I am a postdoctoral researcher interested in studying human past from an interdisciplinary perspective. My current project is about contacts among Finnic languages (funded by Emil Aaltonen Foundation) at the University of Turku. I am also the PI in the new Kinura work group funded by Kone Foundation (at the University of Helsinki) where we study the evolution of kinship in Uralic speaking populations.
I have also ongoing collaborations with the interdisciplinary Varikin project of the EXCD.lab (University of Bristol) and the BEDLAN team.
So how did I end up with projects like this? I was working on my master’s degree in evolutionary genetics at the University of Jyväskylä in 2009, when I heard that a recently founded interdisciplinary BEDLAN project funded by the Kone Foundation was looking for PhD students to work with Finnish dialects using quantitative methods. “This is the coolest thing ever” I thought, applied and got in, and so my multidisciplinary life in Turku started at the beginning of 2010.
Since then I have learned a lot about – for example – linguistics, history, archeology, and GIS-methods, which suits me well because I have always been interested in different fields. During my year in Bristol I learnt a lot more also about anthropology. What a joy! I have presented my work to a variety of audiences and become an expert in multidisciplinary discussions, as that has been part of my everyday life when working with this topic.
In 2016 I defended my thesis, titled ‘Macro- and microevolution of languages: Exploring linguistic divergence with approaches from evolutionary biology’. In my thesis, I applied the framework of evolutionary biology and Bayesian model-based methods for the first time on Uralic languages and the dialects of Finnish. I also emphasized the connection between humans and their natural environment and its possible influences on spatial patterns of linguistic variation.
I spent the academic year 2017-2018 at the Institute of Estonian and General linguistics, University of Tartu, Estonia where I began my project with the Finnic languages and utilized the vast dialect atlas of Finnic languages to study the linguistic past of the Finnic area. From October 2019-December 2020 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Bristol, UK where I worked in the Varikin-Evolution subproject and focused on borrowings in kinship terminology.