A workshop, called the DISONTOLOGY Workshop, was held within the 20th European Symposium on Languages for Special Purposes (Vienna 8-10 July 2015). The workshop was organised by project partners in order to disseminate our work to date on terminology and ontologies as well as to have the chance to exchange views with other LSP specialists. The workshop was held on 10th July and the event was also live tweeted.
Much of the work in LSP is concerned with concepts, ontology and terminology in a single domain. The super-specialisation of language seen in the 20th century, for instance from Biology to Molecular Biology, has not challenged much in LSP methods and techniques.
The challenges of the 21st century, for example hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, can impact catastrophically on urban settlements. The fragile eco-system of these settlements means that post-disaster the recovery takes now even longer than when much of the humanity was in rural areas. The impact of these disasters involves engagement, conflict and collaboration, between a range of stakeholders – people in different strata of the society, civil protection agencies, government agencies and private enterprises. Disaster communication, thus, involves communications across LSP of diverse social, economic and scientific groups, with different ontological basis and varied terminologies.Furthermore, the specialists have to come together to broadcast disaster mitigation and recovery messages to multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities that are a signature of 21st century urban settlements.
Disaster ontology and terminology are the key themes of this workshop and we hope LSP specialists, communications experts, and civil protection agencies will participate in this workshop to explore issues in 21st century LSP.
The audience (approximately 50 people) participated with questions and overall appeared interested in learning more about the various facets of the project. The workshop also proved an important occasion for networking: Prof. Bruce Mayleth from the University of North Dakota connected us with colleagues in the United States, who are working on neighbouring fields (i.e. the Textlinguistik & Technikkommunikation team at RWTH Aachen University in Germany: Eva-Maria Jakobs, Bianka Trevisan, and Class Digmayer who work on risk communication and social media; Liza Potts at Michigan State University investigating disaster communication and author of “Social Media in Disaster Response: How Experience Architects Can Build for Participation”; and Lee-Ann Kastman-Breuch at the University of Minnesota who is doing research on physician-to-patient communication).