Theoretical vs. Teórico vs. 理论: How the Precision of Foreign Language Relates to the Cost of Innovation

22 April 2007 at 6:14 pm 1 comment

| Chihmao Hsieh |

Recently, bloggers Nicolai and Peter have highlighted the unfortunate confusions corresponding to the usage of the terms conceptual vs. theoretical, as well as usage of “method” vs. “methodology.”

A few inquiries could deserve some attention. First, is this confusion specific to those terms as they appear in the English language? For instance, perhaps other languages have their own labels indicating the concepts of “conceptual” and “theoretical” but the root words (e.g. concept, theory) involved are less substitutable. I’m also guessing that other languages have distinct labels for “method” and “methodology,” whereby less confusion emerges.

Probably of more interest to the readership is whether structural or cultural differences in languages then significantly correspond to differences by which the corresponding societies are able to coordinate and/or innovate. Does use of some foreign languages systematically lead to significantly greater coordination costs than other languages, whether in research or practice? Are there significant effects on the development and adoption of innovations?

For kicks, I googled online for “languages ‘national innovation systems’” but didn’t find any documents addressing such inquiry. Perhaps some of the bilingual or international readers have interesting anecdotes…

Entry filed under: Former Guest Bloggers, Institutions, Management Theory. Tags: .

Media, Dummy Variables, Fame, Fathers of Sociology, and School Shootings Contronymns

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