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Call for papers

On the Border of Language and Dialect

Symposium to be held at the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, 4--6 June 2014

The symposium is organized by FINKA, a research project that focuses on Karelian, an endangered Finnic language that is currently spoken in two nations, Finland and Russia. In the case of Karelian, the effects of political state borders and language politics have led to a situation where the boundaries between a dialect and a language appear extremely fuzzy both linguistically and mentally, giving rise to a wide range of intriguing research topics. The project approaches Karelian from various theoretical viewpoints, including contact linguistics, theories of grammaticalization, language typology and folk linguistics. The research topics range from diachronic grammaticalization processes and contact-induced changes to the emergence of mixed idiolects in contact with a close cognate, the Finnish language, and to non-linguists’ perceptions of the Karelian language.

In its final year, FINKA will organize the symposium “On the border of language and dialect”, aiming to address the practical and mental boundaries of nation states and national languages, dialects and other varieties. It is our pleasure to invite to Joensuu researchers who are interested in the consequences of changing political boundaries and language-political practices, for example the emergence and creation of new varieties and languages, language endangerment and revitalization.

The invited speakers of the symposium are:

  • Riho Grünthal (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Dennis R. Preston (Oklahoma State University, U.S.)
  • Anneli Sarhimaa (The Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany)

The aim of the symposium is to bring together researchers who focus on, for example, the following topics:

  • contacts between cognate languages
  • dialect contacts
  • mixed or fused lects
  • minority languages, endangered languages or heritage languages
  • language attrition
  • languages spoken in several countries
  • bilingualism or multilingualism
  • language politics
  • revitalization
  • standardization

Possible research aspects and theoretical and methodological approaches include (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • contact linguistics
  • areal linguistics
  • linguistic geography
  • dialectology
  • sociolinguistics and sociology of language
  • grammaticalization
  • language typology
  • folk linguistics and perceptual dialectology


  • Presentations by invited speakers
  • Presentations by other participants (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion)
  • Posters


Abstract submission:

Please send your abstract for either a section paper or a poster presentation via e-form ( by 10 January 2014. Abstracts should contain no more than 4000 characters, including (possible) references. The abstracts will be evaluated by the members of the organizing committee. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 15 February 2014.

The working language of the symposium is English.

Key dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submission: 1 December 2013
  • Notification of acceptance: 15 February 2014
  • Symposium: 4--6 June 2014

The participation fee is 50 € (or 30 € (for students and PhD students).



The symposium is organized by the research project FINKA (On the borderline of Finnish and Karelian: perspectives on cognate languages and dialects), funded by the Academy of Finland 2011--2014. For further information, see

Organizing committee: Marjatta Palander (chair), Helka Riionheimo (vice-chair), Hannele Forsberg, Sanna-Riikka Knuuttila, Vesa Koivisto, Maria Kok, Henna Massinen, Ilja Moshnikov, Laura Piironen and Milla Uusitupa.

For all correspondence concerning the symposium, please contact finka-2014(a)

We look forward to seeing you in Joensuu!

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