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words that coincide in their external form (taking into account regular correspondences of sounds with graphic units), fully or partially correspond in meaning, express concepts of international significance, and coexist in various languages, including those that are unrelated or distantly related. They are one of the forms of foreign words.

The most important criterion for an internationalism is that the word have a common meaning in the various languages—for example, Russian and Bulgarian situatsiia; Czech situace; Polish situacja; English, French, and German situation; Italian situazione; and Spanish situación. Another example is Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian atom; Czech, Polish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Albanian atom; German Atom; French atome; Spanish and Italian atomo; Finnish atomi; and Latvian atoms. In terminology, there may be a conscious convergence in the meanings of internationalisms in order to standardize terms.

There are internationalisms in different areas. The American-European area is the most studied in relation to internationalisms. An example of the Muslim is the word for “independence”: Arabic istiklal, Turkish istiklâl, Afghan istiklāl, and Persian esteglal. An East Asian internationalism is “army”: Chinese chüntui, Korean kunde, and Japanese guntai.

Internationalisms come either from a modern language or from neologisms coined from Greek or Latin roots, which provide a common store for the formation of such words.


Zhirmunskii, V. [M.]Natsional’nyi iazyk i sotsial’nye dialekty. Leningrad, 1936. Chapter 6.
Akulenko, V. V. “Sushchestvuet li International’naia leksika.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1961, no. 3.
Bel’chikov, Iu. A. International’naia terminologiia v russkom iazyke. Moscow, 1959.
Makovskii, M. M. “K probleme tak nazyvaemoi ‘International’noi’ lek-siki.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1960, no. 1.


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