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New Member

with a couple of friends, we're trying to establish a list of expressions that name in respective linguistic communities the current security hygienic "dispositifs". It's pretty evident that the use is rather arbitrary and "improper" from the point of view of the internal sens of the word (in so far as it makes any sens to speak in these terms of an actual spoken language). For instance, in English we call a "lockdown" (not only) the measures aiming to isolate people in their homes, while there is a more specific word for that in French, "confinement". Moreover, in Central European languages, it has become common to use the local equivalents of the word "quarantine" (English), such as karatnén (Hungarian), karanténa (Czech), kwarantanna (Polish) and so forth, while "quarantine" or "quarantaine" have more specific meaning in English or French respectively. This could be developed at length for Japanese, Chinese and so on, I am just trying to illustrate the fact that there's no point to look into dictionary, the reason for me to solicit the help of the native speakers living in the actual social and linguistic context and so forth. Would you please be so kind to explain which word or words are used to name aforementioned realities in Finnish, namely the "dispositif" of isolation of the population in their homes, the strategy that we see developed (almost) everywhere to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus? If you add an explanation (hypothesis) of how and why was the particular linguistic convention established, where does the word "come from" and so on, it will be much appreciated.

Thank you very much! Take care,

P.S. I have already posted a similar thread in different forums to ask the same question for the other languages. I hope it won't be considered as double-posting.
  • Ansku89

    We haven't done a similar lockdown as for example Italy or Spain, so we don't have very specific terminology for this. Regarding other countries, a commonly used word is ulkonaliikkumiskielto (ban to go out) to describe the strictest restrictions.

    Karanteeni (quarantine) in Finland is officially something that happens to people who are known to be exposed to the coronavirus, and get an official order to stay home and it's a crime to break that. But many people in everyday speech call this whole thing karanteeni...

    Another thing is karanteenin kaltaiset olosuhteet (quarantine like circumstances). This expression is the official term for when someone is strongly recommended / nearly mandated to stay at home but an official quarantine order isn't legally possible - this happens to people returning from other countries and also people over 70 who are considered high risk individuals. They aren't supposed to go to shops etc. but are allowed to if they aren't able to get their essentials any other way, unlike when someone is officially quarantined, and local authorities are responsible to make sure that they get food.

    So this is complicated because everyday speech and official terms are different and the same word can have slightly different meanings in different contexts.


    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    It's also nice to know that the English word quarantine is taken from the French word quarantaine, "about forty", meaning that the sailors coming from suspected countries must stay on their vessels for (about) forty days before coming ashore.
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