Researcher of the Month: Noora Hoffrén

Noora Hoffrén
Photo: Essi Ekman

Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Noora Hoffrén tells us about her PhD research on constructed action in Finnish Sign Language and Finnish language.

Who are you?

I am Noora Hoffrén, a sign language interpreter and a doctoral researcher. I am working on my PhD thesis at the Sign Language Centre (SLC) in the Department of Language and Communication Studies at the University of Jyväskylä.

What is your research topic?

The topic of my dissertation is showing by enacting, i.e. constructed action. When a speaker or signer is immersed in the role of another character and displays the character’s thoughts, speech, emotions or actions, he or she is constructing action. Constructed action is not always obvious or overt. Often, especially in signed languages, constructed action is so closely integrated into the language that it is not always easy to discern it. In my research, I am studying constructed action in both Finnish Sign Language and Finnish language. My dissertation is part of the ongoing ShowTell project at the University of Jyväskylä.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

As my research data, I will use the Corpus of Finnish Sign Language, part of which is already available for download in Kielipankki (CFINSL). In addition to videos that are recorded from multiple angles, the database contains basic annotations and metadata. The fact that such a corpus exists allows us to study constructed action in the best possible way.

My aim is to collect a video corpus of spoken Finnish, parallel to the Finnish Sign Language material, and to deposit the corpus in Kielipankki. The Finnish video corpus will be collected in pairs from six native speakers of Finnish. The methods that are used to collect the material will be similar to those used to collect the Finnish Sign Language corpus, for example, using multiple cameras during filming sessions and using the same elicitation materials (e.g. ’The Snowman’ and ’Frog, Where Are You?’ picture books).


Hoffrén, Noora 2019. Kuvailevien viittomien ja konstruoidun toiminnan yhteispeli. Master’s thesis. University of Jyväskylä. Available:

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.