Project members


Professor Ari Huhta

MA, Phil. Lic., PhD (Jyväskylä), Professor of language assessment in the Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä, is the Principal Investigator in the project (since August 2012). He specialises in language assessment, and has participated in several national and international research and development projects, such as the IEA Language Education Study (1994–96), the Finnish National Certificates system (1993 onwards), and DIALANG (1996–2004). His interests include self-assessment and feedback, diagnostic assessment, development of assessment procedures for SLA research, and the study of the linguistic characteristics of CEFR levels. He has published over 30 refereed articles or book chapters.

Email: ari.huhta(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)

Dr. Lea Nieminen

MA, PhD (Jyväskylä), is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the project, specialising in learning Finnish as a second language. She has participated in research projects such as Early Language Development and Dyslexia (1997–99) and Dialogues of Appropriation (2008). In 2007 she completed her doctoral dissertation A Complex Case: A Morphosyntactic Approach to Complexity in Early Child Language. Since then she has worked as a senior researcher (Finnish sign language 2007–2008 and Finnish language 2009) and lecturer in the Department of Languages. Her research interests include first language acquisition, morphosyntactic complexity, relationship between interaction and acquisition as well as bilingual acquisition of Finnish and FSL. She has published several refereed articles in both national and international publications. She is also co-editor of Puhe ja kieli journal (2010 onwards).  

Email: lea.s.m.nieminen(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)


Dr. Riikka Ullakonoja

BA, MA, Phil. Lic., PhD (Jyväskylä), is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the DIALUKI project, specializing in learning English as a second language and Russian as a first language. She defended her doctoral dissertation called "Da. Eto vopros! Prosodic development of Finnish students' read-aloud Russian during study in Russia" in 2011. She has been part of the research projects "Spontaneous Speech of Typologically Unrelated Languages (Russian, Finnish and Dutch)" and "Russian and Finnish Prosody and its Effects on Segments". Her previous positions include Lecturer of Russian language and culture in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä. Her research interests include second and foreign language learning, and phonetics (especially prosody).

Email: riikka.ullakonoja(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)


MA Sanna Olkkonen

MA (Turku), Doctoral Student in the DIALUKI project. She specialises in cognitive processes in second language learning, mainly word recognition and rapid automatic naming as indicators of automatization of foreign language skills. Her master´s thesis concentrated on mother tongue influence on the efficiency of cognitive processes and the way this was manifested in foreign language learning. She is also currently working as a teacher of Finnish as a second language.

Email: sanna.okkonen(at)jyu.fi

MA Eeva-Leena Haapakangas

MA (Jyväskylä), Bachelor of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (Vaasa), Research Assistant for the Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä. Previously she has worked in the Tampere University project "Russia in the Finnish Media 2009-2011". She has also been involved in Russia-related research projects in the Centre for Maritime Studies in Kotka (University of Turku).

Email: eeva-leena.haapakangas(at)jyu.fi

Professor emeritus J. Charles Alderson

MA (Oxford), PhD (Edinburgh), Professor of Linguistics and English Language Education in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University. We was the Principal Investigator of DIALUKI till his retirement in August 2012, after which has been Academic Advisor to the project. Professor Alderson has expertise in applied linguistics in general, but specifically second and foreign language assessment, the validation and impact of language tests, foreign/second language reading, evaluation of language education programmes, and utilisation of the Common European Framework.

Since the 1980s, he has directed many important international projects on language assessment, the most recent ones including EU-funded DIALANG and several projects exploring the validity of CEFR. Prof. Alderson has published 18 authored or edited books and over 90 refereed articles or book chapters. He is past co-editor of Language Testing, the main international journal of the field, and co-editor of the Cambridge Language Assessment Series of books by Cambridge University Press. He was a member of the Reading Expert Group for the PISA 2009 study. His 2005 book Diagnosing Foreign Language Proficiency: The Interface between Learning and Assessment is a landmark in the development of the field of diagnostic testing.

Email: c.alderson(at)lancaster.ac.uk (See personal website >>)



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Advisory Board members



Professor Maisa Martin




PhD, Professor of Finnish Language in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä. Specialist in Finnish as a second and foreign language. She is Principal Investigator of the Topling project (2010–2013). She is a pioneer in Finnish-as-L2 research and assessment. Her research interests include the sequence of structural acquisition in Finnish.


Email: maisa.martin(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



Professor Tarja Nikula




PhD, Director of the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), University of Jyväskylä. Her research interests include pragmatics of language learning and teaching, classroom interaction in CLIL and EFL classrooms, English-Finnish language contact phenomena and language education policies.


Email: tarja.nikula(at)campus.jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



Dr. Ulla Richardson




PhD, Adjunct Professor in the Agora Center, University of Jyväskylä. She is a linguist whose expertise includes phonological and orthographic processing in dyslexia, auditory/speech perception, phonological awareness and prevention, and intervention in dyslexia across languages.


Email: ulla.a.richardson(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



Professor Heikki Lyytinen




PhD, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology in the Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä. His projects include: Psychophysiology of arousal, attention, anticipation and auditory cognition, the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia, Learning disorders as barriers of human development (EU-COST A8), and Learning and Motivation, CoE. His research interests include dyslexia, developmental neuropsychology, learning disorders and psychophysiology.


Email: heikki.lyytinen(at)psyka.jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



Dr. Scott Jarvis




PhD, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Ohio University, focuses largely on cross-linguistic influence in the lexical and morphological patterns found in learners' language production, particularly in the use of English by Finnish and Swedish speakers.


Email: scott.jarvis(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



Dr. Judit Kormos




PhD, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University. Her research interests include second language speech production, the psychological processes of second language acquisition and the role of cognitive factors and motivation in learning foreign languages.


Email: j.kormos(at)lancaster.ac.uk  (See personal website >>)



Professor John H.A.L. de Jong




PhD, Vice President of Test Development at Pearson Assessment and Professor of Language Testing at the Free University of Amsterdam. He has specialised in empirical scaling and the development of internationally standardised reporting scales of language proficiency.


Email: john.dejong(at)pearson.com  (See personal website >>)



Professor emeritus Sauli Takala




PhD, Research Professor (emeritus, University of Jyväskylä). Takala specialises in evaluation research and in the study and development of language testing, and he has participated in numerous national and international projects in these areas. His recent work has focused on the development of the Common European Framework of Reference and on methodologies that can be used for linking examinations and tests with the Framework as reliably as possible. He has published widely on the above topics as well as on language learning and teaching.


Email: sjtakala(at)hotmail.com



Professor Riikka Alanen




Email: riikka.a.alanen(at)jyu.fi  (See personal website >>)



MSSc Kenneth Eklund




MSSc, researcher, University of Jyväskylä, the Centre of Excellence 'Learning and Motivation'. Eklund has been the coordinator of data collection and data management in the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia (JLD), directed by Professor Heikki Lyytinen. He specialises in the measurement of reading and the cognitive skills related to reading and in the study of the development of reading.


Email: kenneth.m.eklund(at).jyu.fi



Ph.D. Paavo Leppänen




PhD, Professor of psychology/dyslexia at the Department of Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä. Leppänen conducts and directs research in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. His research themes are dyslexia and language impairment, their risk factors and training methods, problems in foreign/ second language learning and neurocognitive processes of reading. He has long experience with brain research using event-related potential (ERP) and behavioural research methods e.g. in Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia (JLD) in two Centres of Excellence at the Department of Psychology. His international experience includes post-doctoral research of 2.5 years in Infancy Studies Laboratory (Rutgers University, NJ, USA) and directing/ coordinating a cross-linguistic ERP project as a part of a large scale European “Dyslexia genes and neurobiological pathways” –project (NEURODYS). Leppänen also collaborates in international studies comparing brain and behavioural measures with genetic data as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. 


E-mail: paavo.ht.leppanen(at)jyu.fi (See personal website >>)



Dr. Kate Cain



DPhil, Reader in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on the different cognitive and language-related skills that underpin the development of reading and listening comprehension, both in atypical and typical populations.


Email: k.cain(at)lancaster.ac.uk (See personal website >>)




 PhD John Field

 Email: jcf1000(at)dircon.co.uk



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