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Jan-Ola Östman

Jan-Ola Ingemar Östman
Born October 14, 1951, Solf

Doctor of Philosophy 1986 (linguistics), University of California, Berkeley
MA (FM) 1977 and MPhil (FL) 1981 (English language and literature), Åbo Akademi University
Master of Arts 1976 (linguistic science), Reading University

Associate professor 1989–1998 and full professor of English philology 1998-2002, acting professor of general linguistics 1993–1996, professor of Scandinavian languages 2002-, University of Helsinki
Professor II (part-time) of Scandinavian languages 2006–2010, University of Tromsø, Norway

Director of the doctoral program for language studies at the University of Helsinki 2013-

Research interests
Pragmatics, discourse and media; construction grammar and construction discourse; minorities, dialects, language contact, identity and variability; language policy, sociology of language, ideology and applied linguistics

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Photo: Leila Mattfolk
Written by Jan-Ola Östman (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)

A good researcher is also a university politician

Administration at the university

In addition to the customary referee and expertise assignments at the University of Helsinki and around the world, I have been the Chair of three different departments at the University of Helsinki: the Department of English, the Department of General Linguistics, and the Department of Scandinavian Languages and Literature. I have in particular been active on the university’s Swedish-language board, in the university’s Svenska verksamhetsnämnd (promoting the status of Swedish at the bilingual university), and in the university’s equality committee. I am at present the director of the Doctoral program for Language Studies (Helslang), which has some 250 PhD students all writing their dissertations on different languages.

Jan-Ola Östman is currently the director of the Doctoral program for Language Studies.

Research policy

I have been fortunate to be able to influence research policy in Finland through a number of positions of trust. I have i.a. been a member of the Research Council for Culture and Society at the Academy of Finland (Finland’s National Science Foundation) for two periods and I have been a member of the language panel (panel no 21) of the Finnish publication forum (Jufo) since the panel was established. I was elected a member of the Humanities section of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters in 1998. My latest big challenge was to chair a working group that prepared the new Language Policy of the University of Helsinki in the fall of 2014.

I have also been active within European research policy and I have in particular had several assignments of expertise in the Nordic countries. I have i.a. been an expert member in Review Panel 3 of the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens jubileumsfond) for two periods, and I was for several years the Chair or a member of the Joint Committe for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) and of its publication board (NOP-HS). In 2014 I submitted a White Paper about the future of NOS-HS.

Mediation and tasks in society at large

I have worked with several minority groups and especially been involved in working for the rights of people using Finland-Swedish Sign Language. This work was recognized and highly appreciated when my department and I received the distinction of having offered the best Finland-Swedish service to the Deaf in 2006.

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