemistry Controlled language Terminology
management
Introduction
Scientific domains exploit and shape the language and its
resources according to their needs and in specific cases
they tend to eliminate or reduce its dynamic and polyse-
mous character. It is more than natural that this ‘‘modifi-
cation’’ of linguistic means is in direct proportion to the
requirements of accuracy or consistency in respective dis-
ciplines. Chemistry is no exception, on the contrary.
Nomenclature of chemical substances provide clearly
defined rules that are to be used when writing chemical
formulas and coining names, which assures their accuracy,
consistency, general usage, international intelligibility and
explicitness. Basic ‘‘building blocks’’ of chemical nomen-
clature include chemical symbols, formulas, names of
elements and their compounds. The document ‘‘Brief
Guide to the Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry’’ pro-
vides an outline of the essential nomenclature rules for
producing names and formulae for inorganic compounds,
coordination compounds, and organometallic compounds
(Hartshorn et al. 2015). Further details can be found in the
Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry, colloquially known
as the Red Book (Connelly et al. 2005).
As the chemical nomenclature and chemistry themselves
are not static, but undergo continual changes and devel-
opment, gathering, description, analysis, and preservation
of relevant knowledge and information on chemical entities
and their composition can be provided only by means of
terminology and information management at national as
well as international levels. It is the IUPAC (International
&Michal Galambos
ˇ
galambos@fns.uniba.sk
Jana Levicka
´
janal@korpus.sk
1
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Inorganic
Chemistry, Comenius University in Bratislava, Mlynska
´
Dolina Ilkovic
ˇova 6, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
2
Slovak National Committee of IUPAC, Bratislava,
Slovak Republic
3
Slovak Academy of Sciences, L’. S
ˇtu
´r Institute of Linguistics,
Slovak National Corpus Department, Panska
´26,
813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
123
Chem. Pap.
DOI 10.1007/s11696-017-0133-8
Author's personal copy
Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), IUBMB (Interna-
tional Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and
other international organisations that guarantee the
restriction of ‘‘arbitrary proliferation of substance names’
(Wright and Budin 2001, p. 229).
Terminology and nomenclature
Terminology represents an organised set of linguistic
means of a specific field, which usually includes designa-
tions of phenomena, processes or tools, e.g. molecule,
reduction, bond or gas (ISO 51271-1). The meanings, or
concepts these designations refer to, were defined or are
generally acceptable and understandable. Nomenclature,
however, is a set of names designating chemical entities
and according to the norm ISO 1087-1 it is a specific kind
of terminology, which is ‘‘structured systematically
according to pre-established naming rules’’, e.g. carbon
dioxide, sodium chloride, hydrochloric acid.
The above-mentioned definition of terminology or the
definition originating from the Slovak linguistic tradition
1
shows that the specificity of terms, in comparison with
nomenclature items, lies in their defining by the respective
domain experts. However, nomenclature items are defini-
tion-free (and this fact does not hold true only for chem-
istry but also for botany and zoology). Individual chemical
names as designations of abstract ideas of the character of
chemical entities do not require definitions. This is due to
the linguistic structure of the systematic names as such for
they reflect not only the type of the chemical entity but they
also indicate its characteristics or the class it belongs to. It
could be claimed that these designations, by some authors
referred also as no´men (Majta
´n1979), can be situated
somewhere in midway between common nouns and proper
names—similarly to proper names they are not usually
employed in plural (conf. *sulfuric acids), on the other
hand they do not serve for singling out specific realities and
phenomena (as it is the case e.g. with the name of the
international organisation IUPAC).
Controlled vocabulary
When discussing the linguistic specificities of the chemical
nomenclature it is worthwhile to consider the issue of the
so-called controlled language or controlled vocabulary
(referred to also under various other terms: controlled
language, controlled natural language, processable lan-
guage, simplified language, technical language, structured
language, etc.). In general, this phenomenon is defined as
a set of consistent terms used within a specific area of
human knowledge (Richard et al. 2003, pp. 157–167).
Originally, the need to establish such an inventory of lex-
ical items arose in the field of library science. Its creation
aimed at precise labelling of documents and their further
retrieval and this was managed by artificial corrections of
natural language items. Nowadays, the term ‘‘controlled
language’’ occurs predominantly in connection with cata-
logues and databases, i.e. products with primary aim to
organise and classify the information. However, it is also
employed in the aviation industry (both in aircraft pro-
duction and navigation), or at the latest in the framework of
information technologies.
The ambition of the controlled vocabulary is to regulate
its items so that they would have unique relationship with
their respective concepts, e.g. each item would denote only
one concept and vice versa, every concept would be named
only by one linguistic form. However, this is an unattainable
ideal, designated by the founder of terminological theory E.
Wu
¨ster by the German term Eineindeutigkeit. In practical
terms, this means that the lexicon should lack homonyms
(words with different meaning but identical form), syn-
onyms (words with similar or related meaning) or polysemy
(words which include several meanings in one form).
Moreover, such a vocabulary comprises rules, procedures
and methodologies which assure clarification of semantic
relationships between individual elements (http://www.new
worldencyclopedia.org/entry/Controlled_vocabulary).
Institutional regulation and harmonisation of chemical
nomenclature bear similarities with the controlled vocab-
ulary, for some authors consider it the artificial language
(Kahovec 2000), which consists of items that can unam-
biguously name several millions of chemical compounds. It
was chemistry which saw a kind of revolution in inten-
tional regulation of linguistic means in the professional
communication—for the first time in history the scientists,
namely French chemists inspired by Condillac’s philoso-
phy of language, attempted to introduce naming rules. In
cooperation with other scientists they coined not only new
words but also systematic endings with precisely defined
meaning (Cottez 1994). Their attempt was successful and
many of their newly coined words have been in use since
then also thank to the fact that they in turn originated new
designations. This process was soon imitated in other nat-
ural sciences.
One of the specificities of the chemistry as a discipline
lies in the symbiosis of graphical and linguistic represen-
tation of chemical substances; graphic forms—chemical
formulas—can be derived from the linguistic structures. It
may be also said that formulae mirror the word-forming
1
‘Term is an element of the lexicon designating a concept
determined by a definition and its place in a conceptual system of a
specific scientific, technical, economical and other disciplines’’
(Masa
´r1991, p. 29).
Chem. Pap.
123
Author's personal copy
structure of chemical designations, which is a parallel to
the linguistic reflection of the chemical structure of
chemical entities.
Therefore, it is reasonable to analyse the way how the
chemical nomenclature makes use of the classificatory and
systematic potential of the language and also the way it re-
evaluates and re-uses the resources of the standard Slovak
language in the field of inorganic chemistry.
In general, the names of chemical entities consist of the
names of elements and affixes, i.e. prefixes, suffixes or
infixes with clearly delimited and defined content. Some-
times, to narrow or specify the meaning, numerical signs
(not only numerical prefixes) are used, as well as letters of
Greek alphabet, punctuation (e.g. hyphen, dash) and even
the order of constitutive parts of the name.
2
Some affixes,
however, are polysemous, but this fact does not represent a
risk of misunderstanding because individual meanings of
these affixes are context-dependent, e.g. the suffix -a´n is
used to coin names of inorganic binary compounds with
metalloids and non-metals, while in organic chemistry it is
employed to name hydrocarbons.
Beginnings of Slovak and Czech chemical
nomenclature
Origins of the Slovak chemical nomenclature are dated to
the 19th century’s early Czech scientific writings, for the
standardisation of Slovak language in 1843 came later in
comparison with Czech language. The first descriptions
and analyses of specialised lexicon (e.g. by scholars M.
Godra or I. B. Zoch) were primarily oriented towards those
disciplines whose lexicon was based on the folk language,
which excluded chemistry.
3
The borrowing and adaptation
of chemical terminology and nomenclature from Czech, or
its slovakisation, was enhanced especially by socio-politi-
cal changes—the establishment of the Czechoslovak
Republic in 1918 and consequent introduction of Slovak
language into schools including the education of chemistry
in Slovak, which required ‘‘rewriting’’ of Czech textbooks
into Slovak.
The Czech pioneers of the specialised chemical litera-
ture are considered to be Josef Jungmann, Vojte
ˇch S
ˇafar
ˇı
´k
and especially Jan Svatopluk Presl (1791–1849) who tried
to imitate the efforts of French chemists and introduced
Czech names for all chemical elements known in that
period of time. Presl derived them both from the words of
general lexicon and Latin word-stock and combined them
with his newly coined systematic suffix -ı´k. To this day
both languages, Czech and Slovak, use ten of his original
names for elements oxygen,carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen,
aluminium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon,
sodium (kyslı
´k, uhlı
´k, vodı
´k, dusı
´k, hlinı
´k, va
´pnik, horc
ˇı
´k,
draslı
´k, kremı
´k, sodı
´k). Only a minimal number of names
for chemical elements were taken over from general Czech
and Slovak without any change: iron, mercury, copper,
gold, silver, lead (z
ˇelezo, ortut’, med’, zlato, striebro,
olovo).
Most of current names of chemical elements have their
origin in foreign languages, especially Greek and Latin.
Etymological analyses and history proves that these names
were formed on the basis of inherent features of respective
elements such as their quality, colour or extrinsic charac-
teristics (i.e. function, place of production, occurrence, and
inventor). However, in case of discovering new elements
(with atomic number over 100) their designations are
nowadays coined by means of agglutination, i.e. simple
joining of numeral morphemes of Greek and Latin origin
reflecting the atomic number of the respective element, the
last part of the name being the Latin suffix -ium. Also this
combination of two Classical languages, hybrid in terms of
etymology (numeral morpheme nil, un, bi, quad, sep, okt
are Latin, while tri, pent, hex and enn/en are Greek), elo-
quently shows that current word-formation tendency fol-
lows only purely pragmatic view of function. Moreover,
usage of the elements from the word-stock of Classical
languages serves two aims—on one hand it guarantees the
stability of the nomenclature and on the other hand it
enhances its international character. As noted J. Horecky
´,
prominent Slovak linguist and terminologist, ‘‘interna-
tionalisation is more understandable and prospective
especially in this nomenclature than in any other. However,
the by-product is often the loss of binary word-formatting
structure and enhancement of the linear morphemic struc-
ture’’ (Horecky
´1993).
The impact of internationalisation in the Slovak chem-
ical nomenclature can be seen also in the existence of
parallel designations of domestic and Classical origin. For
example, for naming some compounds and anions the
Slovak language resorts also to equivalent Latin roots in
combination with corresponding prefix or suffix, e.g.: ox-
ide, oxonium, oxidane, hydroxide, hydroxyl, peroxide,
peroxyacids, superoxide, suboxide; carbide, carbonato,
carbonyl, carboxyl, carbamide, sodium bicarbonate;
hydride, hydrone, hydrogenacid, hydrogenperoxide;
nitride, nitryl, nitrosyl, nitrato, dinitrogen. But in case of
H
2
NO
2
it is possible to use both Slovak and Latin roots:
hydronitrous acid as well as nitroxylic acid, in case of
H
2
SO
2
hyposulfurous acid, but also sulfoxylic acid. And
2
In case of HCl it is not called chloro-hydride but hydrogen chloride
because hydrogen is a more electropositive part of the molecule.
3
In reference to the Czech nomenclature Zoch wrote in the
introduction of his nomenclature proposition that ‘‘Czech nomencla-
ture is in many respects so complete that it will surely become a basis
for all Slavic nomenclature which will hold true especially for the
chemical one‘‘ (Zoch 1861).
Chem. Pap.
123
Author's personal copy
last but not least, Slovak benefits of the treasure of Clas-
sical lexical heritage for distinguishing the type of com-
pound which comprises the molecule of water H
2
O—
besides the general usage of terminologised Slovak word
voda, the designation hydrate (from Greek word tdxq)is
employed within the nomenclature of crystal hydrates,
while the nomenclature of coordinated compounds shows
the Latin influence—akva (from the Latin word aqua).
The best publicly known elements of the Czech and
Slovak chemical nomenclature are valence suffixes -ny´, -
naty´, -ity´, -ic
ˇity´, -ic
ˇny´/ec
ˇny´, -ovy´, -isty´, -ic
ˇely´, which are
used to form adjectives representing a part of the chemical
name and which denote the valence of individual elements.
Except for two of them, the suffixes also provide an
example of a certain specification or modification of the
lexical items of common Slovak language. No matter what
function they have in general language, in chemical
nomenclature they acquire the relational character, because
‘they precisely denote the relation between two elements
in a given compound’’ (Horecky
´1948). Besides their
relational meaning, they include specifying and at the same
time distinctive feature denoting the number of valence
bounds from I to VIII by which the atom of an individual
element binds with the rest of atoms in a compound. These
generally known word-forming suffixes again come from
Czech chemists J. S. Presl and V. S
ˇafar
ˇı
´k. In the 19th
century these suffixes used to designate ‘‘the levels of
abundance’’ or ‘‘equivalence ratios’’ of the elements in a
compound. Development of chemistry necessitated the
revision and modification of their meaning (not their for-
mal change or coinage of new ones); today’s set of valence
suffixes in Slovak and Czech was finally modified by
Alexandr Bate
ˇk and Emil Votoc
ˇka and its usage was pro-
claimed officially obligatory from 1918 with the estab-
lishment of the Czechoslovak Republic (Zikmund 1961,
p. 166). In contrast with the situation in other languages,
Slovak or Czech chemists can express qualitative as well as
quantitative composition and stechiometric valence of
elements in a compound by employing the set of valence
suffixes without resorting to numerals. On the other hand, it
is sometimes pointed out that these suffixes lack interna-
tional character; they have no equivalents in foreign lan-
guages though analogical efforts of introducing a similar
set occurred for example in German (Wambach 2015).
Current chemistry necessitates the introduction of a
nomenclature suffix ‘‘-uty
´’ for cations [IrF
9
‘fluorid irid-
uty´’is iridium(IX)fluoride], corresponding to the oxida-
tion number IX (Slavı
´c
ˇek 2010). For now, this proposal has
to be further considered in academic society.
The rest of Slovak word-forming suffixes (e.g. -id, -
o´nium, -an, -yl) and also prefixes used within the additive
nomenclature system were taken over with their meaning
from other languages, especially from English and French
(Cottez 1994, p. 687); the role of these suffixes is to pre-
cisely delimit the type of compound while the prefixes are
used mainly to specify the meaning, both in case of
numeral or structural prefixes—e.g. di-, tetra-, per-, tio-,
seleno-, cyklo-.
The real growth and boom of the Slovak chemical
nomenclature and terminology came only with the end of
World War II and re-establishment of the Czechoslovak
Republic in 1945. Already in 1948 T. Krempasky
´, the then
editor of the Slovak scholarly journal Chemicke´ zvesti,
initiated the creation of the Commission for harmonisation
of chemical-technological nomenclature. Two years later
with the death of Krempasky
´, the Commission was moved
to the Institute of the Slovak Language (today’s L’udovı
´t
S
ˇtu
´r Institute of Linguistics, Slovak Academy of Sciences,
hereinafter referred to L’S
ˇIL) and thus became the first of
numerous terminology commissions organised by the ter-
minology department of L’S
ˇIL. Headed by J. Gas
ˇperı
´k and
linguistic expert counsellor J. Horecky
´, the Commission
published recommendations for creating rational names or
notices on improper terms or orthography in Chemicke´
zvesti from 1948 to 1950. In total, the Journal published 21
terminology articles. The Commission argued with the
scholarly public as well as discussed definitions, their
structure, new names and terms (Horecky
´1956). If nec-
essary, specialised subcommissions were established. In
1956, the totality of the Commission’s work was published
in a book entitled Terminolo
´gia anorganickej a fyzika´lnej
che´mie (Terminology of inorganic and physical chemistry),
which included 40 pages of nomenclature recommenda-
tions and rules, followed by the dictionary of terms and
their definitions from the field of physical chemistry,
inorganic chemistry, laboratory techniques and analytical
chemistry.
Further development of the Slovak inorganic chemical
nomenclature was partially influenced by politically moti-
vated coordination with the Czech nomenclature but also by
the IUAPC recommendations. However, in contrast with its
beginnings the Slovak nomenclature became a model for the
Czech nomenclature in 1960s and 1970s. In fact, the Czech
nomenclatural commission, established in 1971, based its
work not only on the results of previous commissions but also
on the synthesising work of M. Zikmund, the member of the
original Slovak terminology commission. The book was
entitled Na´zvoslovie anorganicky´ch la´tok (Nomenclature of
inorganic substances) and was published in 1961. Until 1970
it had seen four editions. Slovak chemical nomenclature was
analysed further in following textbooks: Ako tvorit’ na´zvy a
vzorce anorganicky´chla´tok(How t o form names and formulas
of inorganic substances by S
ˇramko, T., Adamkovic
ˇ,E.1984,
Bratislava: SPN), Che´mia. Chemicke´na´zvoslovie (Chemistry.
Chemical nomenclature by Matherny, M., Smik, L., Andruch,
V. 1997, Pres
ˇov: TU Kos
ˇice), Na´zvoslovie anorganicky´ch
Chem. Pap.
123
Author's personal copy
la´tok pre gymna´zia´(Nomenclature of inorganic substances
for secondary schools by Sirota, A., Adamkovic
ˇ,E.2003,
Bratislava: SPN), Chemicke´na´zvoslovie a za´kladne´chemicke´
vy´poc
ˇty (Chemical nomenclature and basic chemical calcu-
lations by Pola
´c
ˇek, S
ˇ., Pus
ˇka
´s
ˇ, J. 2006, Bratislava: Prı
´roda)
and Slovenske´ chemicke´na´zvoslovie v medi´ne (Slovak
chemical nomenclature in medicine by Pavlovic
ˇ, M., Holo-
ma
´n
ˇova
´, A., Kadlec, O., Asklepios 2011.). There are also three
university textbooks Na
´zvoslovie anorganicky
´ch la
´tok: Prin-
´py a prı
´klady (Nomenclature of inorganic substances:
Principles and examples. 2009, Bratislava: Univerzita
Komenske
´ho) and Na
´zvoslovie anorganicky
´ch la
´tok
(Nomenclature of inorganic substances. 2011 and 2016,
Bratislava: Univerzita Komenske
´ho).
Syntactic and word-forming structure of Slovak
names in inorganic chemistry
Most names of the chemical compounds feature binary struc-
ture modelled on French, as the French nomenclature represents
the oldest chemical nomenclature introduced already by A.
L. Lavoisier in the 18th century. Then, just like today, the
substantive in the structure used to express the type of a com-
pound, while the adjective denoted the element forming this
compound. From the linguistic point of view, these are the so-
called multi-word units or lexicalised word combinations,
whichrepresentacommontypeof syntactic word-formation of
more specific terms, as this structure enables to convey more
explicit content. One member of this multi-word unit denotes
the category or class into which the denoted entity is classified
while the other one embodies the quality in the broadest sense
by which the classified entity is specified.
1. Type: substantive ?adjective
In case of multi-word units comprising the pre-modifier
in the postposition, the Slovak chemistry probably adopted
the French model and its typical French word order, i.e. the
usual Slovak word order is reversed—the adjective is in
postposition and agrees with the following noun in case,
number and grammatical gender. However, the ‘‘normal’’ or
usual word order of Slovak noun phrases can be found also
in chemical terminology and nomenclature, but in this case
the adjective, derived by means of the suffix -ovy´, does not
refer to the valence, e.g. kyselina bromovodı´k-ova´ (hydro-
bromic acid), chlo´r-ova´ voda (chlorine water),he´li-ove´
jadro (helium nucleus). The second reason can be found in
the fact that the reversed word order is more convenient and
transparent from the classification point of view.
Within this type, we distinguish two subtypes depending
on which part of the unit was formed by composition
(a) Compound adjective
Adjectives created by means of compounding, e.g.
KAl(SO
4
)
2
´ran draselno-hlinity´ (potassium aluminum sul-
fate), NH
4
MgPO
4
fosforec
ˇnan amo´nno-horec
ˇnaty´ (magne-
sium ammonium phosphate), usually comprise a hyphen
between the two words, which expresses their equal rela-
tionship. Even the word order of the compound is mean-
ingful, i.e. it depends on the electropositivity of the two
elements. However, there are some examples of compound
adjectives without the hyphen, for example—H
2
SO
5
ky-
selina peroxo´rova´(peroxysulfuric acid). Compound
adjectives do not have to be necessarily coined only on the
basis of two elements&names, which can be seen for example
in the nomenclature of coordination compounds, where as
many as four root morphemes can be identified which refer
to the element or group. The name is specified also by the
numerical sign in combination with punctuation denoting
the charge number: [Co(H
2
O)(NH
3
)
3
Cl
2
]Cl chlorid akva-
triammin-dichloridokobaltity´ (1?)[triammine-aqua-dichlo-
ridecobalt(III)chloride].
(b) Compound substantive
Compound substantives in a multi-word unit or name
are created by means of a hyphen or the infix -o-. For
names of double and mixed salts or double oxides the
hyphen is used: AlO(OH) hydroxid-oxid hlinity
´[alu-
minium(III)hydroxide oxide], HoFO fluorid-oxid holmity´
[holmium(III)fluoride oxide], BiBr(SO
4
)bromid-´ran
bizmutity´ [bismuth(III)bromide sulfuric], the names of
coordination compounds, which also include compound
specifying adjectives, comprise also the infix -o-:
[Co(NH
3
)
6
][Cr(CN)
6
]hexakyanidochromitan hexaam-
minkobaltity´ [hexaammine chromium(III)hexaammine
cobalt(III)], [Cu(NH
3
)
4
][PtCl
4
]tetrachloridoplatnatan
tetraamminmed’naty´ [tetrachloride platinum(II)tetraam-
mine copper(II)].
2. Type: substantive ?substantive
Multi-word units in Slovak can be formed also by using
a post-modifier. However, a pre-modifier expressed by an
adjective usually enables to shorten an accurate but long
name (e.g. area load vs. surface load). In some cases, both
types of multi-word units can be formed, but they can
differ in meaning. In Slovak terminology, it is not unusual
to have these structures with post-modifiers in the dative
and accusative cases (Slovak as a synthetic language has
seven cases altogether), but chemistry is dominated by the
post-modifiers in the genitive case. From the general point
of view, the function of this genitive case is that of
explanation. Within the class of binary compounds (hy-
drides, borides, nitrides, arsenides, carbides, silicides) the
union of two substantives is an exception, which signals
that it is impossible to clearly determine the oxidation
number of atoms of individual elements in a given
Chem. Pap.
123
Author's personal copy
compound, e.g. Cr
4
B borid tetrachro´mu (chromium bor-
ide),Fe
3
C karbid trizˇeleza (iron carbide), CuP
2
difosfid
medi (copper phosphide). Syntactic structure is therefore
meaningful; the number of atoms of these elements is
specified by the Greek numeral prefix. Post-modifier in
genitive case is employed also for naming compounds of
radicals by means of the suffix -yl, complex compounds,
complex cations and also compounds of hydrogen and
oxide (peroxid vodı´ka/hydrogen peroxide).
3. Type: substantive ?substantive ?adjective
Rare three-word names are formed by combining both
previous types of multi-word units, thus they include pre-
modifier as well as the post-modifier. They can be found in
the nomenclature of krys
ˇtalosolva
´ty (hydrated com-
pounds), e.g. CaSO
4
H
2
O hemihydra´t sı´ranu va´penate´ho
(calcium sulfate hymihydrate), acid amides and imides, e.g.
SO
2
(NH
2
)
2
diamid kyseliny sı´rovej (sulfonyl diamide).
4. Type: substantive
One-word names of compounds represent a combination
of two elements&designations in one word. However, it is a
non-productive and non-systematic way of formation of
chemical elements. The best known example occurs with
the names of compounds of hydrogen and non-metals,
which comprise the infix -o- (which links the names of
non-metals with hydrogen): HF fluorovodı´k (hydrogen
fluoride), HCl chlorovodı´k (hydrogen chloride), HBr bro-
movodı´k (hydrogen bromide), HI jodovodı´k (hydrogen
iodide),H
2
Ssı´rovodı´k (hydrogen sulfide), HCN kyanovodı´k
(hydrogen cyanide).
This method was employed also for naming amines of
halogens (compounds formed by substituting the atom of
hydrogen by sulfur in a binary compound, e.g. NHCl
2
dichlo´ramı´n is dichloroamine) or in the substitutive
nomenclature of binary compounds, e.g. dichlo´rsulfa´n is
SCl
2
sulfur dichloride, P
2
I
4
tetrajo´ddifosfa´n is diphospho-
rus tetraiodide. In unique case of metal carbonyls with
oxidation number of central atom 0, the designation can be
created not only with a post-modifier within a multi-word
unit [Fe(CO)
5
pentakarbonyl zˇeleza is iron pentacarbonyl],
but also as a compound (pentakarbonylzˇelezo is iron
pentacarbonyl).
Conclusion
In accordance with the 18th century efforts to introduce a
nomenclature that would reflect as perfectly as possible the
classification of compounds in comparison with trivial
names, there arose names of compounds that can stretch as
long as one line and more: [IrCl(CO)HF(PPh
3
)
2
]fluorido-
hydrido-chlorido-karbonyl-bis(trifenylfosfa´n)iridity´komplex
is carbonyl-chlorido-hydrido-fluorido-bis(triphenylphos-
phine)iridium(III)complex (note different ordering of ligand
names not only due to their different Slovak and English
names but also due to the differences in alphabets: the letter
ch follows hin Slovak alphabet). Lavoisier foresaw this
complication and already in 1787 drew the attention to the
fact that accumulation of substantives and adjectives,
derived from Greek and Latin, which he considered to be
improper, was not easily to learn and pronounce (Cottez
1994). These kinds of designations are in direct contradic-
tion with the so-called language economy of expression.
Moreover, the complexity of naming rules does not con-
tribute to the flawless communication either; sometimes,
even members of scientific public make ‘‘nomenclatural
mistakes’’. The penetration of chemistry into other areas
(e.g. pharmacy or medicine) results in creation of trivial,
generic or commercial names and their usage instead of the
long systematic designations (Wright 2001, p. 222). Precise,
unique and unambiguous designations are not fit for exam-
ple for communication in healthcare environment which
prefer conciseness and shortness. WHO (World Health
Organization) even recommends the modification of
orthography and spelling in order to facilitate the translation
and pronunciation of terms and names.
From the point of view of the controlled language, the
existence of several parallel naming systems in chemistry
(conjunctive, substitutive, additive, etc.), which can assure
equal clarity, may constitute a handicap for communication
and specialised information transfer. Different situational
and communicative contexts as well as aims and publics
require different lexicon. However, the interdisciplinary
dimension of nowadays
´Slovak nomenclature of inorganic
chemistry and terminology shows that it can be (and is)
applied within a specified areas of usage, mainly the edu-
cational (from basic to advanced levels) and scientific ones.
An overall summary of chemical nomenclature can be found
in Principles of Chemical Nomenclature (Leigh 2011).
References
Connelly NG, Damhus T, Hartshorn RM, Hutton AT (2005)
Nomenclature of inorganic chemistry—IUPAC recommenda-
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0-85404-438-8
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´piste
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Hartshorn RM, Hellwich K-H, Yerin A, Damhus T, Hutton AT (2015)
Brief guide to the nomenclature of inorganic chemistry. In:
IUPAC division of chemical nomenclature and structure repre-
sentation, pp 1–4
Horecky
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´stavba chemicke
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Chapter
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