Researcher of the Month: Maria Sarhemaa

Maria Sarhemaa
Photo: K-Art Foto

Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Maria Sarhemaa tells us about her research on the appellativization of first names in Finnish language. Online discussions are a fruitful source of data for studying informal or colloquial language use.

Who are you?

I am Maria Sarhemaa, a doctoral researcher in Finnish language at the University of Helsinki. Currently, I am working on my thesis on a grant from the Kone Foundation.

What is your research topic?

I am doing research on the appellativization of first names in Finnish language, i.e. words that typically belong to the informal registers of the language and originate from a first name. These include yrjö meaning ’vomiting’ and jonne meaning a certain kind of teenage boy, but there are also compound words with an appellativized first name as part of the word, such as baarimikko ‘bartender’. In my dissertation research, I am exploring appellativization as a linguistic phenomenon in Finnish, and in the sub-publications I will examine compound words with an appellativized part, the expressions uuno, tauno and urpo meaning ’stupid’, and the construction jonnet ei muista ‘teenagers cannot remember’.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

I collected data from the Suomi24 corpus in Kielipankki for my article on uuno, tauno and urpo. The Suomi24 corpus is a fruitful source of data for my research topic, as appellativized expressions are used extensively, particularly in informal language, and the language used in Suomi24 is often colloquial. I have also collected data from the same corpus for my forthcoming article on the jonnet ei muista construction and for a study on the jonne appellative that I am conducting with Lasse Hämäläinen, PhD.


Hämäläinen, Lasse & Sarhemaa, Maria 2022: Jonnen jäljillä: Appellatiivisen jonnen alkuvaiheet verkkokeskusteluaineistojen valossa. Sananjalka 64, 255–269.

Sarhemaa, Maria 2021: Tavan tauno uunoilee urpokaupungissa: Nimien Uuno, Tauno ja Urpo appellatiivistuminen ja appellatiivien käyttö Suomi24-keskustelupalstalla. Sananjalka 63, 103–129.

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.