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Ulla Tuomarla

Ulla Susanna Tuomarla
Born August 8, 1965, Turku

Master of Arts 1993, PhD 2000 (French philology), University of Helsinki
Docent 2002, University of Helsinki

Head of department 2014–, deputy head of department 2010–14, Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki
University lecturer 2009– (French translation), University of Helsinki
Acting university lecturer 2007–09 and 2000-03, postdoctoral assistant 2003–06, University of Helsinki
French teacher 1999–2000, University of Tampere

Publications, research projects and other academic activity
Research themes:
Linguistic polyphony and reported speech, argumentation, emotions and linguistic interaction (inter alia, hate speech).
The research project How to address?

Photo: Essi Lavonen
Written by Ulla Tuomarla and Tiia Niemelä
Translated by Matthew Billington

My Best Memories from the University of Helsinki

There are so many of them! As a student I had a really nice circle of friends, which included philosophers, aestheticians, historians and law students of all ages. We drank coffee in the Porthania building while trying to save the world. Many of us are still here! I had an unusual combination of subjects, French and art history, which I believe had a part to play in why I had such a wide circle of friends.

During those years I understood just how large the University was, how many subjects were being taught there, how different our interests can be, and how many possibilities there are for research.

Young Ulla Tuomarla studying for an exam. Photo by Marko Pasanen.

My years as a doctoral student were also a wonderful time, and the contacts I made then are still important to me, both professionally and personally. It was interesting to get to know experts on other languages and delve deeper into the study of language. For example, it is wonderful to be able to send a message to a researcher of Finnish and ask how something is said or if they know someone who has been studying a certain issue in the language.

Social contacts were also important when it came to forming my own research interests. I wanted to study what interesting people were researching. Originally, I studied French, so I was interested in French language, literature and culture. There were representatives of different languages on the doctoral programme, including those whose interests were purely theoretical, and it was then that I developed a deeper appreciation of linguistics. I realised that this was all linguistics. Although I was mainly studying media texts, in those years I became enthralled by interaction studies, and even in respect to written texts I always wanted see how they reflected the most basic kind of interaction between people: dialogue. I am a discourse analyst, so I think that all language use is action.

A postdoctoral party in January 2000 in the Lallukka Artists’ Home. Tuomarla holding her two-year-old daughter Essi. Photo by Juhani Tuomarla.


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