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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

My Best Memories from the University of Helsinki

I began my studies in 1993 at the age of 19, after which I have not left the University’s sphere of influence for more than a year at a time. It should then be clear that along the way I have had great moments as a student, researcher and teacher.

From my student days I remember the activities of the Siula student organisation. Some of themes for the parties we organised included the Eurovision Song Contest and Finnhits, a collection of popular Finnish songs from the 1970s and the 1980s. The band responsible for the music at the parties was composed of university students of Finnish. I also played for the band, and as I recall there were brief moments when we sounded pretty good.

I began my research career as an assistant in a research team led by professor Pentti Leino. The communal nature of research became clear to me then, and I probably would never have become a researcher myself had it not been for that experience. The stereotype of research as lonely drudgery somewhere in the bowels of the university turned out to be a series of gatherings and common goals. In other words, something much more inspiring than I had thought.

I have also been a teacher for over 15 years. There have been so many good experiences with teaching that it is impossible for me to single out any particular one. I have had the pleasure of working with people from all around the world. In particular I enjoy supervising. It allows me to help motivated people develop their ideas.

Photo: Lari Kotilainen's personal archives.


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