TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:luminous vs. light as adjectives From:Robert Bononno <bononno -at- ACF2 -dot- NYU -dot- EDU> Date:Thu, 10 Feb 1994 22:53:15 -0500
I was trying to explain to my translation students how to translate a
couple of Fr. expressions incorporating the Fr. adjective lumineux
(-euse), which translates as either "light" or "luminous". Now, in a
majority of cases in technical material, this translates as luminous
(luminous flux, luminous emitance, etc.), but not always. In some cases
it translates as light, eg., light wave, light ray, etc.
Does anyone know if and how we distinguish between these uses in English?
It appears that luminuous is used to describe measurable quantities of
light or luminance, but "light" simply indicates prepositional construction:
light wave = wave of light (radiation), light ray = ray of light. (I know
there's a name for this but I've forgotten it.)
Does anyone know how physics distinguishes between them or if light is,
in fact, an adjective in these cases?