Skip to main content

Swedification patterns of Latin and Greek affixes in clinical text

  • Gintarė Grigonytė (a1), Maria Kvist (a2), Mats Wirén (a3), Sumithra Velupillai (a4) and Aron Henriksson (a5)...

Swedish medical language is rich with Latin and Greek terminology which has undergone a Swedification since the 1980s. However, many original expressions are still used by clinical professionals. The goal of this study is to obtain precise quantitative measures of how the foreign terminology is manifested in Swedish clinical text. To this end, we explore the use of Latin and Greek affixes in Swedish medical texts in three genres: clinical text, scientific medical text and online medical information for laypersons. More specifically, we use frequency lists derived from tokenised Swedish medical corpora in the three domains, and extract word pairs belonging to types that display both the original and Swedified spellings. We describe six distinct patterns explaining the variation in the usage of Latin and Greek affixes in clinical text. The results show that to a large extent affixes in clinical text are Swedified and that prefixes are used more conservatively than suffixes.

Hide All
Allvin, Helen. 2010. Patientjournalen som genre. En text- och genreanalys om patientjournalers relation till patientdatalagen [The patient record as genre: A text and genre analysis of the relationship of patient records and the patient data act]. Bachelor thesis, Department of Nordic Languages, Stockholm University.
Baayen, R. Harald. 2010. The directed compound graph of English: An exploration of lexical connectivity and its processing consequences. In Olson, Susan (ed.), New Impulses in Word-formation (Linguistische Berichte Sonderheft 17), 383402. Hamburg: Buske.
Banay, George L. 1948. An introduction to medical terminology I: Greek and Latin derivations. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 36 (1), 127.
Bretschneider, Claudia, Zillner, Sonja & Hammon, Matthias. 2013. Identifying pathological findings in German radiology reports using a syntacto-semantic parsing approach. In Cohen et al. (eds.), 27–35.
Cohen, K. Bretonnel, Demner-Fushman, Dina, Ananiadou, Sophia, Pestian, John & Tsujii, Junichi (eds.). 2013. Proceedings of the 2013 Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing (BioNLP 2013), 2735. Sofia, Bulgaria: Association for Computational Linguistics.
Dalianis, Hercules, Hassel, Martin, Henriksson, Aron & Skeppstedt, Maria. 2012. Stockholm EPR Corpus: A clinical database used to improve health care. In Nugues, Pierre (ed.), Proceedings of the 4th Swedish Language Technology Conference (SLTC), Lund, 17–18 October, 2526.
Dalianis, Hercules, Hassel, Martin & Velupillai, Sumithra. 2009. The Stockholm EPR Corpus – characteristics and some initial findings. In Bath, Peter A., Petterson, Göran & Steinschaden, Thomas (eds.), Proceedings of ISHIMR 2009. Evaluation and Implementation of E-health and Health Information Initiatives: International Perspectives. 14th International Symposium for Health Information Management Research, Kalmar, Sweden, 243–249.
Fogelberg, Magnus & Petersson, Göran (eds.). 2013. Medicinens språk [The language of medicine]. Stockholm: Liber.
Friedman, Carol, Kra, Pauline & Rzhetsky, Andrey. 2002. Two biomedical sublanguages: A description based on the theories of Zellig Harris. Journal of Biomedical Informatics 35 (4), 222235.
Grigonytė, Gintarė, Kvist, Maria, Velupillai, Sumithra & Wirén, Mats. 2014. Improving readability of Swedish Electronic Health Records through lexical simplification: First results. In Williams, Sandra, Siddharthan, Advaith & Nenkova, Ani (eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Predicting and Improving Text Readability for Target Reader Populations (PITR), Association for Computational Linguistics, 7483.
Hagège, Caroline, Marchal, Pierre, Gicquel, Quentin, Darmoni, Stefan, Pereira, Suzanne & Metzger, Marie-Hélène. 2011. Linguistic and temporal processing for discovering hospital acquired infection from patient records. In Riano, David, ten Teije, Annete, Miksch, Silvia & Peleg, Mor (eds.), Proceedings of the ECAI 2010 Conference on Knowledge Representation for Healthcare, KR4HC’10, 7084. Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer.
Hay, Jennifer B. & Plag, Ingo. 2004. What constrains possible suffix combinations? On the interaction of grammatical and processing restrictions in derivational morphology. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 22, 565596.
Henriksson, Aron, Hassel, Martin & Kvist, Maria. 2011. Diagnosis code assignment support using random indexing of patient records – a qualitative feasibility study. In Peleg, Mor, Lavrac, Nada & Combi, Carlo (eds.), Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIME), Bled, Slovenia, 348352.
Kokkinakis, Dimitrios. 2011a. What is the coverage of SNOMED CT on scientific medical corpora? In Moen, Anne, Andersen, Stig Kjær, Aarts, Jos & Hurlen, Petter (eds.), Procedings of XXIII International Conference of the European Federation for Medical Informatics, 814818. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Kokkinakis, Dimitrios. 2011b. Evaluating the coverage of three controlled health vocabularies with focus on findings, signs and symptoms. In Pedersen, Bolette Sandford, Nešpore, Gunta & Skadiņa, Inguna (eds.), The 18th Nordic Conference of Computational Linguistics (NODALIDA) (NEALT Proceedings Series12), 27–31.
Kokkinakis, Dimitrios. 2012. The journal of the Swedish Medical Association – a corpus resource for biomedical text mining in Swedish. In Ananiadou, Sophia, Cohen, K. Bretonnel, Demner-Fushman, Dina & Thompson, Paul (eds.), The Third Workshop on Building and Evaluating Resources for Biomedical Text Mining (BioTxtM), an LREC Workshop, Turkey, 4044.
Kurimo, Mikko, Virpioja, Sami, Turunen, Ville & Lagus, Krista. 2010. Morpho Challenge Competition 2005–2010: Evaluations and results. Proceedings of the 11th Meeting of the ACL Special Interest Group on Computational Morphology and Phonology, Association for Computational Linguistics, 8795.
Kvist, Maria, Skeppstedt, Maria, Velupillai, Sumithra & Dalianis, Hercules. 2011. Modeling human comprehension of Swedish medical records for intelligent access and summarization systems – future vision, a physician's perspective. In Fensli, Rune & Dale, Jan Gunnar (eds.), Proceedings of Scandinavian Health Informatics Meeting, 31–35.
Kvist, Maria & Velupillai, Sumithra. 2014. SCAN: A Swedish Clinical Abbreviation Normalizer. Further development and adaptation to radiology. In Kanoulas, Evangelos, Lupu, Mihai, Clough, Paul, Sanderson, Mark, Hall, Mark, Hanbury, Allan & Toms, Elaine (eds.), Proceedings from Conference and Labs of the Evaluation Forum (CLEF 2014) (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8685), Sheffield, UK, September 2014, 6273.
Laippala, Veronika, Ginter, Filip, Pyysalo, Sampo & Salakoski, Tapio. 2009. Towards automated processing of clinical Finnish: Sublanguage analysis and a rule-based parser. International Journal of Medical Informatics 78:e7e12.
Nilsson, Inga. 2007. Medicinsk dokumentation genom tiderna: En studie av den svenska patientjournalens utveckling under 1700-talet, 1800-talet och 1900-talet [Medical documentation though time: A study of the Swedish patient record development during the 18th, 19th and 20th century] (Enheten för medicinens historia). Lund: Medical Faculty, Lund University.
NST Dictionary. 2007. Nasjonalbiblioteket. (accessed 17 October 2014).
Nyman, Hans. 2013a. Latinet och svenskan [Latin and Swedish]. In Fogelberg & Petersson (eds.), 42–47.
Nyman, Hans. 2013b. Övriga latinska morfem och vanliga fraser [Additional Latin morphemes and common phrases]. In Fogelberg & Petersson (eds.), 100–106.
Nyman, Hans. 2013c. Grekiskan [Greek]. In Fogelberg & Petersson (eds.), 107–120.
Nyman, Hans. 2013d. Prefix [Prefixes]. In Fogelberg & Petersson (eds.), 121–128.
Östling, Robert. 2013. Stagger: An open-source part of speech tagger for Swedish. Northern European Journal of Language Technology 3, 118. [Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press]
Patterson, Olga & Hurdle, John F.. 2011. Document clustering of clinical narratives: A systematic study of clinical sublanguages. American Medical Informatics Association Annual Proceedings 2011, 1099–1107.
Skeppstedt, Maria. 2013. Adapting a parser to clinical text by simple pre-processing rules. In Cohen et al. (eds.), 98–101.
Skeppstedt, Maria, Kvist, Maria & Dalianis, Hercules. 2012. Rule-based entity recognition and coverage of SNOMED CT in Swedish clinical text. In Calzolari, Nicoletta, Choukri, Khalid, Declerck, Thierry, Doğan, Mehmet Uğur, Maegaard, Bente, Mariani, Joseph, Moreno, Asuncion, Odijk, Jan & Piperidis, Stelios (eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC2012, 1250–1257.
Smedby, Björn. 1991. Medicinens Språk: språket i sjukdomsklassifikationen – mer konsekvent försvenskning eftersträvas [Language of medicine: The language of diagnose classification. More consistent Swedification sought]. Läkartidningen 88 (16), 15191520.
Smedby, Björn. 2013. Klassifikationer och kodverk [Classifications and coding]. In Fogelberg & Petersson (eds.), 180–189.
Smith, Kelly, Megyesi, Beata, Velupillai, Sumithra & Kvist, Maria. 2014. Professional language in Swedish clinical text: Linguistic characterization and comparative studies. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 37 (2), 297323.
Socialdepartementet. 2008. Patientdatalagen [Patient data act]. Svensk författningssamling 2008:355, with changes 2014:829.
Surján, György & Héja, Gergely. 2003. About the language of Hungarian discharge reports. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 95, 869873.
Tanushi, Hideyuki, Kvist, Maria & Sparrelid, Elda. 2014. Detection of healthcare-associated urinary tract infection in Swedish Electronic Health Records. In Grana, Manuel, Toro, Carlos, Howlett, Robert J. & Jain, Lakhmi C. (eds.), Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 207, 330339.
Temnikova, Irina P., Nikolova, Ivelina, Baumgartner, William A. Jr., Angelova, Galia & Cohen, K. Bretonnel. 2013. Closure properties of Bulgarian clinical text. In Angelova, Galia, Bontcheva, Kalina & Mitkov, Ruslan (eds.), Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing, 667–675. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Van Hoof, Henri. 1998. The language of medicine: A comparative ministudy of English and French. In Fischbach, Henry (ed.), Translation and medicine, 4965. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Xu, Hua, Stetson, Peter D. & Friedman, Carol. 2007. A study of abbreviations in clinical notes. In Teich, Jonathan M., Hripcsak, George & Suermondt, Jaap (eds.), American Medical Informatics Association Annual Proceedings 2007, 821–825.
Zeng, Qing T., Redd, Doug, Divita, Guy, Jarad, Samah, Brandt, Cynthia & Nebeker, Jonathan R.. 2011. Characterizing clinical text and sublanguage: A case study of the VA clinical notes. Journal of Health & Medical Informatics 2011:S3.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Nordic Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0332-5865
  • EISSN: 1502-4717
  • URL: /core/journals/nordic-journal-of-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed