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Words as New as the Hills Concept Formation in the Field of High Altitude Topography (1750–1850)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2000

Brian Farrington
University of Aberdeen


It is often assumed that the emergence of a new concept can be traced to the appearance of a new word in a language. The aim of this article is to show that the process is more complex than this by examining the evolution of a number of words and contexts in the field of high altitude topography, when high mountains were being explored for the first time. This is a lexical field of a somewhat special nature, relating to a reality that had always been visible, but had never been described before. While there are undoubtedly examples where a concept crystallises around a newly adopted word, the norm is a slow process of uncertainty and hesitation.

Research Article
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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