I am a native german speaker, so I have absolutely no good intuitions when it comes to choosing the right alternative out of a candidate set. Today, one problem was: How should I call the sound-making thingy? Is it a "speaker" or is it a "loud speaker"? Is there any difference?
- Is one term more technical than the other?
- Is one term stylistically marked in certain contexts? If so, which?
- Are there any useful, free, online resources that could help me answer similar questions in the future?
- Are there any objective criteria?
What I have come up with so far is: If I choose "loud speaker", I no longer might get the "person that is speaking" interpretation, but in the intended usage of the term (a manual for a technical device), such an interpretation should not arise anyways. So, it seems like an arbitrary choice to me.