Researcher of the Month: Tatu Huovilainen

Tatu Huovilainen - kuva: Heini Hellman
Photo: Henni Hellman


Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Doctoral candidate Tatu Huovilainen tells us about his research on several Language Bank resources, as well as three corpora he has compiled for his research himself and which will be deposited at Kielipankki. The first one Psycholinguistic Descriptives has already been published in the Download service.

Who are you?

My name is Tatu Huovilainen. I have a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Helsinki and I am now a doctoral candidate in the doctoral programme Brain & Mind.

What is your research topic?

In my thesis work I examine the neural processes of natural reading. I emphasize natural reading, as the brain functions of reading have usually been studied under strictly controlled paradigms.
I study the neural processes involved in reading by examining magnetic fields generated by the neural functioning. The magnetic fields are measured with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and concurrent eye tracking is used to associate these brain responses to word specific linguistic factors. This approach ensures an exceptionally large dataset that can in principle be used to examine any quantifiable linguistic factors relation to brain responses during reading.
With this natural paradigm I examine the cortical dynamics of phrase-structure building during reading as well as how specific dyslexic difficulties are reflected in brain responses during reading. In the future I will examine the causal roles of specific cortical areas in reading by using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

A less controlled study paradigm necessitates more control in the analysis phase. The reading material has to be comprehensively annotated so that the brain responses to different linguistic factors can be reliably separated. Kielipankki offers extensive materials and tools for acquiring descriptives for these factors. For example, one feature that is shown to affect the early brain responses during reading is word frequency. While preparing the reading material for these studies I used the corpora provided by Kielipankki, The Suomi 24 Corpus, The Finnish Sub-corpus of the Newspaper and Periodical Corpus of the National Library of Finland, Kielipankki Version, from 1980 onwards and The Corpus of Finnish Magazines and Newspapers from the 1990s and 2000s, Version 2 in addition to self-gathered corpora Finnish Wikipedia ja Finnish OpenSubtitles as well as to form a comprehensive dataset of Finnish word frequencies.


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, to refine, to preserve and to 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.