Researcher of the Month: Johanna Vaattovaara

Johanna Vaattovaara
Photo: Antti Yrjönen

Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Johanna Vaattovaara tells us about her research projects on language awareness and language attitudes.

Who are you?

I am Johanna Vaattovaara, professor of Finnish language in the Languages Unit at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University.

What is your research topic?

My research topics represent sociolinguistics and language ideology research, mainly language awareness and attitude research. I have also done research on linguistic variation and language change, and for these topics various corpora have proven to be very valuable resources. Corpora have also been useful in the creation of language attitude study designs. In recent years, for example, I have used the Suomi24 corpus in various ways in studies where I have investigated, together with Elizabeth Peterson and also with Ylva Bir and Turo Hiltunen, the integration of English expressions into Finnish language use.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

So far, I have used the Suomi24 corpus in Kielipankki, especially Suomi24 2016H2. Currently, I am launching a research project Arkisuomien kielitietoisuudet ja muutos (Societal awareness of linguistic variation and change), funded by the Kone Foundation (2023–25). During the project, we will collect language awareness and attitude data using different methods, such as a nationwide survey data, which we plan to distribute via Kielipankki.

In the past, I have distributed data through the archives of the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus). Also the data that I collected for my dissertation is available from Kotus. The data consists of interviews of a group of high school graduates in Pello, Tornionlaakso (Torne Valley). In the post-doc phase, I collected reaction and interview data in the lobby of the Finnish Science Centre, Heureka, in the project Helsingin suomea – monimuotoisuus, sosiaalinen identiteetti ja kielelliset asenteet kaupunkiympäristössä, led by Marja-Leena Sorjonen and funded by the Academy of Finland in 2009–2012. This corpus of metalinguistic material can also be obtained from Kotus.


Peterson, E., Hiltunen, T., Vaattovaara, J. 2022. A place for pliis in Finnish: A discourse-pragmatic variation account of position. – Elizabeth Peterson, Turo Hiltunen & Joseph Kern (eds.), Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change: Theory, Innovations, Contact, pp. 272–292. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781108864183.015

Peterson, E., Biri, Y., Vaattovaara, J. 2022. Grammatical and social structures of English-sourced swear words in Finnish discourse. – Martín-Solano, R. & San Segundo, R. (eds.), Corpus linguistics and Anglicisms, pp. 49–70. Peter Lang Publishing. DOI: 10.3726/b19222

Vaattovaara, J. & Peterson, E. 2019. Same old paska or new shit? On the stylistic boundaries and social meaning potentials of a loanword in Finnish. – Ampersand 6/2019 (Special Issue, E. Zenner, A. Calude & L. Rosseel (eds.), Lexical borrowing as expression of culture, identity and attitude – empirical investigations into the social meaning potential of loanwords.) DOI: 10.1016/j.amper.2019.100057

Vaattovaara, J. 2012. Spatial concerns for the study of social meaning of linguistic variables – an experimental approach. – Hanna Lehti-Eklund, Camilla Lindholm & Caroline Sandström (eds.), Folkmålsstudier : Meddelanden från Föreningen för Nordisk Filologi 2012/50, pp. 175–209.

Nuolijärvi, Pirkko & Vaattovaara, Johanna 2011. De-standardisation in progress in Finnish society? – T. Kristiansen & N. Coupland (eds.), Standard Languages and Language Standards in a Changing Europe, pp. 67–74. Oslo: Novus Forlag.

Vaattovaara, Johanna 2009. Meän tapa puhua: Tornionlaakso pellolaisnuorten subjektiivisena paikkana ja murrealueena. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (304 pp.). Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia 1224.

More information


The FIN-CLARIN consortium consists of a group of Finnish universities along with CSC – IT Center for Science and the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus). FIN-CLARIN helps the researchers in Finland to use, refine, preserve and share their language resources. The Language Bank of Finland is the collection of services that provides the language materials and tools for the research community.

All previously published Language Bank researcher interviews are stored in the Researcher of the Month archive. This article is also published on the website of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Helsinki.