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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.)

Research improves the world

In my research I have always aimed for understanding. Through my research I want to get as close to an all-embracing picture of life as possible, especially a comprehensive picture of the humanistic and social-scientific aspects of life.

I still thoroughly believe that a deeper understanding of language can help us solve conflicts and in that respect make the world a better place for future generations. This is why I hope my own research results will be useful and applicable on a more global scene and I need to believe that I can change and improve the world – irrespective of how pathetic this may sound.

This I see as my task as a scholar and this is what drives me to go on doing research and to teach my students how to argue in a scholarly manner. It is my duty to inspire my students to take risks and to see new openings and new ways of approaching old questions, and to face new challenges that society – all societies – pose today.

Photo: Hedda Östman.


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