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Timo Riiho

Timo Tapani Riiho
Born 7 October 1950, Kymi

Master of Philosophy 1975 (Romance philology) and PhD (Romance philology) 1979, University of Helsinki.

Professor of Ibero-Romance Languages 1981-

Publications, research projects and other activities
Research areas: linguistics, Ibero-Romance languages, historical and comparative syntax, prepositions, personal pronouns.

Awards and recognitions
Foreign correspondent of the Royal Spanish Academy
Commander of the Spanish Order of Civil Merit
Grand Officer of the Portuguese Order of Henry the Navigator
Commander of the Brazilian Order of Castelo Branco

Authors: Timo Riiho and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by: Laura Mena and Aija-Leena Bernouilli
Revised by: John Calton

Enthusiasm for Ibero-Romance languages does not fade

Timo Riiho has worked as the professor of Ibero-Romance languages (of the Iberian Peninsula) in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Helsinki since 1981. His area of research consists of historical and comparative syntax of Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan. His research centres on the syntax of prepositions and pronouns. The research has included the likely interaction over time between the Spanish and Basque languages.

It is great to teach people who are enthusiastic, interested and motivated.

Riiho was an actively engaged student in the 1970s: his studies took him to Madrid, Lisbon and Bordeaux, and he later gained  the Humboldt Research Fellowship for post-doctoral studies in Heidelberg. With the help of a friend, he began his study of the Basque language as a somewhat clandestine hobby in the early 1970s. He went on to explore the Basque language even further in the Sanctuary of Arantzazu in Gipuzkoa region in the Basque Country.

The Basque country looms behind Timo Riiho, Professor of Ibero-Romance Languages.  Photo: Ville Korhonen.​

Timo Riiho considers it important to maintain an active engagement in the cultures and languages of Spain, Portugal and Basque countries even beyond the world of academia. He is a founding member of the University’s Finnish Institute in Madrid and the Ibero-American Institute, where he was Director from 2002 to 2006.

Many things have changed, both in the Iberian Peninsula and at the University of Helsinki, but Professor Riiho is still enthusiastic about the academic side of the job.

– It is great to teach people who are enthusiastic, interested and motivated. The variety of topics for Masters and PhD theses guarantees the guidance will be rewarding.

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