Anne Pitkänen-Huhta


Professor Anne Pitkänen-Huhta  

Professor, Head of the Department of Languages
Tel: +358 50 42 85 276
Internal short number: 7220
Email: anne.pitkanen-huhta(a)
Room: P 324


Multilingual literacies in young people's lives in Finland

My research revolves around various aspects of literacy. Literacy is understood not only as reading and writing but also as practices that people employ (create, recreate and renew) in making sense of their textually mediated social realities. This social approach to literacy is more interested in what literacy does than what literacy is, and therefore literacy is – or  multiple literacies are - seen as action, something that people produce and consume to create, maintain and transform social relations, identities and activities.

My specific focus is on multilingual literacies. In Finland, our textual landscapes are increasingly multilingual, with English having a particularly important status. While English is the most popular foreign language studied at school, Finns increasingly encounter English texts in their everyday lives through the media and popular culture as well as through personal communication in the globalizing world. English texts are also used at workplaces for gaining information and maintaining contacts both within Finland as well as globally. Thus, literacy is one interesting contact zone for English and Finnish.

Theoretically and methodologically my research draws from new literacy studies, discourse analysis and ethnography. One of the aims is to connect macro analyses of literacy practices (including values and attitudes) at the societal level with micro analyses of the particular literacy events people engage in. My focus is on young people both in foreign language education and the everyday life. My research, therefore, touches upon issues such as acquisition of multilingual literacies, English literacy in Finnish society, the uses and functions of English literacy in young people’s lives, the contact between educational and vernacular multilingual literacies, and literacy in the new technologies and the new media. In addition to literacy, I am also interested in the role of the English language in young people’s everyday lives more generally. It is especially important to gain insight into the young people’s own views and perceptions of the meanings English has for them.

Further information on research projects