10 December 2013

Applying OSASCOMP to military terms, part 1

On 2 December 2013, Jane's Defence Weekly wrote, under the heading Norway bridges JSM funding ahead of Storting vote:
Norway's Ministry of Defence has awarded Kongsberg Defence Systems a ... bridging contract to maintain work on the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) programme ahead of a parliamentary vote on funding for full-scale development... Derived from Kongsberg's Nytt Sjomalsmissile/Naval Strike Missile (NSM) surface-to-surface guided missile, already in service with the Royal Norwegian Navy, the JSM is a stealthy air-launched multi-role precision-strike missile specifically designed for internal carriage in the F-35A and F-35C variants of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Let us now attempt to apply OSASCOMP -- that's opinion size age shape colour origin material purpose noun -- (see post below dated 2 December) to the term
stealthy air-launched multi-role precision-strike missile.

The first thing to observe is that the analysis is not a straight forward as one might have hoped.
The second is that, as an experienced reader of technical journalism on military issues, the term reads well and appears to be well formed.

My first guess at assigning the components to the different roles would be:
stealthy = opinion
air-launched = origin
multi-role = purpose (??)
precision-strike = purpose (??).

  • each step of the analysis presents a challenge (Is stealthy an opinion? Does air-launched correspond to an origin? Multi-role to a purpose? Idem for precision-strike?)
  • if multiple qualifying elements are assigned the same roles (in this case 'purpose'), how does one determine the correct order of the said elements?
Clearly, analysis of complex multi-element military terms according the OSASCOMPN rule is by no means straight forward.
It is beginning to look as though the long-standing question mentioned on 2 December still awaits an answer meeting the needs of technical journalists and translators.

Comment just posted on Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog:
Mark. After reading your article in the Spectator, I posted to my own blog, on 2 December, under the heading 'Answer to a long-standing question'. Today, I posted again under the heading 'Applying OSASCOMPN to military terms'. Turns out that I had trouble applying the rule. If you could spare a few minutes to take a look and clarify, I would be very grateful indeed.

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