Lari Kotilainen
Humanist of the day

Lari Kotilainen

As a Finnish Language professional, Lari Kotilainen is something of an all-rounder. All his university research and teaching positions have involved work with the Finnish language, and he has taught Finnish to natives and foreigners alike. He is also familiar with university teaching in neighbouring countries both in the East and West. Outside academia, he popularises science, writes textbooks and is a member of the band Jytäjysijät.

Lari Kotilainen

Lari Pietari Kotilainen
Born January 2, 1974, Kuusjoki

Master of Arts, 1999, PhD, 2008 (Finnish Language), University of Helsinki

Positions at the University of Helsinki from research assistant to professorial, 1997–
Lecturer in Finnish Language 2003-4, University of Cologne, and 2005-6, Uppsala University
Teaching, lectures and presentations as a visiting academic in Finland and Russia
Invigilator with the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board and Vice-chairman of the Finnish Language Examination Board

Singer-guitarist with the band Jytäjyrsijät

Publications, research projects, and other academic activity

Research themes: the language of the Internet, learning Finnish as a second language, school language teaching, language policy

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Lari Kotilainen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Learning a foreign language often happens in the classroom or with your nose in a textbook, but languages are actually used in everyday interaction. There is therefore a divide between how languages are taught and how they are used. An EU-funded project called LanCook, or the European Digital Kitchen, aims to bridge the gap between the two.

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Is language learning something boring that requires pedantic attention to detail and memorisation of endless grammatical categories? Or is it something fun and exciting that opens up a whole new window into the way we think and work together? Linguists share the latter view, but others will often relate to the former. Lari Kotilainen wants to remedy this situation.

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Lari Kotilainen formed the band Jytäjyrsijät together with Sami Iivonen in 1996. The band, which makes rock music aimed at children, has toured actively in Finland and Russia and has released three albums. Their songs have been translated into Russian and sign language.

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