In the Language Bank: Marjatta Palander

Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Marjatta Palander tells us about her research on the dialects of the Karelian language. The Karelian language speech corpora that were compiled in her research projects will be available via Kielipankki.

Who are you?

I am Marjatta Palander, Professor Emerita of Finnish Language at the School of Humanities of the University of Eastern Finland. I am the leader of the recently finished research project KATVE (Migration and linguistic differentiation: Karelian in Tver and Finland), which was funded by the Academy of Finland.

What is your research topic?

During my career, I have done research mostly on the Eastern dialects of Finnish, but in the 2000s, I have also studied Karelian in two research projects. The FINKA project (2011–2014) focused on the dialects of Border Karelia. The KATVE project (2018–2022) investigated the differences and similarities between the dialects of Karelian in Border Karelia and Tver. These Karelian dialects are descended from the common Southern Karelian dialect of the Karelian Proper, which was still spoken in the area of present-day Eastern Finland in the early 17th century. After the Swedish conquest of Eastern Finland, most of the Karelian-speaking population of the region fled to Russia, as far as Tver. Since then, the Karelians of Tver have lived without contact with other Karelians. In the KATVE project, we have examined the differentiation of dialects that has occured in the course of around 350 years.

Our research concerns, among other things, the features of sentence structure, possessive forms and vocabulary. We are also investigating to what extent people with a Border Karelian background and people with a Tver Karelian background can understand each other’s dialects. In my own research, I have examined Karelians’ linguistic awareness using folk-linguistic methods. In addition, I have investigated the temporal variation in one Border Karelian idiolect, of which we have recordings from a timeline of 17 years.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

In the research projects of the 2010s and 2020s, we have compiled three Karelian language speech corpora, which include recorded dialect interviews and their transcriptions produced by FU transcription. The Border Karelian corpus (119 hours) is based on interviews recorded in the 1960s and 1970s, preserved at the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus). The Tver Karelian corpus 1957–1971 (approx. 30 h) was also compiled from recordings at the Institute for the Languages of Finland. The more recent Tver Karelia is represented in the Tver Karelian corpus 2016–2019 (ca. 15 h), which was compiled by researchers from the KATVE project and Karelian language students on our field trips. All the corpora have been submitted to the Language Bank in order to provide researchers with more electronic data on Karelian, which is an endangered minority language.


Palander, Marjatta 2015. Rajakarjalaistaustaisten ja muiden suomalaisten käsityksiä karjalasta. Virittäjä, 119(1), 34–66.

Palander, Marjatta & Mäkisalo, Jukka 2022. Reaaliaikatutkimus rajakarjalaisidiolektista. Virittäjä, 126(3), 339–368.

Palander, Marjatta & Riionheimo, Helka 2018. Miten Raja-Karjalan murre eroaa suomesta? Rajakarjalaistaustaiset pohjoiskarjalaiset kuuntelutestissä. Sananjalka, 60(60.), 49–70.

Riionheimo, Helka & Palander, Marjatta 2017. Rajakarjalainen kuuntelutesti: havainnoijina suomen kielen yliopisto-opiskelijat. Lähivørdlusi/Lähivertailuja 27, 212–241. Eesti rakenduslingvistika ühing. Tallinn.

Uusitupa, Milla, Koivisto, Vesa & Palander, Marjatta 2017. Raja-Karjalan murteet ja raja-alueiden kielimuotojen nimitykset. Virittäjä 121(1), 67–106.


More information

The FIN-CLARIN consortium consists of a group of Finnish universities along with CSC – IT Center for Science and the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus). FIN-CLARIN helps the researchers in Finland to use, to refine, to preserve and to share their language resources. The Language Bank of Finland is the collection of services that provides the language materials and tools for the research community.