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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

Language and Music for Children

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.

Lari Kotilainen playing air guitar on the Jytäjyrsijät tour in the Urals. Photo: Lari Kotilainen's personal archives.

Over the years Kotilainen's second profession, music,  has acquired many of the aspects of his day job working with the Finnish language. Together with children’s author Reetta Niemelä, illustrator Linda Bondestam and translator Anna Sidorova, Kotilainen has developed educational entertainment for children that combines music, literature and visual arts with language teaching. The team has toured Russia, Estonia and Ukraine to discuss Finland, the Finnish language, and other cultures. They have also created a light-hearted card series aimed at children and adults alike called Finnish in six minutes, which has been translated into English, Russian, Swedish and Estonian.

Lari Kotilainen giving autographs on the Jytäjyrsijät tour in Pitkäranta, Russian Karelia. Photo: Lari Kotilainen's personal archives.

Next, Kotilainen would like to a write a work of children’s non-fiction based on a series of illustrated columns on linguistics he wrote for Vinski magazine.


Jytäjyrsijät on tour in the Urals. Photo: Lari Kotilainen's personal archives.


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