An open online course for basic Finnish
Launched at the end of November 2015, the online course for Finnish uses texts, dialogues and assignments to teach basic vocabulary and grammar to beginners – from exchange students to asylum seekers.
The online course A Taste of Finnish is primarily intended for international university students coming to Finland, but as it is open to all and available free of charge, it can also help asylum seekers and people relocating to Finland for professional reasons get a taste of the language in their new home country.
Developed at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Helsinki, the course comprises ten lessons covering basic Finnish vocabulary, involving situations such as introductions, visiting a café and talking about leisure activities. The lessons also discuss Finnish pronunciation and grammar.
Call for Papers: Ethnography of Communication and Interdisciplinary Moves. June 11-14, 2019, Helsinki, Finland. Deadline: December 1, 2018.
The University of Helsinki cordially invites scholars working on or interested in Ethnography of Communication to Helsinki, Finland for a conference to be held June 11-14, 2019 The conference is titled Ethnography of Communication and Interdisciplinary Moves. This is the fourth conference devoted to Ethnography of Communication approaches; other conferences have gathered in Washington, Omaha, and most recently in New York.
The theoretical-methodological approach of Ethnography of Communication is a particular way to study culture, communication and interaction. It lives in and nourishes multiple languages and countries and pulls on different academic communities such as linguistics, sociolinguistics, anthropology, anthropological linguistics, folklore studies, media studies, conversation analysis, etc.
The June 2019 conference has a two-fold structure designed to benefit local and international researchers. First, invited workshops and paper presentations will explore the ways in which Ethnography of Communication relates in particular with language ideology, folklore studies, and media ethnography. All three approaches or disciplines are alive and strong at the University of Helsinki, and they are closely related to Ethnography of Communication. Second, individual papers and panels will present recent research and other works on the Ethnography of Communication.
Fred Dervin is Professor of Multicultural Education at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Dervin also holds several professorships in Canada, Luxembourg and Malaysia. In May 2014 he was appointed Distinguished Professor at Baoji University of Arts and Sciences (China). Dervin has been visiting professor in Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Hong Kong, and Portugal.
Dervin specializes in intercultural education, the sociology of multiculturalism and student and academic mobility. He defines his work as transdisciplinary, critical and reflexive. Inspired by E. Said (1993), he believes that “(…) giving up to specialization is, I have always felt, laziness, so you end up doing what others tell you, because that is your speciality after all.” His current definition of his approach to the ‘intercultural’ reads as follows: it is about giving the power to the powerless – ourselves included – to become aware of, recognize, push through and present/defend one’s diverse diversities, and those of our interlocutors”.
Dervin has widely published in international journals on identity, the ‘intercultural’ and mobility/migration in English, Finnish and French. He has published over 20 books: Politics of Interculturality (co-edited with Anne Lavanchy and Anahy Gajardo, Newcastle: CSP, 2011), Impostures Interculturelles (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012) and Linguistics for Intercultural Education (co-edited with Tony Liddicoat, New York: Benjamins, 2013). The following volumes are forthcoming: Researching Identity and Interculturality (with Karen Risager, Routledge, 2014), Chinese Students and Scholars in the Global Community: Challenges of Integration (special issue of Frontiers in Education, 2014), Cultural Essentialism in intercultural Relations (with Regis Machart, Palgrave, 2014). Fred Dervin is the series editor of Education beyond borders (Peter Lang), Nordic Studies on Diversity in Education (with Kulbrandstad and Ragnarsdóttir; CSP), Post-intercultural communication and education (CSP) and Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective (Palgrave with Xiangyun Du). He is the Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Education For Diversities. His website: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/dervin
On April 23, 2013, I gave a talk entitled “A Necessary Complexity: Understanding Language and Social Interaction and Intercultural Communication as Complementary Approaches” at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
My thanks to both Dr. Saila Poutiainen (at the University of Helsinki) and Dr. Leena Louhiala-Salminen (at Aalto University, and on the advisory board of this Center for Intercultural Dialogue) for serving as co-hosts, and to the Department of Communication at Aalto University for sponsoring the excellent dinner afterwards.
On April 25, I was able to join the Corporate Communication Evening Seminar at Aalto University, co-sponsored by the Department of Communication and Aalto BIZ Corporate Relations, entitled “Multilingual and intercultural issues in Corporate Communication.” The presenters were Dr. Ulla Connor (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis) and Pia Friberg (Senior Manager, Wärtsilä Corporation). The former talked about intercultural rhetoric, and the latter described her own experiences with intercultural issues in a multinational corporation. I look forward to continued discussions with all these scholars.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Distinguished Fulbright Professor to Finland
The Fulbright Program is an outstanding resource for collaborating with others on studies of communication, dialogue, and intercultural relations. I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have the support of this program. This began in 1992-1993 when my family and I lived in Finland where I worked with colleagues at the Universities of Tampere and Jyvaskyla, and at the Turku School of Economics. Later, during the 2007-2008 academic year, I held the position of Distinguished Fulbright Professor and Bicentennial Chair of North American Studies at the University of Helsinki. These opportunities have led to longstanding collaborations with colleagues in Finland, to a deepening of studies in intercultural communication and dialogue, and to forging personal relationships that will last a lifetime.
On a related note, on May 11, I will present the closing address at the University of Helsinki’s 14th Biennial Maple Leaf and Eagle conference: “An American West and a Western World: From American Indians to Aristotle and back again.”