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Mikael Reuter

Born May 17, 1943, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1969 (Scandinavian languages), Licentiate 1982, University of Helsinki

Head of the department of Swedish 1992–2008, Institute for the Languages of Finland
Senior researcher (specialised in Swedish for public administration) 1987–92
Researcher (department of Swedish) 1976–87
Teaching assistant in Scandinavian languages 1970–76, University of Helsinki
Secretary General of the Swedish-speaking School Student Union of Finland 1963–64

Research themes
At university primarily the phonetics of Swedish in Finland, particularly the variety spoken in Helsinki. Later, more generally the relationship of Fenno-Swedish to Swedish in Sweden.

Publications, awards and honours

Photo: Peter Slotte
Written by Mikael Reuter (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

From the Student Union to Cultural Bodies

During his student days Mikael Reuter was active in the Swedish-speaking School Student Union of Finland, first as a board member and then as the secretary general. During his time at the Union, he forged his first Nordic contacts. Later Reuter was active in his student days primarily in the Åbo student nation, first as a board member and then as curator. He was also involved in the founding of a Swedish speaking student organisation for the humanities, named Logos, but the project was short-lived. He was a member of the University Student Union Representative Council in 1966 and the following year a board member and chairman of its foreign affairs committee. Those were exiting times, and there was plenty of international activity. The Prague Spring of 1968 was just around the corner, as were the global events that inspired the occupation of the Old Student House the same year.

“Without the Swedish-speaking School Student Union of Finland, and particularly the University Student Union, my life would have been much poorer. My experiences from that time, in Finland, Scandinavia, and further afield have been extremely important to me”

Work at the Institute for the Languages of Finland led to participation in numerous language networks and expert activities. In Finland worthy of mention are the Swedish language committees of the Finnish Government and the Finnish Broadcasting Company, the linguistics committee of the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS), the State Committee of National Certificates of Language Proficiency and the committee preparing the new Language Act of Finland. Collaboration with language planning and maintenance in Sweden and the other Nordic countries has played an important part in Reuter’s activities, and in his time Reuter has participated in almost every important Nordic cooperative language body. In addition he has taken part in European cooperation for the benefit of national and minority languages.

For almost 20 years, Reuter was a board member of the SFV—an organisation for the promotion of Swedish language and culture. He also participated in the foundation of the Hugo Bergroth Society in 1992 and worked on its board for many years. The society works for the promotion of Swedish in Finland by organising courses and seminars and otherwise participating actively in language planning and maintenance.

At a seminar on media language in Vaasa, 2009, together with other media language consultants and journalists interested in languages. Photo: Mikael Reuter's personal archives.


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