Contact Information

General Linguistics
Department of Modern Languages

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

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General Linguistics

Source: The World Atlas of Language Structures Online.

General linguistics focuses on phenomena related to language and languages at a general level, which means that the scope of its research problems is not limited by any single language. It studies topics such as the limits of interlingual variation, linguistic universals, language learning, linguistic change and the relationship between speech communities and society.

General linguistics is also interested in the documentation of individual languages – especially when the documentation concerns small languages of which little is currently known and which have not been adequately described. It can be regarded as a certain kind of umbrella discipline for all research conducted in languages.

The major subject students of general linguistics find employment in Finland or abroad as researchers or teachers, different expert duties, administration, or at language technology businesses. As a minor subject, general linguistics is useful not only for the students of language subjects but also for students of disciplines such as phonetics, psychology and philosophy.

The subject General Linguistics was established in 1966 and became a department of its own in 1967. In 2010 it was integrated as part of the Department of Modern Languages.