Research at the Department of German

The Department of German trains language experts and conducts research on language, culture and translation. One of the central research topics in the department is the German language and multilingualism in Finland. In the strategy of the University of Turku, the central lines of research include cultural memory and societal change, as well as themes connected with children, youth and learning.

In the past few years, the research activities of the department have focused on the following areas: 

  • research on language learning and language teaching 
  • research on the grammar of the German language
  • research on German philology and research traditions
  • translation and interpretation
  • multilingualism in society.

The Department of German is a member in the international FI-DACH research network.

Detailed information about previous and current research at the School of Languages and Translation Studies language can be found in the individiual profiles of our researchers in the Research Portal.

Research projects

Ethical and Sustainable Language Teaching (EKKO)


Ethical and Sustainable Language Teaching, funded by the Kone Foundation, is a four-year project launched in the School of Languages and Translation Studies at the University of Turku, Finland in January 2021. The cornerstone of the project lies in the question of how the principles of ethics and sustainability can be promoted in language teaching and pre-service teacher education.

Considering the aspects of sustainable development and language equality is challenging not only in language teaching but also in pre-service language teacher education. The purpose of the project is to research the essence of ethics and sustainable development principles and how they can be promoted in language teaching and pre-service language teacher education. Based on this research, we will develop engaging learning activities for language learners and pedagogic solutions for pre-service teachers and teachers, which promote ethical conduct, sustainable development and language equality.

Project director: Minna Maijala, minna.maijala(at)
EKKO Team: Leena Maria Heikkola, Salla-Riikka Kuusalu, Päivi Laine, Maarit Mutta, Katja Mäntylä, Judi Rose, and Veijo Vaakanainen
Project funding: Kone Foundation 2021–2024


The project “Languages in the Kakola prison”

The Turku remand prison (formerly the Central prison in the Turku and Pori Province, founded in 1890) was located on the Turku Kakola hill until 2007.  The Turku remand prison housed Finnish inmates from the Turku and Pori Province as well as foreign prisoners who waited for their case to be processed, for their sentencing, as well as for any further measures. The research project aims to bring out new information about foreign prisoners, especially those of German nationality. The study covers a period that extends from 1914 to the present.

The research project paves the way for the study of "turning points" in the Finnish history from the perspective of linguistic diversity. Its results complete our understanding of changes in the Finnish legal culture. Furthermore, an interesting contribution to our understanding of cultural history can be expected from results concerning our understanding of the influence of German people and German culture in the Turku area at the beginning of the 20th century.

Contact person: PD Dr. phil. Doris Wagner

Mourning in animal cemeteries

This project examines animal cemeteries in five different areas in Germany. The focus lies on the verbalization of grief. Furthermore, animal names and indications of multilingualism on the grave markers are analyzed. The aim is to describe the structures and the individuality of the local mourning cultures and to compare them with similar phenomena in other areas of Germany. As the next step, the findings from the animal cemeteries are compared with findings on human graves to identify differences and similarities. A comparison with Finnish animal cemeteries is in planning.

For further information, please contact Doris Wagner, PhD

Die Trauer auf Tierfriedhöfen

In diesem Projekt werden Tierfriedhöfe aus fünf verschiedenen Gegenden Deutschlands untersucht. Der Schwerpunkt liegt auf der Versprachlichung der Trauer. Des Weiteren werden die Tiernamen analysiert sowie die Mehrsprachigkeit auf den Grabzeichen. Ziel ist, Strukturen und Individualität der Trauerkultur herauszufinden und sie mit anderen Gegenden Deutschlands zu vergleichen. Im nächsten Schritt werden die Befunde der Tierfriedhöfe mit Humangräbern verglichen, um Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten herauszufinden. Ein Vergleich mit finnischen Tierfriedhöfen ist ebenfalls geplant.

Für weitere Informationen kontaktieren Sie bitte Doris Wagner, PhD

Recent publications