Language Regulation in Academia (LaRA)


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Niina spent Oct–Nov 2016 at Lancaster University, UK, as a visiting researcher. She was hosted by the Department of Linguistics and English Language (see and participated in the events of the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre (see She also gave a presentation at the Literacy Research Discussion Group of her current research in the LaRA project, with the title "Orientations to the 'quality' of English in research writing: A comparison of three disciplines".

It was great to visit such a vibrant research community! Thanks particularly to Karin Tusting for her advice and encouragement. We look forward to collaborating in the future!

  Lancaster University Library

On 15–18 June 2016, Anna and Niina enjoyed four days of academic programme in Murcia, Spain, where the 21st Sociolinguistics Symposium was held. Together with Janus Mortensen from the University of Copenhagen, we organised a colloquium entitled "Regimes of Academic Writing – Towards a sociolinguistics of writing practices in academia". The presentations in the colloquium (see below for a list) explored academic writing from different perspectives and in different settings, but with a shared approach to writing as a process that is influenced by both institutional value systems and local negotiations of what counts as valuable, functional and acceptable. The presentations were commented on by our discussant Theresa Lillis (The Open University), who we would like to thank for sharing her experience and perspectives on the topic. Thank you also to our presenters and audience for making the colloquium such an inspiring event!

The colloquium presentations:

  • Karin Tusting (Lancaster University): "What counts as high prestige writing: Implicit and contradictory value systems in academics' talk about their writing practices"
  • Niina Hynninen and Anna Solin (University of Helsinki): "The regulation of English-medium research writing: The dynamic between top-down mechanisms and situated practices"
  • Anne Mäntynen (University of Jyväskylä): "'Accept with revisions': Regulating writing in teacher-student interaction"
  • Janus Mortensen (University of Copenhagen): "Language policing in collaborative student writing"

Website of the conference:



On 9–11 May 2016, Anna and Niina attended the LUNAS conference on Academic Language Use and Academic Literacies from a Multilingual Perspective in Nordic Educational Contexts at the University of Copenhagen. We presented our project poster and gave individual paper presentations on preliminary findings of our data. Anna's talk was entitled "Regulating English language writing at university – institutional mechanisms and practices" and Niina's "The necessity of being multilingual: Finland-based scholars reading and writing for research purposes".

Website of the conference:

  LaRA project poster

Anna and Niina visited the Language Management Theory research team at the Charles University, Prague, in April 2016 to discuss theoretical approaches to the analysis of language regulation. We would like to thank Tamah Sherman and Jiří Nekvapil for their hospitality and the seminar participants for their inspiring comments!

Website of the research group:

  View of Prague

In March 2016, Anna and Niina visited the Department of English at Stockholm University to discuss research collaboration with prof. Maria Kuteeva and Ezra Alexander. We received some funding from Stockholm University to develop our joint interests under the project title "Managing English-medium research writing: Comparisons across a Finnish and a Swedish university".



Professor Theresa Lillis visited the project in November 2015 for a day of seminars and workshops. Local partners of the project were invited to attend part of the day’s events and Theresa also consulted with the team members on the methodologies of the individual case studies. Thank you Theresa!

Theresa's homepage:


In November 2015 our project presented a poster in the annual Autumn Symposium organized by the Finnish Association of Applied Linguistics, AFinLA. All team members also collaborated in organising the symposium. The theme this year was “The language user in changing institutions”. 

  On 23 October 2015, the project visited the Kumpula campus to get familiar with potential research sites. Our guide in Kumpula was Ekaterina Baibuz. Thank you, Ekaterina, for the walk-about!  

Anna gave a talk in the panel “Pragmatic factors of genre formation” at the International Pragmatic Association Conference in Antwerp in July, entitled “Genre change in academia: norm conflicts in the localisation of a new genre”.

Conference website:

Associate Professor Janus Mortensen (University of Roskilde/University of Copenhagen) visited the project on 11 June 2015 to discuss our theoretical orientation and the individual case studies planned. Thank you Janus for a great day!

Janus' homepage:


Niina and Anna gave talks based on language support course data originally collected for the Studying in English as a Lingua Franca project (see at two consecutive events in May and June, with the title “Regulating academic spoken English – Norm negotiations in the context of institutional language support”.

The first event was a seminar on “Parallel language use meets English as a lingua franca in academic settings”, organised by Professor Jan-Ola Östman on 21 May 2015 in Helsinki. Very interesting issues were raised about parallel language use as a language policy orientation in Nordic universities. Papers were delivered by visitors from many Nordic countries, including Frans Gregersen (University of Copenhagen) and Trude Bukve (University of Bergen).

The second event was the Changing English conference arranged at the University of Helsinki on 8–10 June 2015 (see

The project was officially opened on 30 April 2015 in the department common room at Metsätalo, combining the opening with traditional Vappu festivities (Finnish First of May celebrations typically begin the evening before). Our guests were asked to help us come up with an acronym for the project. Many excellent suggestions were made, including Langreal, Reach, Regula and Regina and of course, the acronym we ended up adopting, LaRA.


Anna and Niina gave a paper at the Nordic Interdisciplinary conference on Discourse and Interaction at the University of Jyväskylä in November 2014. The paper was entitled “Policing teacher talk in English” and was our initial take on data collected from a language support course intended for university teachers who were to deliver part of their teaching in English. The data was originally collected for the Studying in English as a Lingua Franca (SELF) project, directed by Anna Mauranen (see more), and we thank her for sharing the data. In the paper, we focused on questions such as what language issues are taken up during the course, who is treated as a relevant language authority and what kinds of language ideological notions are construed by the participants.

The paper was part of a panel convened by Anna and her colleague Anne Mäntynen, entitled "Language policing in academia: a discourse perspective”.

Conference website:
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