Artturi Kannisto
Humanist of the day

Artturi Kannisto

Artturi Kannisto was a professor of Finno-Ugrian languages. He served for many years on the Finnish schools examination board along with a number of learned societies and academies. The greatest of his life’s achievements was to collect material of interest to linguists and ethnologists relating to the Mansi of west Siberia. Kannisto is also credited with coming up with the longest word in the Finnish language.

Artturi Kannisto

Born May 12, 1874, Kylmäkoski. Died March 10, 1943, Helsinki.

Bachelor of Arts, 1899, Master of Arts, 1900, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1919, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Helsinki

Docent teacher, Finno-Ugrian Languages, 1920–1907, Supernumerary Professor, 1927–1943, University of Helsinki

Finnish Language Teacher, Faculty of Jurisprudence 1910–1921, Imperial Alexander University (University of Helsinki)
Amanuensis, Finnish Language Seminar Library 1900, Imperial Alexander University
Research Trips to Russian Tobolsk and Perm Governorates 1901–1906

Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences 1931
Member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters 1922
Member, School Examination Board 1920–1943
Secretary, Finno-Ugrian Society 1919–35, Director 1935–1943
Founder and Board Member, Suomen Sanakirjaosakeyhtiö (Finnish dictionary Co) 1916–1924
Minutes Secretary, Society for the Study of English, Deputy Chairman, 1907–1909 and Chairman 1919–1920

Commander of the Hungarian Order of Corvinus, 1942
Hungarian Order of Merit, 1939
Honorary Member, Society for the Study of Finnish
Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, University of Budapest, University of Debrecen, 1935
Knight, Order of the White Rose of Finland, 1934

Named after Kannisto
Artturi Kannisto street, Helsinki, 1952

Photo: National Board of Antiquities
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by John Calton

Antturi Kannisto was born to a farming family and at a young age became interested in the family of languages that Finnish belongs to. In 1893 he enrolled in the university to study Finnish language and literature under Emil Nestor Setälä and to research the Finno-Ugric language family under Arvid Genetzin. Kannisto had a long career in both areas.

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Soon after completing his Master’s degree, Artturi Kannisto went on a research trip to western Siberia in 1901. His goal was to get to know the culture of the Mansi people and to study their various dialects. According to Päivi Kannisto, the underlying concern was that the small populations of Finno-Ugrians in Russia and their languages would soon disappear and become assimilated into the mainstream Russian culture.

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