The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was identified for the first time in December 2019. Since then, it has affected a growing number of countries all over the globe and the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020.

This exceptional situation, described as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), requires the adoption of preventative measures as well as the publication of several reports, statements, and recommendations. As a result, a highly effective communication is needed in order to let citizens understand the vocabulary properly, and consistency in terminology plays a key role in getting the message across. 

Since facing an unprecedented situation is likely to have an impact on the language, it is possible that some terms change their meaning (re-semanticization), adapting it to the current context, or that new terms are coined. Thus, it is important to have a clear idea of the semantic and syntactic component of each specialized language unit, in order to understand the terms and their conceptual relations within the domain. 

To this end, Frame Based Terminology (Faber et al. 2007), a cognitive approach to terminology dating back to 2007, can come in handy. The main idea is to create a non-language-specific structure where specialized language units can be organized and their conceptual relations mapped. 

Since the language used to draft documents on COVID-19 is gradually getting richer in concepts and terms, TermCoord created an event specific to the coronavirus disease 2019 drawing inspiration from the semantic scheme illustrated in Disease event. 

The creation of the COVID-19 event entailed four main phases:

1) Term extraction from WHO documents on the topic.

2) Semantic and syntactic analysis of each language unit.

3) Graphic representation of the conceptual relations.

4) Adaptation of the event to the characteristics specific to the coronavirus disease 2019. 



The objective of this event is purely linguistic. Thus, the medical information contained in it may not be complete and it is in no way intended as medical advice.

TermCoord bears no responsibility for any decisions or actions taken after the consultation of the event.

The event will be updated as new discoveries, measures and recommendations are published on COVID-19 by official health organizations.


Faber, P. (2015), Frames as a framework for terminology. In Handbook of Terminology, edited by Kockaert, H.J. & Steurs, F., 1:14-33. John Benjamins Publishing Company

Cochrane, Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Cochrane resources and news [last seen on 06/04/2020]

Cochrane, Coronavirus (COVID-19): infection control and prevention measures [last seen on 06/04/2020]

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Coronavirus Resource Center [last seen on 06/04/2020]

WHO, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic [last seen on 06/04/2020]

In consultation with the cognitive psychoterminology expert and translator Dr. Olga Koreneva from Pablo de Olavide University in Seville (Spain).

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