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Shashkova V.N. TERMINOLOGICAL WORD COMBINATIONS WITH THE LEXICAL COMPONENT “FINGERPRINT”: SPECIFICS OF NOMINTATION / V.N. Shashkova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2021. — № 3 (27). — С. 61—64. — URL: (дата обращения: 22.10.2021. ).
Shashkova V.N. TERMINOLOGICAL WORD COMBINATIONS WITH THE LEXICAL COMPONENT “FINGERPRINT”: SPECIFICS OF NOMINTATION / V.N. Shashkova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2021. — № 3 (27). — С. 61—64.


ORCIDШашкова В.Н.1
1 , Орловский юридический институт МВД России имени В.В. Лукьянова, Орел, Россия
В статье выявлены основные механизмы номинации и синтаксические модели, проявляющиеся в составе сложных номинативных единиц с лексическим компонентом «fingerprint». Цель статьи – выявление специфики терминологических словосочетаний с лексическим компонентом «fingerprint» как части терминологической системы, относящейся к криминалистике. Анализ выявил один доминантный механизм номинации для большинства сложных номинативных единиц с лексическим компонентом «fingerprint», который представляет собой уточнение сигнификативного значения номинативной единицы за счет введения дополнительных лексем. Этот механизм часто сочетается с суффиксацией и конверсией. Повторяющиеся синтаксические модели, проявляющиеся в сложных номинативных единицах с лексическим компонентом «fingerprint», включают следующие структуры: прилагательное + существительное, существительное + существительное, существительное + of + существительное, существительное в родительном падеже + существительное, глагол + существительное, глагол + предлог / послелог + существительное.
Ключевые слова: номинативная единица, уточнение сигнификативного значения, аффиксация, конверсия, синтаксическая модель, семантический компонент, отпечаток пальца.
Страницы: 61 - 64

ORCIDShashkova V.N.1
1 , Orel Law Institute of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia named after V.V. Lukyanov, Orel, Russia
The article elicits the major nomination mechanisms and syntactic patterns within complex nominative units with the lexical component “fingerprint”. The aim of the article is to outline the specifics of the terminological word combinations with the lexical component “fingerprint” as part of the terminological system referring to Criminalistics. The analysis revealed one dominant nomination mechanism for the majority of complex nominative units with the lexical component of “fingerprint”, which is the specification of the significative meaning of a nominative unit due to the introduction of additional lexemes. This mechanism is often coupled with suffixation and conversion. The regular syntactic patterns manifesting themselves in complex nominative units with the lexical component “fingerprint” include the following structures: Adjective + Noun, Noun + Noun, Noun + of + Noun, Noun in the Genitive case + Noun, Verb + Noun, Verb + preposition / postposition + Noun.
Keywords: nominative unit, specification of significative meaning, suffixation, conversion, syntactic pattern, semantic component, fingerprint.
Pages: 61 - 64
Почта авторов / Author Email: valentina.shash[at]


Despite the deep elaborated study of the nomination theory, as practice shows, specification of nomination mechanisms operating in a particular reference zone allows to make wider generalizations concerning the terminology used in Criminalistics in application to fingerprinting. The relevance of the study is conditioned by ambiguity and heterogeneity of the facets for categorization of the lexemes and complex nominative units pertinent to the thematic field “Fingerprinting”, as well as importance of theoretical and applied analysis of semantics and identification of special signs of complex nominative units in the framework of the studied semantic groups in English [5].

The research into the specifics of nomination within the lexical-semantic groups is conducive to outlining the overall trends typical of the language of legal terminology as well as to working out instrumental exercises for specialists acquiring the English language skills when mastering the profession of a lawyer. It conditions the relevance of the research and covers the theoretical aspects as well as entails tangible practical applications of the results.


The methodological basis of the study was the functional-role approach, which allows to differentiate lexical-semantic groups according to the role of a component of propositional content expressed by a lexeme or complex nominative [7, P. 193], as well as the onomasiological approach aimed at identifying the means and mechanisms of nomination [3].

In the process of the research, the following general scientific methods were used: analysis, synthesis, generalization, classification of the material under study, as well as methods of empirical knowledge: observation, description, comparison.

Linguistic analysis is based on two methods: semantic analysis entailing the study of the meanings of language units, namely identification of synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, polysemantic words, analysis of changes in the meanings of nominative units in their various combinations, and syntactic analysis allowing to outline the regular syntactic models within the complex nominative units with “fingerprint” as a component of a composite term.

Specifics of the Language of Law

The field of law is a special sphere of social life, which has international significance, yet preserves national traditions, specific language and cultural characteristics. Due to the fact that the conditions of human life are constantly changing under the influence of external factors and the desire to improve society, the forms of protecting human rights are also subject to changes, which, in turn, entails linguistic changes in terms operating in a particular field of activity. In addition, the increase in information flows leads to the expansion of existing terminological systems due to the emergence of a large number of new items.

Similar processes are characteristic of law as a separate sphere of public life, since social changes inevitably entail an acceleration of the pace of lawmaking. The need for quick adaptation does not always have a positive effect on the quality of the laws and bylaws that are issued, which often do not meet the requirements imposed on them, including from the point of view of terminology [1, P. 71].

Normative legal terminology is undoubtedly one of the most significant elements of the language of jurisprudence. Its goal is becoming a more accurate and capacious reflection of the phenomena of reality, characteristic of the sphere of law, which is achieved with the help of ordered terminology systems.

Speaking about terminology in the field of law, it is worth first of all referring to the most widely known definitions of the concept of “a legal term”:

1) “the verbal designation of the state-legal concept, with the help of which the content of the regulatory legal order of the state is expressed and consolidated” [2, P. 694];

2) “words (or combinations of words) that are the names of certain legal concepts” [4, P. 21].

The legal terminological system also includes terms used to designate various doctrinal concepts of jurisprudence and other concepts of the legal sphere that are not enshrined in legislation. It also encompasses typical actions of law enforcement officers working in the field. G.T. Chernobel formulated a more universal definition of the concept of a legal term. In his opinion, this is “a word (or phrase), uniformly used in the field of legal relations, which is the name of a defined legal concept and is distinguished by a given monosemicity (that is, strict unambiguity, semantic certainty), functional stability” [6, P. 57]. This definition we accept as the basic one for this paper.


The research was carried out on the empirical data of the three sources: Collocations Dictionary [8], Online OXFORD Collocation Dictionary [10] and Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) [9]. The most common types of collocations forming complex nominative units include the following groups:

— Adjective + Noun: an identifiable fingerprint; a latent fingerprint; a patent fingerprint; a plastic fingerprint; an electronic fingerprint; a genetic fingerprint.

The first group encompasses the three general types of fingerprints (latent, patent and plastic) and the relatively new term (a genetic fingerprint), all the four distinguished by the surface on which they are left and consequently by the method of procession. An electronic fingerprint as a term reflects the storage form. A general characteristic of a fingerprint for forensic scientists is its liability to identification. That is why an identifiable fingerprint (11 % of the total of collocations revealed in the study) is one of the most frequent collocations used in the sphere.       

— Noun + Noun: fingerprint identification; fingerprint analysis; fingerprint reader; fingerprint scanner, fingerprint sensor; fingerprint card; DNA fingerprint.

The examples reveal the prevalent tendency: the key word “fingerprint” is used in preposition to the noun it semantically modifies. The nouns range from words of general semantics indicating the expertise and its aim (analysis, identification) to more specific nouns indicating the tools used in fingerprinting and its results (reader, scanner, card). The only odd component in this group is DNA fingerprint which is composed of the abbreviation for «deoxyribonucleic acid» in preposition to the keyword «fingerprint». An abbreviation use is rather an exception than a rule in this lexical-semantic group.

Thus, we can conclude that in this lexical-semantic group the first noun, the noun in preposition to the kernel noun, reflects a specific feature of the kernel noun and illustrate such a nomination mechanism as the specification of significative meaning.

— Noun in the possessive case + Noun: the petitioner’s fingerprints; the suspect’s fingerprints; the defendant’s fingerprints; the accused’s fingerprints; the transferee’s fingerprints.

The noun in preposition to «fingerprints» always refers to the subject, to the type of an agent within the semantic proposition. The typical nomination mechanism is the specification of significative meaning. It is coupled with suffixation (petitioner, defendant, transferee) or conversion (suspect, accused).     

— Noun + preposition + Noun: a set of fingerprints; a pattern of fingerprints; destruction of fingerprints; contamination of fingerprints; comparison of fingerprints, transmission of fingerprints.

As can be seen from the examples, they all fall under the same pattern: the preposition used in the complex nominative unit is of. Besides, all the nouns in preposition to the noun «fingerprints» are verbal nouns by nature. Hence, we can make a conclusion concerning the combination of two nomination mechanisms, namely the specification of significative meaning of the kernel noun by the same lexical item in each collocation (this invariable lexical item is «fingerprints») and conversion which, in its own turn, is coupled with affixation: contaminate → contamination; compare → comparison; transmit → transmission.

— Verb + Noun: to leave fingerprints; to provide fingerprints; to bear fingerprints; to submit (one’s) fingerprints (to the police); to bear fingerprints; to find fingerprints; to obtain fingerprints; to register fingerprints; to examine fingerprints; to compare fingerprints; to verify fingerprints; to fingerprint a suspect.

This group is heterogeneous in its content and is subject to classification according to the major agent the action refers to. A criminal leaves fingerprints, citizens, present at the crime scene, may also leave fingerprints. Citizens are asked by law enforcement officers to provide or to submit fingerprints for the purpose of their exclusion from the circle of suspects. Objects bear fingerprints. Forensic officers find fingerprints, obtain them from suspects, register and examine them. They compare fingerprints with those from the database and verify the fingerprints taken. It is usually a fingerprint technician who fingerprints a suspect.  Depending on the part of speech attribution of the lexeme «fingerprint» it can function as a noun collocating with a set of verbs which can be referentially classified according to the agent or as a verb taking as a direct object nominative units which denote an object of fingerprinting. 

— Verb + preposition / postposition + Noun: to examine smth for fingerprints; to look for fingerprints; to dust for fingerprints.

The important semantic component is expressed by the preposition (postposition in the phrasal verb «to look for») with the meaning of purpose. In all the selected complex nominatives the semantic component of purpose is expressed by the lexeme «fingerprints». 

This pattern allows for expansion of the nominative chain: Verb + Noun + preposition + Noun: to tell gender from fingerprints. Singular as this example is, it is also illustrative of the potential syntactic patterns: to tell diseases from fingerprints.


The conducted research allowed to define a legal term as a word (or a phrase) uniformly used in the sphere of legal relations (not only in regulatory legal documents but also in reference to professional situations and activities). A term makes a legal concept verbally explicit. One of its distinctive characteristics is their monosemantic content.

The analysis revealed the dominant nomination mechanism which regularly manifests itself in the complex nominative units with the lexical component “fingerprint” – that is the specification of significative meaning of a term by adding a descriptive lexeme. This mechanism goes along with affixation and conversion.

The patterns underlying terminological combinations with the lexical component “fingerprint” include the following syntactic types of combinations: Adjective + Noun, Noun + Noun, Noun + of + Noun, Noun in the Genitive case + Noun, Verb + Noun, Verb + preposition / postposition + Noun. Each of the given groups allows for further semantic categorization based on the functional-role principle.

The prospects of this study consist in creating the linguodidactic model of the terms and the terminological combinations pertinent to the reference zone of Criminalistics.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Авакова О. В. Формирование и функционирование английской юридической терминологии в процессе становления государства и права в Англии / О. В. Авакова: диссертация ... кандидата филологических наук: 10.02.04. – Москва, 2006. – 208 с.
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Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Avakova O. V. Formirovaniye i funktsionirovaniye angliiskoi terminologii v protsesse stanovleniya gosudarstva i prava v Anglii [Formation and functioning of legal terminology in the process of state formation and law formation in England] / O. V. Avakova: dissertation of a candidate of sciences (Philology): 10.02.04. – Moscow, 2006. – 208 p. [in Russian]
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  4. Savitskii V. M. Yazyk protsessual’nogo zakona. Voprosy terminologii [The language of professional law. Questions of terminology] / V. M. Savitskii. – Moscow: Nauka, 1987. – 288 p. [in Russian]
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  8. Collocations Dictionary [Electronic resource] – URL: (accessed: 11.08.21).
  9. Corpus of Contemporary American English [Electronic resource] – URL: (accessed: 11.08.21).
  10. Online OXFORD Collocation Dictionary [Electronic resource] – URL: (accessed: 11.08.21).

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