Recognition and interpretations of the Finnish word kiertotalous ’circular economy’



One possible solution to the global problems is sustainable circular economy. It is an economic model, which supports limiting climate change and curbing overconsumption
of natural resources and which at the same time strengthens economy and employment. The transfer to a new model requires understanding of the concept. However, the word for
‘circular economy’ is not very familiar to the public.

This paper investigates how the Finnish word kiertotalous ’circular economy’ is recognised by first-year students. The survey was carried out among language students and business students in the universities of Turku and Eastern Finland in 2019 and 2020. The research questions are as follows: How do the students infer the meaning of the compound word on the grounds of its parts? How do they express epistemic modality, i.e. the degree of certainty, in their response? What kind of attitudes the respondents have towards circular economy? How has the recognition of the word changed in 1.5 years?

The results show that kiertotalous has become clearly more familiar during the research period and the certainty has increased, though different means of expressing uncertainty
are common in both surveys.

Paula Sjöblom, Turun yliopisto
Ville Virsu, Turun yliopisto

Published (in Finnish): Puhe ja kieli, 41:4, 265–284 (2021)

Potential beneficiaries of the results: Ministries, companies, research and development organizations, cities and municipalities, media and central organizations.

More infomation:
Paula Sjöblom, Turun yliopisto
Ville Virsu, Turun yliopisto