Researcher of the Month: Tero Alstola

Tero Alstola - kuva: Lauri Laine / ANEE Helsinki
Photo: Lauri Laine / ANEE Helsinki


Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Posdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki Tero Alstola tells us about his ongoing research in which she makes use of the Kielipankki resource Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, Korp Version, September 2017.

Who are you?

I am Tero Alstola, postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki. I currently work in the Semantic Domains in Akkadian Texts project, funded by the Academy of Finland. I am an Assyriologist, a scholar of the languages and cultures of the ancient Near East.

What is your research topic?

Our project studies the Akkadian language, which was spoken in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and Syria) from the third to the first millennium BCE. The language was written on clay tablets in cuneiform script, and hundreds of thousands of such tablets have been discovered. Our project applies language technological methods to the study of Akkadian, and we aim at a better understanding of the ancient language and its vocabulary. At the same time, we develop computational methods that can be used to study ancient or modern languages with a small text corpus. Our project is deeply interdisciplinary and it brings together Assyriologists and experts in language technology.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

We have created a corpus of Akkadian texts in Kielipankki’s concordance tool Korp. The corpus consists of thousands of texts published in the Oracc project. Although the corpus has been digitally available already before, Korp’s sophisticated search tools provide new ways to study the texts. The users can make simple and more complicated queries that allow them, for example, to study lexemes in texts from a certain period or belonging to a certain genre. The corpus is open and free to use.

The “Oracc in Korp” corpus is available at Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus Korp

Publications related to the corpus

Svärd, S.; Jauhiainen, H.; Sahala, A.; and Lindén, K. 2018. “Semantic Domains in Akkadian Texts”. CyberResearch on the Ancient Near East and Neighboring Regions: Case Studies on Archaeological Data, Objects, Texts, and Digital Archiving, ed. V. Bigot Juloux, A. R. Gansell, and A. Di Ludovico. Digital Biblical Studies 2. Leiden: Brill. Open access:


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.