Biological Evolution and Diversification of LANguages (BEDLAN)

We are interested in linguistic divergence at different levels ranging from population divergence (dialectal divergence) to macroevolutionary events (the formation of language families).  Our study "species" are the Uralic languages, its subgroup of Finnic languages and the dialects of the Finnish language. We study the Finnish dialects with an extensive dialect atlas collected by Lauri Kettunen in 1920s. The closest relatives of Finnish, the Finnic languages, are studied with the dialect atlas of Finnic languages (ALFE, Atlas Linguarum Fennicarum) which describes linguistic variation of the Finnic languages in the early 20th century. For studying the evolution of the Uralic language family, we have compiled an extensive lexical data that describes how basic vocabulary meanings are represented in the languages and whether the representations share the same origin in different languages. With a new UTU funding and in co-operation with the universities of Tartu and Uppsala we have begun collecting typological data describing the grammatical features of the Uralic languages.

The main financer of the BEDLAN team is Kone Foundation. Currently the team has two fundings, AikaSyyni, headed by Outi Vesakoski (biology, UTU) and Kippo, headed by Unni-Päivä Leino (linguistics, UTA). The financed researchers besides OV include post docs Terhi Honkola (biology, UTU), Luke Maurits (computational scientist, geography, UTU) and Jenni Santaharju (biology, UH) and PhD students Kaj Syrjänen (linguistics, UTA), Olli Kuparinen (linguistics, UTA). PhD students Timo Rantanen (geography, UTU) and Mervi de Heer (linguistics, UU) work with graduate school funding. Further collaborators are listed on the homepage of the BEDLAN team.

Homepage of the BEDLAN Project