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Auli Hakulinen

Auli Talvikki Hakulinen
Born March 10, 1941, Helsinki

BA 1965 (Finno-Ugristics), licentiate 1971 (General Linguistics), University of Helsinki
PhD 1976 (General Linguistics), University of Turku

Assistant Professor of Finnish 1981–1991, Professor 1991–2006, University of Helsinki
Academy Professor 2001–2004
Research assistant in the text linguistics research group at the Academy of Finland 1974–1977, University of Turku
Visiting researcher at MIT, Spring 1973
General linguistics assistant 1968–1971, University of Helsinki
Research assistant in the Sociological Research Unit at London University 1967–1968
Finnish language teacher, University of Indiana, 1963–1964

Publications, research projects and other scientific activities
Research areas: syntax, text linguistics, women’ studies, conversation analysis, language and interaction analysis

Significant awards and special achievements:
Kristiina Prize 1986
Maikki Frieberg Award 2002
Finnish Cultural Foundation Award 2005
E. J. Nyström Prize 2007

Photo: Kuva-siskot
Written by Auli Hakulinen (Kaija Hartikainen, ed.)
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

The age of back and forth

An English colleague of mine has a habit of saying that you usually end up doing the thing for which you have the least amount of talent or courage. If that is true, it is weird that I never became a department head, a faculty dean or a university rector.

My most important achievement (together with the late Päivi Setälä) was to push through gender studies as a subject at the University of Helsinki in the 1980s. It later institutionalised into the Christina Institute and is now known as Gender Studies. This was not a matter of committee work but a group effort coupled with Setälä’s contacts; at around the same, the nation-wide Association for Gender Studies in Finland was established.

As professor, I was a member of the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society, in which I was tasked with being a member of the research policy board of the Nordic Council of Ministers. This involved a number of day visits to Stockholm and Copenhagen as well as less hurried sojourns in Norway and Iceland. In addition to the constant changes, the toughest part of being in the research council was having to read through and evaluate hundreds if not thousands of pages of research proposals to allocate what little money we had to grant. Compared to this, being a member of the 1970s humanistic research council had been a piece of cake.

Because of my position, I also had other, less challenging but pleasant tasks: memberships in the boards of the Society for the Study of Finnish and the Institute for the Languages of Finland, in Virittäjä’s Editorial Board, in the Board of the Finnish Language, in the Council of the Finnish Literature Society, as editor-in-chief of the Women’s Studies journal Naistutkimus, and as chair of the board of the Christina Institute.

The Board of the Finnish Language having a meeting at the Institute for the Languages of Finland. Picture: The Institute for the Languages of Finland.​
The Board of the Finnish Language having a meeting at the Institute for the Languages of Finland. Picture: The Institute for the Languages of Finland.​

In the 1980s, before my university career, I was involved in the founding of two linguistic societies: the Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics (AFinLA) and the Linguistic Association of Finland (SKY). I have only had few official duties on the international stage: among others, I have been a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Pragmatics and the Nordic Journal of Linguistics. In my case, internationalism has taken the form of networking with colleagues in the same field.

The weaker the position of small languages – including Finnish – has become, the more active I have become in the field of language policy. Since the government has not been active, unlike in our neighbouring countries, we took the matters into our own hands and wrote a plan of action for Finnish language policy, called Suomen kielen tulevaisuus (‘The future of the Finnish language’) (2009). It has been followed up, among other things, by the Bank of Finnish Terminology in Arts and Sciences, which was launched in 2012 thanks to financial backing from the Academy of Finland. I am involved in this project as well.

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