Summaries 2/2001

  • Uuden johtajan tervehdys / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Markku Lammi – muutoskokemusta ja uskoa muutoskykyyn / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Vad gör läkare och andra agenter i ordlistor? – Att beskriva handlingar och händelser inom olika fackområden / Nina Pilke

  • Euroopan kielten teemavuosi 2001 / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Kiinteistöliiketoiminnan sanasto valmistui / Minna Isoherranen & Sirpa Suhonen

  • Sanastotyöstä lyhyt askel sanakirjatyöhön / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Nordterm – en erfaren 25 åring / Anna-Lena Bucher

  • Kirjallisuutta

    TSK has a new director

    There has been a lot of changes in TSK's personnel again. Virpi Kalliokuusi, who worked over ten years as a terminologist and also an acting director of TSK, entered upon a new job and Lena Jolkkonen has taken on the responsibilities of TSK's director on the 1st of April. The editorial coordinator of Terminfo newsletter has also changed. Minna Isoherranen worked as the coordinator for a year and now Johanna Suomalainen takes over. Suomalainen has worked in TSK first as a trainee and since last autumn as a terminologist. Lena Jolkkonen is a Master of Food Sciences, and she has worked as a terminologist in TSK since 1995. She came to work in a terminology collection project for the EU, and since then has participated in many other terminology projects as well as in TSK's basic services. TSK will continue the same policy that has become familiar in the recent years. We want to strengthen our position as a national terminology centre by working in many important social fields. The methods of terminology work will stay as the basis for all our work, but we will develop better ways to respond to the needs of the information society. A good example of this is the Finnish Group for IT Terminology. The Group works on a continuous basis, the results are published on the Internet and the members communicate by e-mail. These new methods and the subject itself have aroused wide interest and encouraged many new people, often ordinary language users, to participate in terminology work. At the moment we are arranging Nordterm 2001 symposium in Tuusula, Finland. Almost 80 participants have already registered and the terminology course is fully-booked. We hope that the Nordterm days will be fruitful for all participants intellectually and socially. We wish all Terminfo readers a nice summer!

    Markku Lammi

    Markku Lammi, the Managing Director of Taloustieto Oy and Director of Finance and Communications of the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ETLA, became a member of TSK's board of directors in 1998. Lammi thinks that the board of directors should above all direct, develop and control the activities of the association. In his opinion it is essential that the board of directors discusses TSK's strategies and policies.

    "The board of directors is responsible for the economy and administration, and so it is important that the board is versatile and consists of experts from different fields", says Lammi. "It is good that there are representatives from the field of science, associations, clients and so on." Lammi thinks that he can offer knowledge and information on an organization that receives external project funding, because most of ETLA's project funding comes from project customers.

    Lammi divides TSK's most essential tasks in four categories. TSK produces information on terms and it is important that this information is available to all, not just to the client who ordered the project. The second task is to provide services to TSK's members. Third task is to use terminological know-how widely, for example, in different projects. Fourth task is terminological research and development work.

    Taloustieto is a small publishing firm which publishes literature, dictionaries and vocabularies on economy. The most famous of Taloustieto's publications is Taloussanasto, a dictionary of economy, which contains concepts in the fields of national economy and business economics, as well as definitions and foreign equivalents. Taloustieto is owned by ETLA which carries out research on economics, business and social policy as well as makes economic forecasts. And, like TSK, ETLA is a non-profit association that has its own members.

    How to describe actions and events in different special fields

    Nina Pilke is a researcher in the Department of Scandinavian Languages in the University of Vaasa. She writes about her thesis Dynamic specialist concepts. Structuring knowledge concerning actions and events within the fields of technology, medicine and law. She has studied how dynamic concepts are described in special field vocabularies. For this reason she studied 1500 Swedish definitions found in LSP glossaries on technology, medicine and law. She wanted to work with as different fields as possible in order to get a general picture on the way how knowledge on actions and events is structured.

    There are no ready terminological methods for actions and events, and Pilke's aim was to develop methods that can be used when special field actions and events are analysed and described. Her analysis shows that action concepts are described in glossaries by stating who does, why, how, in which circumstances, where and when somebody does something. Event concepts are described by stating what has caused the event and how, where and when the event occurs. Based on these findings she developed a characteristic system that has six categories for action concepts: agent (who?), intention (why?), method (how?), situation (circumstances), place (where?) and time (when?); and four for event concepts: influencing factor (reason?), way (how?), place (where?) and time (when?).

    Her analysis of those characteristics that are realized in the definitions of concepts widens the traditional terminological analysis. She introduces and focuses on semantic categories, called dimensions, in the characteristic categories. First she has classified the characteristics according to characteristic categories, e.g. time. Then she has studied which semantic categories may be distinguished from the material in each category. For example, in the category of time the characteristics can express order in relation to other courses of events, extension of time or frequency.

    Terminological methods have proved to be useful and effective tools in the analysis of specialist concepts and in disseminating knowledge irrespective of a special field. Pilke's study shows that, on the one hand, technology, medicine and law use the same features when defining concepts, but on the other hand they also have their own typical features because of the different research objects and different ways of understanding them.

    It is typical for technology that the agent who does something is left out of a definition because the result is more important than who does it. Whereas in medicine the agent who performs the action can be important because certain operations demand certain competence, e.g. only a doctor has the right to issue a sick leave certificate.

    The majority of terms in Pilke's material were nouns. In such cases that a concept was represented by both a noun and a verb, the term record with the noun term contained more information than the term record with the verb term. There could also be a reference to the other term record. If these two terms are placed in different term records without a direct reference, the information on the intension of a concept is easily given twice in somewhat varying wording, and the user of the glossary may think that they are two separate concepts.

    The European Year of Languages 2001

    The European Union and the Council of Europe have declared this year as the European Year of Languages. The Year concerns all 47 member states of the EU and the Council and all languages used in Europe.

    Europe is a linguistically and culturally diversified community which has a huge cultural value. The Year of Languages is meant to promote Europe's linguistic diversity. The purpose is to make European citizens appreciate and protect multilingualism in their own societies. The second objective of the Year is to make more and more citizens realize the importance of language learning: that language learning develops tolerance and understanding between people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Language skills obtained by learning facilitate free movement, employment opportunities, education and information flow.

    An opening conference for the European Year of Languages took place in Lund, Sweden, in February. The EU will organize a Europe-wide information campaign which includes publications, material for the mass media and advertising. In addition, conferences and competitions related to language skills and teaching will be arranged. A European language day will be arranged on 26 September 2001 and an event to mark the end of the Year will be in December in Belgium.

    Vocabulary of Real Estate Business

    The project on real estate business terminology was started in the summer 2000 on the initiative of the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients (RAKLI). The purpose of the project was to clarify the basic concepts of real estate business by giving them generally acceptable definitions. The project group consisted of experts in the real estate field and TSK's terminologists.

    The Vocabulary of Real Estate Business contains 105 concepts and 11 concept diagrams. The concepts are defined in Finnish, and equivalents are given in English. This Terminfo article contains the first two chapters of the vocabulary which deal with the basic concepts of real estate business and real estate management. The whole vocabulary is available on RAKLI's web site
    ( as a PDF file.

    From terminology to lexicography

    Virpi Kalliokuusi started her career as a terminologist eleven years ago, when she came to work in TSK. Since then she has been involved in many activities and has grown from a novice terminologist to be a prominent figure in TSK. In recent years Kalliokuusi has also taken care of the duties of TSK's acting director in addition to her terminological work. Her work has been greatly appreciated in TSK and more widely, too.

    This spring Kalliokuusi's career took a new turn when she left TSK and took up the position of a Publishing Manager in a Finnish publishing company. This gave her an excellent opportunity to deepen her lexicographical know-how.

    One of TSK's basic tasks is to compile multilingual special field vocabularies which are based on terminological concept analysis. Kalliokuusi participated in compiling vocabularies in many special fields. For example, social affairs and health and real estate business can be mentioned of recent terminology projects.

    One of TSK's important Finnish vocabulary projects in the end of the 90's was a project on environment terminology, and Kalliokuusi was the project leader. This project was challenging in many ways, the subject field was very wide and many concepts were in the boundary between the standard language and a special language. Therefore the expert group was large and the viewpoints of experts from various subfields had to be reconciled. After a couple of years of devoted work the Environment Vocabulary was published in 1998.

    Another TSK's basic task is to develop the methods of terminology work. Kalliokuusi discussed the usability of vocabularies based on terminological concept analysis in many lectures and articles. Concept analysis is a powerful tool for making systematic terminologies, but this systematic approach has its own weaknesses as well. TSK's vocabularies may be difficult to use, and perhaps the biggest reason for this is that definitions are not independent.

    According to terminological principles the characteristics of a related concept defined elsewhere in a vocabulary must not be repeated. In practice, this means that in order to understand one definition the reader has to check several other definitions in the vocabulary. Kalliokuusi thinks that the requirement to avoid unnecessary repetition in definitions may be discarded, i.e. the characteristics of a related concept can be placed or its definition can be written almost in full in another definition. Notes supplementing a definition are also important. Such additional information that is relevant to understanding a concept may be expressed more freely in notes. In some cases additional information on different viewpoints may bring clarity.

    As a national terminology centre TSK has participated in the standardization of terminology work in ISO/TC 37. For many years Kalliokuusi took part in the preparation of standards and in the meetings of work groups. The EURALEX conferences in 1998 and 2000 can be mentioned as other international forums which Kalliokuusi considered important. She lectured in both of them with professor Krista Varantola on user-sensitive lexical resources.

    Nordic Nordterm cooperation is important for TSK as an organization and for most terminologists personally. Kalliokuusi has participated actively in Nordterm work, and for the last two years she has been the president of the Nordterm Steering Committee. Kalliokuusi was a member of Nordterm's Working Group that plans terminology training in the Nordic countries.

    Nordterm – an experienced 25-year-old

    Anna-Lena Bucher is the managing director of the Swedish Centre for Terminology and will be the president of the Nordterm Steering Committee from July 2001. She writes about the history of Nordterm.

    The starting point for Nordterm was in 1976 when representatives from TSK, Norwegian Council for Technical Terminology RTT, Danish Terminology Group and TNC met in Stockholm for the first time to discuss technical language and terminology. At that time TSK and the Danish Group were only a couple of years old. In Norway and Sweden organized terminology work had been done since the 1930's. The first meeting was a Nordic terminology symposium called Nordterm, and this name became the name for the Nordic cooperation, too.

    The first combination of cooperation parties was expanded with the Icelandic Language Council in 1983 and the Nordic Sami Institute in 1991. Nordterm's constitution was written in 1987. According to it Nordterm is to be a Nordic forum and network for terminology work. Nordterm will:

    • promote cooperation among the Nordic countries in the field of terminology through the exchange of information, through joint projects and by holding conferences and symposia;
    • ensure the influence of the Nordic countries in terminology development at an international level;
    • work in the areas of terminology research, practical terminology work, education in terminology and other activities that have to do with terminology.

    Nordterm has a flexible organization and no own financing. Its highest body is the Steering Committee with representatives from each participating organization. Different activities are carried out in Working Groups and Project Groups. The Nordterm Assembly meets every two years at a conference. This year the conference will be organized by TSK in Finland.

    What practical results Nordterm has achieved? It has, for example, arranged four courses for researchers, and participates in the work of ISO/TC37 Terminology. Principles and coordination. Guide to Terminology, written by TSK's former director and former chairperson of ISO/TC37 Heidi Suonuuti, has been published. Nordterm members have developed a Nordic Terminological Record Format (NTRF) for structuring terminological information e.g. in termbanks.

    The two most important projects recently have been Nordterm-Net and EFCOT which were partly financed by the EU. The aim of Nordterm-Net was to create a forum for all those who are interested in terminology in the form of a web site on the Internet. In the EFCOT project the model of the Joint Group for Swedish Computer Technology was used to start similar groups in other European countries, e.g. in Finland, Norway and Denmark.

    Many happy returns to the 25-year old!


    EnDic2000, Environmental Dictionary contains about 4600 term records and seven languages: Finnish, Estonian, English, German, Swedish, Latvian and Russian. For taxonomic terms, Latin is added as the eighth language. About 1500 terms have been defined in Finnish, Estonian and English. Terms cover the fields of water sector, environmental protection, nature conservation, geography, meteorology, biology and environmental technology.

    Dictionary of nuclear engineering
    The Finnish Nuclear Society has published an electronic dictionary of nuclear engineering called Glossary 2000. It contains about 700 terms in Finnish, Swedish, English, French, German and Russian and definitions in Finnish.

    The Dictionary of Physical Geography
    The third edition of The Dictionary of Physical Geography contains over 2000 entries on the fields of geomorphology, climatology, biogeography, zoogeography, hydrology, pedology and remote sensing. There is a definition in each entry, and the book contains plenty of pictures, maps and graphics.

    Quality standard
    The Finnish Standards Association has ratified the standard SFS-EN ISO 9000 Quality management systems. Fundamentals and vocabulary. The standard contains terms and definitions in Finnish and English.