Areas of expertise
I did my Master’s degree in the University of Turku with Finnish language as my major, and general linguistics, Hungarian language and culture and Estonian language and culture as minor subjects. The topic of my MA thesis was the verb derivation in Finnish and Estonian languages. After working as a research assistant, departmental assistant, and a doctoral candidate, I defended my PhD thesis on the grammaticalization of body-part terms in Finnish and Estonian in 2001. Since 2003 I have worked as a university lecturer. I was conferred the degree of docent in 2006.
I teach Finnish fonology and morphology for the first year’s students of Finnish language and Finno-Ugric languages. For Finnish students I also teach an advanced grammar course, in which we go into grammatical phenomena in greater detail, and grammatical descriptions of various ages of one phenomena are studied contrastively and with critical eyes. I also teach the introduction to general linguistics for all first year’s students of the School of languages and translation studies. I supervise a couple of MA theses annually, and at the present I am a supervisor of two PhD theses.
Spatial semantics is my main research interest. In my research I ask how different spatial relations are described in Finnish (with independent grammatical elements, i.e. adpositions/adverbs, or local cases). What kind of entities are utilized as reference points (landmarks) for expressing a location of other entities (trajectors)? Are those reference points expressed, and if they are, what kinds of syntactic structures are used? Space is, together with time, one of the basic domains for humans, and the study of spatial language reflects and reveals something more general about the ways humans perceive and conceptualize space surrounding them. The theoretical framework for my study and thought is cognitive linguistics, in which the basic tenet is that language is based on humans’ general cognitive skills, such as the ability to focus one’s attention on different participants of a situation with different emphasis, the ability to categorize entities, and the ability to understand force-dynamic relations between entities. My research method is always corpus-based, and since I am also interested in the history of grammatical constructions, I use a variety of available corpora, from the oldest written Finnish from 16th century to modern language corpora.