The Norface seminar series  Social aspects of language diversity is coordinated by a team of researchers in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The researcher in charge is Professor Arja Piirainen-Marsh, the principal co-ordinator is Professor Sari Pietikäinen, with Ms. Tiina Virkkula (M.A.) acting as the seminar series secretary.

From top left: Samu Kytölä, Katja Mäntylä, Eeva Riipinen, Hannele Dufva, Tarja Nikula, Sari Pietikäinen, Sirpa Leppänen and Päivi Lavonen.

Missing from photo: Arja Piirainen-MarshMaisa Martin, Marianne Toriseva and Tiina Virkkula (secretary from August 1st 2007).

The Jyväskylä team members are all involved in research on multilingualism in Finland. Some key areas of interest are the investigation of the uses and functions of English in Finland, northern multilingualism (including Sami issues), and multilingualism in the context of language learning and teaching.



In our research, we investigate multilingualism from different but overlapping perspectives, drawing on e.g. discourse studies, contact linguistics, pragmatics, dialogism, and the study of multimodality. In several on-going research projects, data on different aspects of multilingualism have been collected that will be further used in NORFACE context. The data sets include a range of print and new media texts, interaction data (everyday interaction, institutional interaction), ethnographic data, interviews, diaries, photographs and drawings.


The Department of Languages also houses a Centre of Excellence in Research on Variation, Contacts and Change of English (a joint research venture by the universities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki, see ), and is a research program on Multilingualism in Finland, with Dr. Jan Blommaert acting as its Distinguished Professor from 2007 to 2010, see

More information of our team members and their research interests here.