The ELFA project

Latest research

Postdoctoral researchers

Prof. Anna Mauranen is Professor of English and currently serving as vice-rector of the University of Helsinki. She has directed the compilation of the spoken ELFA corpus and the written WrELFA corpus of academic ELF. Her latest book, Exploring ELF: Academic English shaped by non-native speakers (2012), reports her findings from the ELFA corpus.

Anna Solin is a university lecturer in the University of Helsinki's Dept. of Modern Languages. She conducts post-doc research on the academic portfolio genre.

Jaana Suviniitty is a lecturer at the Aalto University Language Centre. Her PhD thesis, Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features (2012), is available online as an E-thesis.

Niina Hynninen (University of Helsinki) conducts research in language regulation in ELF. Her PhD thesis, Language Regulation in English as a Lingua Franca: Exploring language-regulatory practices in academic spoken discourse (2013), is available online as an E-thesis.

Elina Ranta (University of Tampere) draws on data from the ELFA corpus in her PhD thesis, Universals in a Universal Language? – Exploring Verb-Syntactic Features in English as a Lingua Franca (2013). It is available online as a TamPub E-thesis.

Diane Pilkinton-Pihko has investigated ELF lecturers' self-assesments of their language use at the Aalto University School of Science. Her thesis, English-medium instruction: Seeking assessment criteria for spoken professional English (2013), is also available as an E-thesis.

Svetlana Vetchinnikova (University of Helsinki) employs Sinclair's theory of meaning to explore the mechanisms underlying L2 users' acquisition and use of lexis. Her thesis, Second language lexis and the idiom principle, is available online as an E-thesis.

PhD students

Maria Metsä-Ketelä employs the ELFA corpus to explore vague expressions in spoken academic ELF.

Totti Itkonen investigates practices of language evaluation in the Finnish educational system.

Ray Carey is applying Linear Unit Grammar (LUG) to a study of fluency in the ELFA corpus and has served as compilation manager of the WrELFA corpus.

Kaisa Pietikäinen applies conversation analysis to studying ELF in private contexts, namely ELF used as the "couple tongue" in cross-cultural love relationships. Working title: Succeeding in Cross-Cultural Communication using Ln – ELF Couples in Focus.

Netta Hirvensalo is researching university language policies in Finland and their impact on Finnish and international teachers, researchers, and students.

Hanna-Mari Pienimäki conducts research on the language ideologies and norms of L2 English language experts in academia, including translators, teachers, and press officers.

MA students

Jani Ahtiainen investigates terms of address and politeness in the ELFA corpus.

Hiromi Ukonmaanaho applies Conversation Analysis to academic group work collected within the SELF project.

Pirjo Surakka-Cooper uses SELF project research data to explore features of written ELF.


  • For research blogging on ELF, see the ELFA project blog.
  • Anna Mauranen has published a chapter on academic ELF in New Frontiers in Teaching and Learning English, edited by Paola Vettorel (Cambridge Scholars).
  • An intensive course on ELF is offered by researchers from the ELFA project in the Helsinki Summer School, Aug. 4–20, 2015. For description of the course, see the ELFA blog.
  • Niina Hynninen has published an article in the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 3(2) entitled "The Common European Framework of Reference from the perspective of English as a lingua franca: What we can learn from a focus on language regulation".
  • Svetlana Vetchinnikova has defended her PhD thesis, Second language lexis and the idiom principle. Read the abstract and download the full text from Helsinki's E-thesis service.
  • Maria Kuteeva & Anna Mauranen have edited a special issue of the Journal of English for Academic Purposes 13: Writing for publication in multilingual contexts. Find their introduction here.
  • Kaisa Pietikäinen has published an article entitled ELF couples and automatic code-switching in the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 3(1).