Hannele Dufva works as Professor in Language Learning and Language Education at the Department of Language, University of Jyväskylä. She has studied the relationship between language and cognition and the psychology of language from a dialogical point of view. She is currently the principal investigator in the research project Dialogues of appropriation: Perspectives on language learning and teaching in which she develops a dialogical metatheory for second/foreign language development.

Minna Suni is a post doc researcher at the Department of Language, University of Jyväskylä. In her doctoral study, focusing on learning Finnish as a second language, she demonstrated how conversation between native and non-native speakers is jointly constructed process where linguistic resources are shared and where learning opportunities are given in negotiations of meaning where repetitions play an important role.

Mari Aro works as a post doc researcher at the Department of Language, University of Jyväskylä. Her doctoral thesis focused on studying the emergence and development of Finnish children’s beliefs about language and language learning. Discussing the children beliefs in a dialogical framework, using concepts such as ‘voice’ and ‘agency’, she found the beliefs to be multivoiced, or polyphonic.

Olli-Pekka Salo is a Lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä. He is writing his doctoral dissertation on the teaching of Swedish at Finnish school and aims at having an extensive view of it through a chain-of-effect analysis from the level of legislation to actual classroom practices. The theoretical framework is based on dialogism.

Tommi Nieminen discusses Peircean semiotics as the metatheoretical basis of linguistics, using ‘genre’ as his case. He argues that using Peirce’s theory as a starting point, empirical and intuitive viewpoints of linguistics in general and text theory in particular could be drawn closer to each other.

Leo van Lier was born in The Netherlands and received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Lancaster University in the UK. Before that, he started out as a schoolteacher in the Netherlands, and has since worked and taught in several countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia, as well as in the USA. His most recent book is The ecology and semiotics of language learning (Springer, 2004). Leo van Lier is Professor in the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is also the Editor of The Modern Language Journal, and of the book series Educational Linguistics, Springer. He is currently working on several key concepts in language education, such as the ecological approach to self and identity, and the role of perception in language learning.

Steve Thorne is a faculty member in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Associate Director of the Center for Language Acquisition at the Pennsylvania State University. The majority of his research contributes to understanding Internet information and communication technologies in relation to the visceral changes they bring to the everyday conditions of cognition, language use, learning, and social interaction. In particular, his research has examined social media, multiplayer online gaming, intercultural communication, and cultural-historical and usage-based approaches to second and foreign language development, both within and outside of formal educational settings.

Yrjö Engeström is Professor of Adult Education and Director of the Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) at the University of Helsinki. He is Professor Emeritus of Communication at University of California, San Diego. Engeström applies and develops cultural-historical activity theory as a framework for the study of transformations and learning processes in work activities and organizations. He is widely known for his theory of expansive learning and for the interventionist methodology of developmental work research.

Annalisa Sannino Annalisa Sannino is University Lecturer in the Institute of  Behavioural Sciences at the University of Helsinki. She has worked as post-doctoral Fulbright scholar in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition and the Department of Communication at the University of California San Diego 2002-03 and as researcher in psychology in the Department of Education at the University of Salerno in Italy.  Her research is focused on communication, cognition and learning in educational institutions and work organizations. In her recent work she deals in particular with the connection between discourse and activity, and with the interventionist nature of cultural-historical activity theory.


Stephen Cowley is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK and Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His PhD and early career were in Linguistics, but since 2000 he has lectured in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Recent empirical work has focused on interactions between mothers and infants, children and robots, and simulations of health emergencies. He founded and co-ordinates the Distributed Language Group, a community who aim to transform the language sciences by showing how directed, dialogical activity gives a collective dimension to human intelligence.

Timo Järvilehto is Professor of Psychology in the University of Oulu since 1986. His basic field of study is brain research and psychophysiology, starting in the 1960’s with EEG problems (CNV, evoked potentials), extending to problems of sensory physiology and psychophysics (human microneurography), and to unit studies in behaving animals. Since 1990 he has been developing psychological theory under the heading “systemic psychology” based on the Theory of the Organism-Environment System.


Other members of his team are:

Veli-Matti Nurkkala is currently doctoral student in the University of Oulu (SkilLab). His doctoral thesis investigates the time course of reading process in different reading situations in order to develop a model of reading process.

Kyösti Koskela is currently working as a laboratory engineer in SkilLab, specialising in eye movement research.

Chin-chi Chao is Associate Professor of National Chengchi University from Taipei, Taiwan. Her initial interest of learning community in language education has recently developed to a focus on learning ecology as it is dialogically perceived, appropriated, evolved, and transformed through agentive activities. Integrating her western education background and the Asian culture that she lives in provides interesting source of inspiration for thinking about related issues.

Dongping Zheng’s research cuts across the fields of linguistics, pyschology, foreign language literacy, teacher education, and educational technology. She has been a member of DLG since 2009, and has been adamantly embracing the Distributed Language perspectives in her applied work, mainly in three lines of research: 1) language development in game-based virtual environments, 2) rethinking second language acquisition and learning from ecological, dialogical and distributed perspectives, and 3) developing new methodology for embodied and non-local events of languaging.