Vol. 70 No. 1 (2022): Names: A Journal of Onomastics

Mapping Digital Discourses of the Capital Region of Finland: Combining Onomastics, CADS, and GIS

Jarmo Harri Jantunen
University of Jyväskylä
Terhi Ainiala
University of Helsinki
Salla Jokela
Tampere University
Jenny Tarvainen
University of Jyväskylä

Published 2022-03-09


  • corpus-assisted onomastics,
  • corpus-assisted discourse studies, CADS, ,
  • geographic information systems,
  • GIS,
  • discourse prosody,
  • toponyms,
  • corpus linguistics,
  • Finland
  • ...More


This article discusses the three Finnish city names Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa, and the urban discourses that surround them. The study reveals patterns of socio-spatial differentiation by examining what meanings people attach to these capital region cities and investigating how these meanings are expressed in online discourses. Using the methodological approach of corpus-assisted onomastics (CAO), this study incorporates onomastics, geographical information systems (GIS), and corpus linguistics. This interdisciplinary research also examines how corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) and GIS can be combined to reveal and visualize the contextual information and discursive patterns of toponyms. For this investigation, a data set of 2.7 billion words was collected from the Suomi24 Corpus, one of the biggest discussion fora in Finland. The use of social media corpus as a data source increases the authenticity of this research, as the data was not collected specifically for this study. The analysis reveals that the most frequent digital discourses about the cities refer to places and directions, housing, and mobility. The occurrences differ quantitatively and qualitatively between each city. This paper paves the way for future onomastic studies to research actual name usage using this new methodology. Knowledge gained from such research may not only enrich the field of onomastics, but also facilitate more socially sustainable urban planning.


  1. Ainiala, Terhi and Jarmo Harri Jantunen. 2018. “Hur slangnamnen Hesa och Stadi används i en diskussionsgrupp: en öppning för korpusassisterad onomastik.” [How the Slang Names Hesa and Stadi are Used in a Discussion Group: An Opening for Corpus-assisted Onomastics.] Presentation in 48th NORNA symposium Names in Writing in Göteborg November 29–30 2018. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://docplayer.se/124285330-Norna-s-48-e-symposium-i-goteborg-november-namn-i-skrift-names-in-writing.html
  2. Ainiala, Terhi and Jarmo Harri Jantunen. 2019. “Korpusonomastinen tutkimus slanginimistä Hesa ja Stadi digitaalisissa diskursseissa.” [Corpus Onomastic Research on the Slang Names Hesa and Stadi in Digital Discourses.] Sananjalka 61, no 61: 57–79. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://journal.fi/sananjalka/article/view/80312
  3. Ainiala, Terhi and Hanna Lappalainen. 2017. “Orienting to Norms: Variability in the Use of Names for Helsinki.” In Socio-onomastics: The Pragmatics of Names, edited by Terhi Ainiala and Jan-Ola Östman, 130–153. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://benjamins.com/catalog/pbns.275.06ain
  4. Ainiala, Terhi and Jan-Ola Östman. 2017. “Introduction: Socio-onomastics and Pragmatics.” In Socio-onomastics: The Pragmatics of Names, edited by Terhi Ainiala and Jan-Ola Östman, 1–18. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://benjamins.com/catalog/pbns.275.06ain
  5. Anthony, Laurence. 2017. AntConc 3.5.0. Tokyo: Waseda University. Accessed June 16, 2020.
  6. https://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/antconc/
  7. Baker, Paul. 2006. Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.
  8. Baker, Paul, Costas Gabrielatos, Majid Khosravinik, Michal Krzyżanowski, Tony McEnery, and Ruth Wodak. 2008. “A Useful Methodological Synergy? Combining Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics to Examine Discourses of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press.” Discourse & Society 19, no. 3: 273–306. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926508088962
  9. Barnes, Trevor J. and James S. Duncan, eds. 1992. Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text and Metaphor in the Representation of Landscape. London: Routledge.
  10. Bjorge, Anne Kari. 2003. “The Explicitation of Proper Names in Expository News Texts.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics 13, no. 1: 115–138. Accessed June 16, 2020.
  11. https://doi.org/10.1111/1473-4192.00040
  12. Clapham, David. 2005. The Meaning of Housing: A Pathways Approach. Bristol: Policy Press.
  13. Crang, Mike. 2015. “The Promises and Perils of Digital Geohumanities.” Cultural Geographies 22, no. 2:
  14. –360. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474015572303
  15. Dalen-Oskam, Karina. 2013. “Names in Novels: An Experiment in Computational Stylistics.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 28, no. 2: 359–370. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1093/llc/fqs007
  16. de Koning, Anouk. 2015. “This Neighbourhood Deserves an Espresso Bar too’: Neoliberalism, Racialization, and Urban Policy.” Antipode 47, no. 5: 1203–1223. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12150
  17. De Stefani, Elwys. 2016. “Names and Discourse”. In The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming, edited by Carole Hough, 52–66. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  18. Donaldson, Christopher, Ian N. Gregory, and Joanna E. Taylor. 2017.
  19. “Implementing Corpus Analysis and GIS to Examine Historical Accounts of the English Lake District”. In Historical Atlas: Its Concepts and Methodologies, edited by Peter Bol. 152–172. Seoul: Northeast Asian History Foundation. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Implementing-corpus-analysis-and-GIS-to-examine-of-Donaldson-Gregory/d1bf6298e62bc4c5be273ec22a58abcdc0e31eb1
  20. FIAM (website). Finnish Internet Audience Measurement: Tulokset [Results]– Comscore MMX MP. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://fiam.fi/tulokset/.
  21. 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. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqr022
  22. 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. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.3366/ijhac.2015.0135
  23. Halverson, Sandra L. and Jan Oska Engene. 2010. “Domains and Dimensions in Metonymy: A Corpus-Based Study of Schengen and Maastricht.” Metaphor and Symbol 25, no. 1: 1–18. Accessed June16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926480903538456
  24. Haraway, Donna. 1996. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Human Geography: An Essential Anthology, edited by J. Agnew, D. Livingstone, and A. Rogers. Malden, 108–128. MA: Blackwell Publishing. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.2307/3178066
  25. Hunston, Susan. 2007. “Semantic Prosody Revisited.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 12, no. 2: 249–268. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1075/ijcl.12.2.09hun
  26. Hämäläinen, Lasse. 2019. “Nimet verkossa: Tutkimus verkkoyhteisöjen käyttäjänimistä ja virtuaalisen minigolfpelin radannimistä.” [Names on the Internet: A Study of User Names in Online Communities and Level Names in a Virtual Minigolf Game.] Doctoral Thesis, The University of Helsinki. Accessed June 16, 2020. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5259-6
  27. Ikonen, Hanna-Mari. 2010. “Muutu ihmiseksi, joka olet: Maalla-lehti jälkimodernin työntekijän ja paikan kuvaajana.” [Become the Person You Are: A Postmodern Employee and Place as Presented in the Country Living Magazine.] Alue ja ympäristö [Region & Environment] 39, no. 2: 39–52. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303685665_Muutu_ihmiseksi_joka_olet_-_Maalla-lehti _jalkimodernin_tyontekijan_ja_paikan_kuvaajana
  28. Jantunen, Jarmo Harri. 2018. “Korpusavusteinen diskurssintutkimus (CADS): analyysiesimerkki homouden ja heterouden digitaalisista diskursseista.” [Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies (CADS): Digital Discourses of Homosexuality and Heterosexuality as a Research Example]. AFinLA-e 11, 20–44. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.30660/afinla.69259
  29. Jokela, Salla, and Hannu Linkola. 2013. “‘State Idea’ in the Photographs of Geography and Tourism in Finland in the 1920s.” National Identities 15, no. 3: 257–275. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1080/14608944.2013.779644
  30. Kamandulytė, Laura. 2006. Identity Analysis Based on the Methodology of Corpus Linguistics. Kaunas: Vytautas Magnus University. Accessed June 16, 2020.
  31. Kitchin, Rob. 2013. “Big Data and Human Geography: Opportunities, Challenges and Risks.” Dialogues in Human Geography 3, no. 3: 262–267. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820613513388
  32. Lappe, Sabine. 2002. “Monosyllabicity in Prosodic Morphology: The Case of Truncated Personal Names in English.” In Yearbook of Morphology, edited by G. E. Booij and Jaap van Marle, 135–186. Springer-Verlag: Netherlands. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/0-306-48223-1_6
  33. Laversuch, I. M. 2011. “‘May Change Name and Pretend to be Free’: A Corpus Linguistic Investigation of Surnames Adopted by Fugitive Slaves as Advertised in Colonial American Newspapers Between 1729 and 1818.” Names 59, no. 4: 191–203. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1179/002777311X13095112507404
  34. Lilius, Johanna. 2018. Reclaiming Cities as Spaces of Middle Class Parenthood. Singapore: Springer Verlag.
  35. MacAulay, Lauren, Daniel Siddiqi, and Ida Toivonen. 2019. “The Age of Aidans: Cognitive Underpinnings of a New Trend in English Boys’ Names.” Names 67, no. 3: 160–174. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/00277738.2018.1490523
  36. Marchi, Anna, and Charlotte Taylor. 2018. “Introduction: Partiality & Reflexivity.” In Corpus Approaches to Discourse. A Critical Review, edited by Charlotte Taylor and Anna March, 1–15. London: Routledge.
  37. Martin, Deborah G. 2003. “Place-Framing’ as Place-Making: Constituting a Neighborhood for Organizing and Activism.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93, no. 3: 730–750. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8306.9303011
  38. META-SHARE (website). The Suomi24 Corpus. Accessed June 16, 2020. http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi:lb-2015120401
  39. Motschenbacher, Heiko. 2020a. “Corpus Linguistic Onomastics: A Plea for a Corpus-Based Investigation of Names.” Names 68, no. 2: 88–103. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/00277738.2020.1731240
  40. Motschenbacher, Heiko. 2020b. “Greece, the Netherlands and (the) Ukraine: A Corpus-Based Study of Definite Article Use with Country Names”. Names 68, no. 1: 1–16. Accessed June 16, 2020. ttps://doi.org/10.1080/00277738.2020.1731241
  41. Murrieta-Flores, Patricia, Alistar Baron, Ian N. Gregory, Andrew Hardie, and Paul Rayson. 2015. “Automatically Analyzing Large Texts in a GIS Environment: The Registrar General's Reports and Cholera in the 19th Century.” Transactions in GIS 19, no. 2: 296–320. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/tgis.12106
  42. Nick, I. M. 2017. “Squaw Teats*, Harney Peak, and Negrohead Creek*: A Corpus-Linguistic Investigation of Proposals to Change Official US Toponymy to (Dis)honor Indigenous US Americans.” Names 65, no. 4: 223–234. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/00277738.2017.1370067
  43. Nurminen, Terhi Johanna. 2012. Hill-terms in the Place-names of Northumberland and County Durham. Newcastle: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Accessed June 16, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/10443/1602
  44. Ohlander, Solve, and Gunnar Bergh. 2004. “Taliban—A Rogue Word in Present-Day English Grammar.” English Studies 85, no. 3: 206–229. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1080/00138380412331339120
  45. Pagan, Joseph Martin. 1998. A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in the Ebla Texts. Rome: Missione archeologica italiana in Siria.
  46. Paterson, Laura L., and Ian N. Gregory. 2018. Representations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to Understand Discourse. Palgrave MacMillan: Cham, Switzerland.
  47. 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.
  48. Pierini, Patrizia. 2008. “Opening a Pandora's Box: Proper Names in English Phraseology.” Linguistik Online 36, no. 4: 43–58. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.13092/lo.36.518
  49. Poole, Robert. 2018. “Ecolinguistics, GIS, and Corpus Linguistics for the Analysis of the Rosemont Copper Mine Debate.” Environmental Communication 12, no. 4: 525–540. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1080/17524032.2016.1275735
  50. Presner, Todd, and David Shepard. 2015. “Mapping the Geospatial Turn.” In A New Companion to Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, 199–212. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118680605.ch14
  51. Rayson, Paul, and Roger Garside. 2000. “Comparing Corpora Using Frequency Profiling.” In WCC '00 Proceedings of the workshop on Comparing corpora 9, edited by Adam Kilgarrif and Tony Berber Sardinha, 1–6. New Brunswick: The Association for Computational Linguistics. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3115/1117729.1117730
  52. Richardson, Tim and Ole B. Jensen. 2003. “Linking Discourse and Space: Towards a Cultural Sociology of Space in Analysing Spatial Policy Discourses.” Urban Studies 40, no. 1: 7–22. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1080/00420980220080131
  53. Sadah, S. A., M. Shahbazi, M. T. Wiley, and V. Hristidis. 2015. “A Study of the Demographics of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media Users.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 17, no. 8: e194. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.2196/jmir.4308
  54. Scott, James W., and Christophe Sohn. 2019. “Place-making and the Bordering of Urban Space: Interpreting the Emergence of New Neighborhoods in Berlin and Budapest.” European Urban and Regional Studies 26, no. 3: 297–313. Accessed June 16, 2020. 10.1177/0969776418764577
  55. Scott, Mike, and Christopher Tribble. 2006. Textual Patterns: Key Words and Corpus Analysis in Language Education. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.
  56. Sinclair, John. 2004. Trust the Text: Language, Corpus and Discourse. London: Routledge.
  57. Smail, Rob, Ian Gregory, and Joanna E. Taylor. 2019. “Qualitative Geographies in Digital Texts: Representing Historical Spatial Identities in the Lake District.” International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 13, no. 1–2: 28–38. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3366/ijhac.2019.0229
  58. Soja, Edward. 2000. Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions. Oxford: Blackwell.
  59. Statistics Finland. 2021. “Population.” Accessed May 22, 2021. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_vaesto_en.html
  60. Stubbs, Michael. 2001. Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.
  61. Tanaka, Yu. 2016. “Phonotactically-Driven Rendaku in Surnames: A Linguistic Study Using Social Media.” In Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin, 519–528. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Phonotactically-Driven-Rendaku-in-Surnames%3A-A-Study-Tanaka/542dc8774610c9f435533f1ca003eff02a109122
  62. Tse, Grace Y. W. 2004. “A Grammatical Study of Personal Names in Present-Day English: With Special Reference to the Usage of the Definite Article.” English Studies 85, no. 3: 241–259. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/00138380412331339140
  63. Tuñón, Laura Cantora. 2013. Proper Names as Cultural Referents in British Chick Lit: A Corpus-based Analysis of their Translations into Spanish and Italian. Leeds: The University of Leeds.
  64. Ulkomaalaistaustaiset Helsingissä [Population with Foreign Background in Helsinki]. 2021. “Alueellinen sijoittuminen” [Spatial Distribution of Population with foreign background.]) Accessed May 28, 2021. https://ulkomaalaistaustaisethelsingissa.fi/fi/alueellinensijoittuminen.
  65. Vaičenonienė, Jūratė. 2001. “Using Corpora to Obtain Social and Cultural Information: A Case Study of America.” Kalbu Studijos / Studies about Language 1, no. 1: 6–9. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=805610
  66. Vilkama, Katja., Henrik Lönnqvist, Jenni Väliniemi-Laurson, and Martti Tuominen. 2014. Erilaistuva pääkaupunkiseutu: Sosioekonomiset erot alueittain 2002–2012. [Differentiating Capital Area: Socio-economic Differences by Region 2002–2012.] Helsinki: Helsingin kaupungin tietokeskus. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.hel.fi/hel2/helsinginseutu/liitteet/PKS_erilaistuva_seutu_tieke.pdf
  67. Williams, Matthew L., Peter Burnap, Luke Sloan, Curtis Jessop, and Hayley Lepps. 2017. “Users’ Views of Ethics in Social Media Research: Informed Consent, Anonymity and Harm.” In The Ethics of Online Research, edited by Kandy Woodfield, 27–51. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2398-601820180000002002
  68. Wirth, Louis. 1938. “Urbanism as a Way of Life.” American Journal of Sociology 44, no. 1: 1–24. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/217913