Summing up 2013

I published 49 blogs during the year 2013, that is, almost one blog per week. In January, March, June and September, I wrote 6 or 7 blogs per month. I enjoy blogging, because through these patches of text I reach out to readers. An alternative would be to put the texts into a drawer to wait for the day of salvation. Yet another alternative might be to offer them to a publisher but so far that has not been a real option for me. 
          My blogs are in different languages: Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian, although mostly in Finnish (35 blogs). Below, I will present the main themes of the blogs, mention the respective titles of the blogs, translate them into English if necessary, indicate the language used in the blog and give the date of its publishing. 

1- Topical themes 
The Russian-Finnish-Swedish blog titled as Bопрос о будущем Земли (Question of the Earth's future, Sept. 24) is very topical, because it deals with the brave Greenpeace action against the Russian oil drilling in the Arctic areas.
          WTO ja tulevaisuutemme (WTO and our future; in Finnish, Dec. 8) discusses the WTO Bali agreement on Dec. 7, which was almost universally hailed as a triumph of multilateralism that will liberalize and boost global trade. I contrast this euphoria with the fact that mankind lives beyond its means and that the world economy is out of ecological balance. I have attached a video clip "There's no tomorrow" to the blog. 
          Kvinnliga funderingar dagen till ära (Female thoughts in honour of the day; in Swedish, March 7) is a blog to honour the International Women's Day. I tell about the conditions of living during and after the wars 1939–45. Finland survived as an independent nation and recuperated after the calamities to a very great extent thanks to her women.  
          Such experiences, if not less tragic things, should have made it easier to remove the inequalities between women and men in the labour market, but we are still wrestling with the problems of discrimination based on gender. We also have to keep in mind that the day is called the international women's day. This simply means that the struggle for women's rights is everyone's business. 
          In Hulluvuosi 1968 vielä kerran (Crazy year 1968 once more; in Finnish, Apr. 27), I discuss with a friend of mine, a well-known Finnish author, about the significance of the "rebellious" year 1968. He is of the opinion that what then happened was not of much real importance to the literary culture.  
          I counter by pointing out that Finnish literature prospered in the late 60's and the 70's. Furthermore, because of the general atmosphere in Finland and in the world at large, it was difficult to keep literary or any other kind of cultural and political activities apart. The Soviet Union was still a superpower, and the States was waging the unfortunate war in Vietnam. 

2- Language attrition
The fact is that we face severe changes both in our material environment and in our linguistic environment. Hundreds of languages, among them many small Finno-Ugric languages in Russia, are doomed to die in the course of a few decades. I deal with this issue in B niin kuin Babylon (B like Babylon; in Finnish, Feb. 23).

3- Finnish issues
I am fond of the Finnish language and culture. The relevant blogs where I treat Finnish-related issues include Ruma äidinkieleni (My ugly mother tongue; in Finnish, March 14), Pluses and minuses of being a Finn, Part 1, 2 and 3 (May 5, May 24, and June 7, respectively) and Finska – ett språk i Norden, del 1 och del 2 (Finnish – a language in the Nordic countries; in Swedish, June 16 and 20, respectively).
          The blog A niin kuin arvo (V like Value; in Finnish, Feb. 2) discusses what is called the Finnish national awakening that took place from the end of the 18th century and onwards. The awakening was a movement or a process, which encompassed not only cultural expressions in literature, Kalevala folklore, fine arts and music but also promotion of the status of the Finnish language, development of popular education and progress in economy and industry for the better of the civil society. 
          The issue was to awaken and build up the Finnish identity instead of being subjects of the Swedish king and part of the Swedish kingdom. The blog takes as its starting point the well-known song by Jaakko Juteini (1781–1855) "Arvon mekin ansaitsemme" (lit. We also deserve dignity). The Finnish word "arvo" has many meanings, in this connection the meanings 'value' and 'dignity' are relevant.
          Finland was a Great Duchy under the Russian czar in 1809–1917. During the 19th century, a group of Finnish academic persons called "Fennomans" set out to raise the status of Finnish spoken by the majority. (The curious fact is that Fennomans often had Swedish as their first language.) Up till then Finnish had had a fairly low status, while Swedish had been used as the language of administration and higher education.
          The intensive "lobbying" of the Fennomans bore fruit when Alexander II, the Russian czar, ordained the decree in 1863 that raised the status of the Finnish language in Finland. The blog Спасибо за финский языкKiitos suomen kielestä (Thanks for the Finnish language; in Finnish and Russian, Aug. 2) is about this decree.
          Finland became independent state from Russia / the Soviet Union in 1917. I deal with this topic in the blog Halifaxin pamaus ja Suomi (The explosion in Halifax and Finland; in Finnish, Dec. 5). But why Halifax? It was a tragic coincidence that the explosion in Halifax, Canada, and the declaration of independence of Finland took place on the very same day, December 6, 1917.  

4. Sweden-Finnish issues
I am a Sweden-Finn (ruotsinsuomalainen or ruosu, in Finnish) by my identity, and therefore I am concerned about the situation of the Finnish minority in Sweden, my homecountry, whose linguistic and cultural pluralism I cherish.There are three blogs where I discuss "ruosus": 24.2. Ruosujen päivä (Feb. 24, The Sweden Finns' Day; in Finnish, March 5), Att prata finska i Sverige – dumdristigt? (To speak Finnish in Sweden, foolhardy?; in Swedish, Sept. 24), and Puhtia ruosupuuhiin (Put some spirit into Sweden-Finnish activities; in Finnish, Nov. 23). 

5. Pluralism of culture and society 
I discuss the cultural pluralism of Sweden in the blog Utan olikheter stannar Sverige (Without differences Sweden will stop; in Swedish, Jan. 21), and the pluralism of Finland in Suomi on ruotsalainen (Finland is Swedish; in Finnish, Jan. 26) and Hurrivihaa (Hatred against Finland-Swedes; in Finnish, Sept. 17). 
          Persujen rotupolitiikkaa (On the racial policy of the Real Finns, one of the two right wing parties in Finland; the Finnish nickname of the party is "persut", derived from the party's name "Perussuomalaiset", lit. "Foundation Finns". In Finnish, Dec. 20). In the blog, I deal with the proposal put forward by one of the leading persu-politicians. The proposal contains the idea that different ethnic groups of Finland should be registered. I conclude that the proposal is an interesting outline.
          In order to carry out the registration in a substantial manner, we should first of all enlarge the notion of "ethnic" to encompass all relevant groups such as Esperantists, pacifists, philatelists, HBTQ, and others. (Esperantists have a special term for their cultural and social unity and their borderless community, namely Esperantujo.)
          As the symbol of this pluralistic ethnicity we should choose the Rainbowflag to wave it side by side with the EU flag and the national flags. More specifically, I suggest that Russia should take the Rainbowflag as her own to jubilate the fact that she makes a typical multiethnic state. 

6. Human tragedies
I make my reverence to human tragedies in Auschwitz: Mortuorum oblivisci non decet (The dead shall not be forgotten; in diff. languages, Jan. 30), Tiananmen Square (The Tiananmen Square Protests quelled on June 4, 1989; in Finnish, June 4), Nagasaki-shi (The US terror bombings on Japan on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945; in diff. languages, Aug. 20), Jan Palach. Läsnä. Presente (the Warsaw pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; in Finnish and English, Aug. 20), Nunca olvidar 11.9.1973 (the US-supported coup d'état of Chile; photos; in Spanish, English and Finnish, Sept. 8), 9/11 USA 11.9.2001 (Al-Qaeda attack on the States; in English and Finnish, Sept. 10), and Finland against Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany (the Soviet Russian attempt to occupy Finland in the Winter War 1939–40; the Russians made the "Molotov-Ribbentrop pact" with Nazi Germany prior to the assault on Finland; photos, in English, Oct. 29). See here for a treatment of the Winter War in Russian with subtitles in Finnish, and here for a treatment in English of the WW2 in the Nordic countries.
          The Pussy Riot phenomenon is a tragedy although of a different kind than the above mentioned tragedies; I have included their manifesto in English (May 5) among my blogs because I wholeheartedly support their struggle for respect of the human rights in Russia. 

7. Linguistic issues 
I am a linguist, and interested in linguistic phenomena. In Hyvä Perkele (Good God damn! March 20), I deal with perkele, perhaps the second best known Finnish word after sauna. Perkele, the swearword, is a loanword from Baltic languages, where it meant 'thunder'. 
          In Formaalisen ja funktionaalisen kieltenopetuksen rajankäyntiä (June 3), I discuss in Finnish the distinction between formal and functional language teaching methods. This blog has been among the most popular ones during the year, see below. 
          Swedish is one of the two official languages of Finland, and the blog Dosa (Box; in Swedish, Aug. 23) deals with the word dosa as it appears in Swedish (meaning 'box'), in spoken Finnish as toosa with the somewhat fuzzy meaning of 'box, gadget, radio', and in Finnish Helsinki-slang as dösa, dösä or (in my youth) dosa where it means 'bus'. 
          In the blog Kielikokeita (Language experiments; in Finnish, Sept. 23), I play with Finnish idioms by blending idiomatic with non-idiomatic use of phrases. An appropriate example in English would be: He kicked the football and the bucket.In this example, the verb kicked takes as its object both the noun phrase the ball and the noun phrase the bucket.  
          The phrase kick the football is not an idiom, whereas kick the bucket is an idiom with the specific meaning of 'to die'. We may conclude that the sentence is syntactically correct but semantically infelicitous.
          In 2011–2013, I was engaged in a lexico-semantic project at the Centre of Language Technology in Göteborg. In the blog Mitä oikein puuhailen? Kurkistus kielityöläisen arkeen (What I am working with, in fact? A peep into a language worker's typical working day; in Finnish, Oct. 13) I describe the coding work I was carrying out in this project. 
          In Kielitietoa marketissa (Language knowledge in a mall; in Finnish, Dec. 18), the main person is Sabah, a polyglot cashier of the mall. I had a short chat with her while I was paying my bill. When standing in the queue I got interested in her name tag Sabah, and she told me that it means 'morning' in Arabic (which is one of the main immigrant languages of Sweden). 

8. Personal issues
I ventilate amorous feelings in the blog Valentine, oh Valentine! (in English, Feb. 14). The blog Laurin-kisat (The Lauri-games; in Finnish, Aug. 10) is a recollection of the sports events that my five siblings and I organized in the '60's in the memory of my eldest brother Lauri, who died in an accident at the age of 14.
          In Timon tarina (Timo's story; in Finnish, March 3) and in Pojat ovat poikia - Sunt pueri pueri (in Finnish, Oct. 20) I deal with the time when I went to school in Finland. "Timo" was one of my classmates. After we had finished the school and many years had gone, I happened to meet him late one evening on the street in Helsinki. It was a very unpleasent meeting, because he tried to rob me. He stopped when I recognized him as my classmate. Several years later I happened to learn that he had died. What made him a criminal? Life is full of riddles. 
          The other blog from the school milieu deals with bullying in the classroom, in this case during a Latin lesson. I thought I had something to say, I raised my hand and stood up. But suddenly, I forgot what I had intended to say. My classmates burst into laughter, and that I will never forget. Bullying is a very important topic that we have to talk openly about. It means psychological violence, which occasionally can be worse than physical one.
          Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the gurus – yksi guruista (in English and Finnish, May 9) discusses the message of Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986). In my youth, I was very interested in what he says in his writings. "Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique." Note that Jiddu Krishnamurti expressly said that he is not a guru. However, given his long lifework as a very well-known lecturer in ethical issues, that title describes what he actually meant to many people.
          Laitoselämää – siviilipalvelumies muistelee (Life in an institution – a conscientious objector reminisces; in Finnish, May 30) tells a story from the period of time when I served as a c.o. in an institution for the cure of alcoholics. I served as a night watch of the institution ("huoltola"). 
          One night a patient comes from his cell to the duty room where I am sitting, and asks why I am a c.o., and when I tell him that I do not take up to arms and kill people, he replies: "I have killed a lot of people." Then he tells about his time as a soldier in the French foreign legion. It is a horrifying story of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. 
          Before I do my last round that night in the "huoltola" area, we go out, smoke cigarettes and watch the sun as it is rising behind the edge of the forest. "It is beautiful when it rises," my friend, the legionary, says. I agree with him, the world is beautiful early in the morning when the sky is clear. 
          In Julkaisujani – Mina publikationer (My publications; in diff. Languages. Oct. 31), I have collected the list of my scientific publications, non-fictional and fictional texts. The blog Punon runon jos toisenkin (I twine a poem and even another one; in Finnish, Nov. 6) says something about my innermost ambitions, as does the first blog of the year 2014 All these years and a butterfly (in diff. languages, Jan. 2).

9. A few words of the readership of these blogs
My readers have had some favourite blogs. One of them has been the blog on formal vs. functional language teaching methods (see above, 57 views), and another the blog which concerns the word dosa (see above, 29 views). But the most popular blog since the opening of this blog site has been Äidit vain nuo toivossa väkevät (Only mothers in hope so strong; in total 403 views, Finnish, May 6, 2009. The title is a quote from a poem by Lauri Viita, a renown Finnish poet). The blog is my reaction to what we could read in the report State of the World's Mothers in 2009. It is a heart-rending report. 
          On a monthly basis, there have been a little over 1 000 visits to this blog site in the year 2013. From the beginning in 2007 until now, there have been 11 230 visits. One may recall that in 2010, I only wrote two blogs, and in 2011 I took a time-out. After some pruning of less popular blogs, the number of blogs is at the moment 168. 
          With respect to the visitors' nationality the main groups are the following (number of visits in brackets): Sweden 3451, Finland 2743, USA 1434, Russia 862, Malaysia 570, The Netherlands 256, Germany 218, Ukraine 216, France 82 and South Korea 62. Regrettably, I have had no visitors from African or Latin American countries.

10. Forward! We shall not cease from reading and writing!
I will continue blogging, because it is great fun. I cannot give any promises with respect to themes I will deal with or even what languages I will use. Preferably, I will use Finnish and to an extent Swedish, two of the languages that are spoken in the corner of our Blue Planet where I love to live with my family and friends. 
          I wish all the best to all of my readers during the year 2014. Oikein hyvää alkanutta vuotta teille kaikille! Ha ett riktigt bra år 2014! Mi esperas bonan jaron al ĉiuj vi, kiuj ŝatas legi miajn blogojn!

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