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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

My Best memories from the University of Helsinki

I have surprisingly few concrete memories from my student days.

Of course, I remember many nice teachers and their lectures. The memory of the challenge of listening to Wednesday morning lectures on Latin syntax after a night at the student nation has also remained with me. My best memories are from the time when I had just become a research assistant, and they are connected with a research trip that led me far from the University.

In the spring of 1971, the ethnographical researcher Ragna Ahlbäck, the dialect researcher Ann-Marie Ivars and I embarked on a research trip to North America under the leadership of professor Lars Huldén. The journey, which comprised a total of 80 days and 13 000 kilometres, began in Seattle and ended in New York. During the trip we interviewed over 600 descendants of Swedish-speaking Finnish immigrants.

It was an amazing experience. We were very well received, and learned much about the experience of North American Swedish-speaking Finns. I also learned to understand Fenno-Swedish dialects far better than I had while in Finland. In addition, we gained a great overview of linguistic influence, as the interviewees used a mixture of dialect, Standard Swedish and English.

The car which took the research team from Seattle all the way to New York in 1971. Photo: Mikael Reuter's personal archives.


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