Contact Information

West and South Slavonic Languages and Cultures belongs to the Department of Modern Languages.

P.O. Box 24 (Unioninkatu 40 B)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki


West and South Slavonic Languages are spoken as mother tongue by approximately 100 million Europeans in an area extending from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The majority of West and South Slavonic countries belong to the EU or are currently engaged in membership negotiations with it.

The discipline offers studies in the two largest West Slavonic languages, Polish and Czech, and from the South Slavonic languages Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian. Studies do not require prior language skills. In addition to the language, the students will acquaint themselves with the literature, history and society of their target countries. Some of
the intermediate and advanced studies take place in summer courses and student exchanges in the target country.

Graduates from the discipline work as language experts (in particular as translators and interpreters), experts in their target countries, for example, in the service of public administration, international organisations, tourism and trade and as researchers.

West and South Slavonic Languages and Cultures is a good minor subject, for example, for students of history, social sciences and economics who plan to specialise as experts of Central and South-East Europe. It is a well-suited minor subject for students of Russian, Hungarian and Baltic languages.

On the history of the subject

The history of the subject begins in 1900, when Jooseppi Julius Mikkola (1866–1946) was appointed Professor of Slavonic Philology. From 1919, the subject of Slavonic Philology also included Russian language and literature, until a separate chair in that subject was re-established in 1946. The most celebrated Professor of Slavonic Philology has been Valentin Kiparsky (1904–1983). The present name of the subject has been in use since 2005.

More information (in Finnish): Veli Kolari (1985): Suomen slavistiikan vaiheita