Go Back

Matti Miestamo

Matti Markko Petteri Miestamo
Born 3 January 1972, Lahti

Licence (=BA), 1995, Sciences du Langage, Université de Provence (Aix-en-Provence) BA, 1996, General Linguistics, University of Turku
MA, 1997, General Linguistics, University of Turku
PhD, 2003, General Linguistics, University of Helsinki
(Docent, 2008, General Linguistics, University of Helsinki)

Professor, University of Helsinki, General Linguistics, Department of Modern Languages, 2014-
Researcher, University of Helsinki, Department of General Linguistics, 2003–06
Visiting scholar, University of Antwerp, 2005–06
Researcher, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2006–11

Professor, Stockholm University, General Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, 2011–13

Publications, research projects and other scientific activities TUHAT
Research areas: Linguistic typology, negation, interrogatives, language complexity, language documentation, Skolt Saami language

Awards and special achievements
Joseph Greenberg Award, Association for Linguistic Typology, 2005
Burgen Scholar, Academia Europaea, 2004

Photo: LInda Tammisto
Authors: Matti Miestamo and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by: John Calton

My Best Memories at the University of Helsinki

I have plenty of happy memories from my years at the University of Helsinki. I came to the university as a postgrad, and integration into the Department of General Linguistics proved to be easy and straightforward. There was a good atmosphere: we got together for Friday coffee and plenty of parties. But we certainly got through plenty of work, too.

One particular memory from the early days was following an intensive course in Classical Nahuatl, where the lecturer served students traditional Aztec food. And discussions with other research students who had started at the same time in different language subjects were meaningful and memorable.

Around the turn of the millennium the Department of General Linguistics was forced to move several times, which certainly had its moments. When we moved into the old anatomy building, the medical scientists had barely had time to move out, and in the dissection hall you could still read instructions on the blackboard detailing what parts of the cadaver to put where. As the linguists moved in, the body of research shifted somewhat.

Of course memories of the public defence of my thesis, and the party afterward, stay with me. I've experienced many good moments at conferences and symposia organised together with my colleagues. Doing science is an international and social undertaking: you get to meet people from all around the world and have a sense of belonging to a wide international network.

Beside the Department of General Linguistics (as was), my second important working community has been the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, offering a chance to encounter a wide range of researchers from different countries and different scientific traditions. The Collegium is full of interesting scientists and personalities, and discussions at ‘brown bag’ seminars, around coffee in the Common Room, not to mention legendary Christmas parties and summer picnics, have been very rewarding. The return to my alma mater, now the Department of Modern Languages, after years spent abroad, has been interesting. It's a new job for me, offering a new perspective, and being in the University of Helsinki has felt like coming home. It's good to be back.

Go Back