Ecolinguistic Approach to Online Finnish Discourse on Invasive Alien Species

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Harri Uusitalo
Karita Suomalainen


This ecolinguistic article investigates how alien species are perceived in mundane interactions in Finnish online discussions, based on data collected from the popular Finnish Suomi24 online discussion forum. We ask: What organisms does the lexical item vieraslaji ‘alien species’ cover for the forum participants, and what kinds of discourses are built around the term vieraslaji? The results of digital content analysis and discourse analysis show that nonhuman animals and humans are much more common topics than plants; this indicates that the nature discourse related to alien species is animal centered and that certain species dominate the discussions. The lexical item vieraslaji is used in affective contexts, reflecting the fact that discussion of invasive species is emotionally laden. Our analysis also reveals that the discursive features of online discussions on invasive species show similarities with online anti-immigration hate speech discourse, and that xenophobic discourse is partially inspired by the nature discourse. Based on these results, we argue that a more diverse discussion about alien species is needed.

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How to Cite
Uusitalo, H., & Suomalainen, K. . (2023). Ecolinguistic Approach to Online Finnish Discourse on Invasive Alien Species. Language@Internet, 21, 57–78. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Harri Uusitalo, University of Turku

Harri Uusitalo is a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Turku. He studies both historical and modern Finnish texts, often from an ecolinguistic perspective.

Karita Suomalainen, Åbo Akademi University

Karita Suomalainen is a University Lecturer at Åbo Akademi University (Finnish department). Her research interests lie at the intersection of semantics, grammar, and interaction.