International scientific vocabulary (ISV) comprises scientific and specialized words whose language of origin may or may not be certain, but which are in current use in several modern languages. The name "International Scientific Vocabulary" was first used by Philip Gove in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961). As noted by Crystal, science is an especially productive field for new coinages.
According to Webster's Third, "some ISV words (like haploid) have been created by taking a word with a rather general and simple meaning from one of the languages of antiquity, usually Latin and Greek, and conferring upon it a very specific and complicated meaning for the purposes of modern scientific discourse." An ISV word is typically a compound or a derivative which "gets only its raw materials, so to speak, from antiquity." Its morphology may vary across languages.
The online version of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (Merriam-Webster, 2002) adds that the ISV "consists of words or other linguistic forms current in two or more languages" that "differ from New Latin in being adapted to the structure of the individual languages in which they appear."  In other words, ISV terms are often made with Greek, Latin, or other combining forms, but each language pronounces the resulting neo-lexemes within its own phonemic "comfort zone," and makes morphological connections using its normal morphological system.
McArthur characterizes ISV words and morphemes as "translinguistic", explaining that they operate "in many languages that serve as mediums for education, culture, science, and technology." Besides European languages, such as Russian, Swedish, English, and Spanish, ISV lexical items also function in Japanese, Malay, Filipino, and other Asian languages. According to McArthur, no other set of words and morphemes is so international.
The ISV is one of the concepts behind the development and standardization of Interlingua. Scientific and medical terms in Interlingua are largely of Greco-Latin origin, but, like most Interlingua words, they appear in a wide range of languages. Interlingua's vocabulary is established using a group of control languages selected because they radiate words into, and absorb words from, a large number of other languages. A prototyping technique then selects the most recent common ancestor of each eligible Interlingua word or affix. The word or affix takes a contemporary form based on the control languages. This procedure is meant to give Interlingua the most generally international vocabulary possible.
Words and word roots that have different meanings from those in the original languages
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