Karelian Language and Culture

Languages of tuition is Finnish.

Almost like Finnish but Not Quite

Did your Finnish grandmother speak a strange language or dialect? If your grandmother was a Karelian evacuee and lived in the Eastern Finland or the Oulu region after the wars, she might have spoken Karelian.

Karelian is the closest cognate language of Finnish. The biggest differences between the Karelian and the Finnish language are some characteristics in their speech sounds and especially their vocabularies. The Karelian language has many borrowed Russian elements. However, the basic structures and grammatical systems of the languages are quite similar.

Karelian is spoken in Russia and Finland. Before World War II there were 30,000-40,000 speakers of Karelian in Finland but there are no official records of their number. In Border Karelia, Karelian speakers were more indigenous than Finnish speakers. After the evacuation of Karelia, the use of the Karelian language diminished considerably in the new residential areas.

Nowadays, there are some thousands of users of the Karelian language in Finland and even more in Russia. In Russia, Karelian is spoken mainly in the Republic of Karelia and in the Tver region. The number of Karelian speakers is ever decreasing, but the language is being revived and developed in both Finland and Russia.

A Comprehensive Study Module on a Distinctive Domestic Language

Study modules in Karelian Language and Culture are only available at the University of Eastern Finland, and the university is home to the only professorship in Karelian Language and Culture in Finland. Courses are held in Finnish and Karelian. You can write your Master’s thesis on Karelian language in the study programme of Finnish Language. Karelian Language and Culture is an ideal study programme not only for students of other language subjects but also for students of cultural subjects, history and theology. Naturally the study programme can be a great complement to any degree and it is available as a minor subject to all students of the University of Eastern Finland.

Studies in Karelian Language and Culture will provide you with a diverse understanding of the Karelian language, culture and history. The studies include courses on both practical language skills and the structure, grammar, history and social status of the Karelian language. You will acquire a basic knowledge of issues relating to the status of minority languages, language revitalisation, language standardisation and the establishment of a literary language. In addition, you will learn about the status of Karelians on the frontier between East and West.

Studies in Karelian Language and Culture will provide you with the competence necessary for working in positions that require expertise in Karelian language and culture, e.g. as teachers, researchers, reporters and experts in the field of culture. To prevent an endangered language from disappearing, we need the input from as many professionals and other agents as possible.

The Knowledge of the Language is Broadened by Research

The Karelian language offers linguists an extensive and relatively untouched field of research and dozens of unresolved research questions. Although the Karelian language has been researched for as long as the Finnish language, the number of its researchers has always been low. There are a lot of materials on the language of the 19th and 20th century that are accessible to research.

Our research focuses on the various dialects and varieties of the Karelian language. In recent years, we have received outside funding for research on the Karelian spoken in Finland, i.e. the dialects of Border Karelia. The targets of this research have included topics such as the Karelian language’s contacts to its neighbouring languages. We conduct research in collaboration with other subjects, especially with the subject of Finnish Language.

The knowledge of the Karelian language is constantly broadening because the research applies current and developing linguistic methods. University research also forms the basis for, for example, the grammatical description of Karelian and provides material and knowledge for the teaching of Karelian, for producing study materials, for language revitalisation, and for the establishment of a literary language.

Video lectures on Karelian language 

Welcome to learn about the Karelian language. These web pages will give you a look into the research done at the University of Eastern Finland on the Karelian language and offer a possibility to study Livvi-Karelian. During the academic year of 2018-2019, a group of researchers and teachers of the Karelian language at the University of Eastern Finland were responsible for the contents of these video lectures. The lectures have also been granted development financing for teaching at the University of Eastern Finland in 2018. 


Terveh tulkua tuttavuštumah karjalan kieleh. Tällä šivuštolla piäšet kaččelomah Päivännoušu-Šuomen yliopistošša luajittavua karjalan kielen tutkimušta šekä opaštumah livvinkarjalan kielimuotoh. Videoluventojen šiämyššäštä on vaššannun opaššuntavuotena 2018–2019 joukko Päivännoušu-Šuomen yliopiston karjalan kielen tutkijua ta opaštajua, ta niijen totevuttamiseh on šuatu Päivännoušu-Šuomen yliopiston opaššukšen kehitäntärahotušta vuotena 2018. 


Terveh tulgua tuttavustumah karjalan kieleh! Tällä sivussolla piäzet kaččomah Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopissossa luajittavua karjalan kielen tutkimusta da opastumah livvinkarjalan kielimuodoh. Videoluvendoloin syväinnöstä on vassannun opassundavuodena 2018–2019 joukko Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopisson karjalan kielen tutkijua da opastajua, da niijen todeuttamizeh on suadu Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopisson opassuksen kehitändärahotusta vuodena 2018. 


Terveh tulgua tuttavumah karjalan kieleh! Täl sivustol piäzet kaččomah Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopistos luajittavua karjalan kielen tutkimustu sego opastumah livvinkarjalan kielimuodoh. Videoluvendoloin syväindös on vastannuh opastunduvuvvel 2018–2019 joukko Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopiston karjalan kielen tutkijua da opastajua, da niilöin todevuttamizeh on suadu Päivännouzu-Suomen yliopiston opastauksen kehitändyrahoitustu vuvvel 2018. 

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