Interdisciplinary Team from Finland Wins Best Article of the Year 2022!


This year, the NAMES Editorial Board selected the article "Mapping Digital Discourses of the Capital Region of Finland: Combing Onomastics, CADS, and GIS" for the Best Article of the Year for 2022.  The winning publication was co-authored by Jarmo Harri Jantunen (University of Jyväskylä), Terhi Ainiala (University of Helsinki), Salla Jokela (Tampere University), and Jenny Tarvainen (University of Jyväskylä).  The team kindly agreed to give NAMES Editor-in-Chief, Professor I. M. Nick, an e-interview about their ground-breaking onomastic research.

1.) How did you develop the idea for this fascinating research project?

To start with, in our understanding, the study of names is primarily multidisciplinary by its very nature. Working as a multidisciplinary group in solving questions linked to naming, urban discourses, and social media was a natural starting point for us. We also had previous experience working together and combining the strengths of our various theoretical and methodological backgrounds. This was the first time all four of us had co-authored an article together. But it certainly won't be our last!

2.) Can you please briefly describe your group writing process and offer any suggestions for other researchers who would like to explore co-authoring?

Terhi Ainiala (University of Helsinki): For our writing process, we were very disciplined. We made an exact schedule for us to follow and agreed on division of labor. Of major importance were the regular online meetings in which we discussed all the relevant issues including the research questions, the structure of the article, theoretical and methodological choices etc.  We found that when conducting multidisciplinary research, it is also beneficial to discuss the possibilities and limitations of the various disciplines, as well as the definitions of various concepts. We also had sessions in which we worked with the data together and discussed our choices. All the practices would probably work well for other groups as well.  And, one of  the most important pieces of advice we have is to work with people you enjoy working with!


3.) What is your biggest piece of advice to researchers who do not have English as their native language but are interested in publishing with an English-language journal?

Be both bold and modest! Remember that you’re the expert on your subject, and people are naturally interested in research done outside of the English-speaking world. At the same time, be aware that your English may not be at the level expected for publishing in an English-language scientific journal. The good news is there’s help available. Proof-reading services are offered by native speakers of English at many universities. English is the major language in publishing.  So it's important to publish in English to reach the international audience who will be interested in your results. Nevertheless, there is also a need to publish in your own mother tongue.

4.) Many winners of this award have come from Nordic countries. Can you provide a brief description of the onomastic scene in this region of the world?

In Nordic countries, there is a long tradition in collaboration within onomastics. For example, the Nordic Cooperative Committee for Onomastic Research (NORNA ) has been in existence more than 50 years already. In recent years, Nordic researchers in socio-onomastics have established their own network. Thanks to these initiatives, dynamic theoretical and methodological discussions as well as excitingly diverse joint projects have continued to be at the core of Nordic onomastics. These cooperations have made it possible to develop new and innovative perspectives into onomastics. Moreover, young researchers including doctoral students and even MA students, have always been welcomed into these organizations.  Onomastics has also been a mainstay of the curriculum at many Nordic universities. Nevertheless, there are not that many onomasticians in Norcic countries.  This means that  we have to work hard to keep onomastics invigorated here. Collaborations with multiple researchers from different countries and in various disciplines are also crucial.

5.) Can you recommend a few books or articles for onomasticians who are new to GIS and CADS?


Baker, Paul. 2006. Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.

Partington, Alan, Alison Duguid, and Charlotte Taylor. 2013. Patterns and Meanings in Discourse: Theory and Practice in Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies (CADS). Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.


Gregory, Ian N, and Andrew Hardie. 2011. “Visual GISting: Bringing Together Corpus Linguistics and Geographical Information Systems.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 26, no. 3: 297–314.

Gregory, Ian N., Christopher Donaldson, Patricia Murrieta-Flores, and Paul Rayson. 2015. “Geoparsing, GIS, and Textual Analysis: Current Developments in Spatial Humanities Research.” International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 9, no. 1: 1–14. 10.3366/ijhac.2015.0135

6.) Whom did you first tell about receiving the ANS award for best article of the year?

Terhi Ainiala (University of Helsinki): I read my e-mail bright and early.  I  immediately told my husband about the delightful news. He was very happy on my behalf.

Jarmo H. Jantunen (University of Jyväskylä): I first told some of my colleagues at the department, participants in a post-grad doctoral seminar, and  some good friends as well. We toasted the achievement!

Jenny Tarvainen (University of Jyväskylä): I was chatting with my mother when I read the e-mail, and I shared the news with her first. It just so happened that my thesis was being discussed in the doctoral seminar that day. So the news could not have come better time!