Is there a project-specific terminology?

August 20, 2018 11:15 am


Kristina Pelikan defended her PhD thesis in 2017 at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany (TU Berlin), focussing on different aspects of project communication in an EU FP7 research project. She works as Research Associate at TU Berlin and holds a second position at the Swiss Tropical- and Public Health-Institute in Basel, Switzerland (Swiss TPH). Please find here a brief summary of her PhD research linked with one of the papers of her cumulative thesis to which you can also find direct access at the end. We hope you will enjoy her work! 

In my PhD, supervised by Prof. Thorsten Roelcke (TU Berlin) and Prof. Jakob Zinsstag (Swiss TPH, University of Basel), I analysed the communication of the research project “Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Africa” (AMASA), funded by EU FP7. Aims of my PhD study are for instance:

·        Present applied linguistics for solving problems related to project communication and therewith enhance the communication of AMASA.

·        Validate known models from research on languages for specific purposes and provide suggestions for revision.

The study shows how communication optimisation could be done in this setting and how this goes hand in hand with the further development of research methods and models. The thesis closes with suggestions for further research of applied linguistics – in practice. Additionally, the thesis includes the advice to establish (as leading house) and request (as funding agency) strategic internal project communication as mandatory part of the communication concept.

The paper presented here, refers to the observation that within (research) projects, a kind of “common language” accrues. In the case of AMASA, this project-specific terminology was not created consciously. The paper gives scientific evidence on the existence of project-specific terms – further, it provides answers to questions as for instance:

·        How can this terminology be defined and classified?

·        How does this specific terminology arise and which functions does it fulfil?

·        How does the acquisition of this terminology happen?

The paper argues that project-specific terminology has similar characteristics and fulfils several functions as corporate wording in business communication. The benefits of a strategically implemented corporate wording are widely known. The development of specific wording for research projects has been neglected in research so far – although it could verifiably lead to enhancing project communication, though.

Now after my PhD, I am still working on topics related to terminology – in research and teaching. My focus is on the communication of transdisciplinary research projects, analysing their languages for specific purposes, multilingualism, communication between different national and disciplinary cultures, etc. Therefore, I still appreciate the access to interesting material at Swiss TPH. As far as possible, I continue to transfer topics and results of my research into my teaching for master students at Technische Universität Berlin.


Is there a project-specific terminology? Considerations focussing a public health project. In: Fachsprache – International Journal of Specialized Communication 38: 62-82.

More publications can be found on ResearchGate:



 2,543 total views,  3 views today

Categorised in: , ,

Leave a Reply