Central Balkans 2015

The target of the 2015 field trip was the Central Balkans, more precisely, the region around lakes Ohrid and Prespa, in Macedonia, Albania, and Greece.

The trip took place from 31 May to 14 June along the itinerary Skopje – Struga – Sveti Naum – Korça – Kastoriá – Flórina – Bitola – Ohrid – Skopje, with field work also in Resen, Asamati, Boboshtica, Voskopoja, and Pustec.

The group consisted of six teachers (Jouko Lindstedt, Johanna Virkkula, Max Wahlstörm, Janne Saarikivi, Maxim Makartsev [Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow], and Motoki Nomachi [Hokkaido University, Sapporo]), four doctoral students (Dušica Božović, Justyna Pierzyńska, Heini Puurunen, and Ksenia Shagal) and seven MA/BA students (Andrei Călin Dumitrescu, Pavel Falaleev, Paula Hämeen-Anttila, Jani Korhonen, Antti Laine, Kukka Pitkänen, and Chingduang Yurayong).

Before the trip, the students took an introductory course in Balkan linguistics, participated in meetings preparing the field trip, and presented their research plans at them. They also took a quick elementary course of Albanian (taught by Maxim Makartsev) and/or Macedonian (taught by Max Wahlström). All of them already knew at least one language relevant for the region, such as Greek, Serbian, or Turkish.

The trip began in Struga on 1 June with a common workshop, where the Finnish group met the Macedonian linguists who were going to travel with them on part of the itinerary. In all, the help from Macedonian colleagues and representatives of different minority organizations in the three countries was essential for the success of the trip.

The general themes of the trip were languages in contact and multilingualism in practice. A sociolinguistic survey was carried out using a questionnaire that was administered to bilingual/multilingual informants. In addition, the students realized their own research projects. The number of informants interviewed on the trip was about 150.

The questionnaire material and recordings collected during the trip were be organized by Max Wahlström. An article volume by participants of the trip, edited by Maxim Makartsev & Max Wahlström was published in 2016 in the Slavica Helsingiensia series.