Summing up 2014

I published 21 blogs during the year 2014. My blogs were in Finnish 9 times, in Swedish 7 times, in English 3 times, once and very briefly in Chinese. In the beginning of the year, I published one of my poems in several languages as a blog (Jan. 2).
Below, I will present the main themes of the blogs, mention their respective titles, translate the titles into English if necessary, indicate the language used in the blog and give the date of its publishing.
1. Topical themes
In 2014, we saw many armed conflicts and real acts of war. I reacted against Russia's occupation of Krim in the blog Orosmoln i öster (Threatening clouds in the East, Swedish, Apr. 1) but emphasized that we must not demonize Russians even if we dislike the aggressive politics of Putin.
Laddade repliker kring Ostpolitik (Charged rejoinders on Ostpolitik, Swedish, Apr. 12) is my letter to the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs Posten, where I oppose the idea that Sweden should join the NATO, the topic of a heated debate in Sweden. It would increase remarkably the military tension in our part of the world. I dare to advocate civil resistance against potential aggressors pointing out that it can be made efficient and effective, if it is planned and prepared well in beforehand.
In Fred så in i Norden (Peace in Nordic countries - that's for sure, Swedish, June 8), I discuss the celebration in regard to the fact that Sweden has not been involved in a war since 1814. I point out that Norway and Finland have been engaged in wars during this period of time. Therefore, it is not accurate to maintain as some Swedes occasionally do that there have not been any acts of war in the Nordic countries during the past 200 years.
In the blog Si vis pacem, para mentes (If you want peace, prepare human minds (for it), Finnish, Oct. 23), I allude to the Latin proverb "If you want peace, prepare for war". I maintain that we have to give diplomacy more than a few chances, and consider using other means than the military ones such as the non-violent civil resistance to meet a potential aggressor. For information on civil resistance, see www.civilresistance.net
In Revolution, Pеволюция, Rivoluzione (Swedish, Nov. 7), I discuss the Soviet Communism and Marxism. The parades on the Red Square on the day of the October Revolution on November 7 are long gone as is the Soviet communism.
I feel sympathy with the social change movement that Danilo Dolci devoted his life to in Sicily. In the blog, I publish my translation into Swedish of his poem "Rivoluzione" the first stanza of which goes in English as follows: "The one who gets scared when he hears the word "revolution" has perhaps not understood."
The blog Pacifism (English, Nov. 10) recollects the beginning of the First World War 1914. In the blog, I discuss pacifism and civil resistance, and commemorate Arndt Pekurinen, a Finnish pacifist who was executed on the battlefront Nov. 5, 1941, in the war between Finland and Soviet Russia, when he refused to take a weapon into his hand.
2. Finnish and Sweden Finnish issues
In Näkymätön matkalaukku (Invisible suitcase, Finnish, Jan. 18) I recollect my first years in Sweden in the beginning of the 80's. Then, I spoke Swedish with my "broken (Finnish) accent" as I still do, and certain notions such as "sisu" (Finnish for persistance) were then dear to me as they still are. So, I keep hold of the suitcase that I grew up with.
In Finskhetens kärna (The gist of Finnishness, Swedish, Sept. 7), I discuss the Finnish "success story", a country that went through four wars and other kind crises during the 20th century but in 2012 was ranked as the best country in the world in a number of respects such as school education, dynamism of business life, freedom of press, least corruption, and in general, the least failed country out of the 175 countries ranked. See http://ffp.statesindex.org/rankings-2013-sortable.
Vad har Finland att tacka Sverige för (What has Finland to thank Sweden for? Swedish, Dec. 13) discusses the influence Sweden had on the conditions of living in Finland during the over 600 years when the area we now call Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom. Finnish historians have different positions in regard to this influence. I think that the influence was extensive in terms of judicial system, government, church, fending off the threat of Russia etc. Due to this long coexistence with Sweden, Finland came to be part of the Western and not the Eastern Europe. But note that Finns were subjects of the Swedish king; together with Swedes and other peoples of the kingdom they built up what we may call "the Swedish heritage". Especially in terms of their history and social conditions of living, Sweden and Finland are interwoven with one another to the degree that one could speak of "two Swedens". Note, however, that Sweden is still a kingdom while Finland turned out to be a republic. Every autumn the Swedish and Finnish athletes meet in the track and field event called "Finnkamp" in Swedish (lit. Finnbattle). As a Finn, I would like to point out that Sweden is the second least failed country in the world (cf. above). See http://finland.fi/History for a "crash course" in history of Finland.
3. Human tragedies
We shall not forget. 我们应永远不会忘记 1989 6 月大屠杀。 Tiān'ānmén Guǎngchǎng, June 4, 1989. The blog was published on June 2.
In Nine eleven, Chile... ajatuksia (Nine eleven, Chile... some thoughts, Finnish, Sept. 11) I talk over the evil that violence, wars, terrorism... bring with them. I insist that we have to learn to solve our political, national and other such problems peacefully. Civil resistance has shown its usefulness many times and in many places such as in the Baltic countries when they got liberated from the Soviet occupation in the early 90's.
4. Linguistic issues
I am a linguist, and interested in linguistic phenomena. In Hur använder man kropp på finska (How do we use the body in Finnish, Swedish, March 9), I discuss words and phrases that we use in Finnish to talk about body in physical and metaphorical sense.
In Onko tietoa eli miten ymmärtäminen tapahtuu (appr. To understand, how does it go? Finnish, March 21), I deal with the process of mutual understanding in spoken interactions. Among many other factors, interlocutors' shared world knowledge, and their Vorverstehen (German, pre-understanding or unarticulated premises) seem to play a central role in these interactions.
In Kielet ja bonuskielet (Languages and bonus languages, Finnish, May 21), I put forth the idea that learning one language helps to learn other languages. So, for instance, I am able to read German fairly fluently, even though I have never studied the language. This is possible because I know Swedish and English. I think that in language teaching the linguistic bonus that we acquire when learning a given language should be acknowledged and taken into consideration when developing the language teaching methods. For example, if taught properly reading proficiency in a "bonus language" could be attained fairly easily. An instance is the Dutch language that is lexically close to English, German, and the central Scandinavian languages.
Katsomisen tarkastelua (Thinking of watching, Finnish, July 21) is a treatment of the role gaze plays in spoken interaction. I briefly deal with the concept of 'watching', and note that 'gaze' is related both to the watcher and to the one the gaze is directed at. In English, we "take a look" which describes watching as a vigorous action. In Finnish, the watcher "creates a gaze" ("luoda katse") at someone, which is also an action but less vigorous. This topic is both semantically and from the point of view of social interaction extremely interesting.
In Suomen kielen vaikeudesta (On the difficulty of the Finnish language, Finnish, Oct. 12), I deal with the question whether Finnish is a difficult language to learn for an adult person. I point out that the language may be difficult to learn for those whose first language does not have as many grammatical endings as Finnish does. The core vocabulary of the language also differs quite a lot from the vocabulary of major languages of Europe such as English, German and French.
Since there are tens of thousands of immigrants in Finland whose first language is not Finnish, teachers and authorities do what they can to make the teaching of Finnish as effective and efficient as possible. Finnish as a second and foreign language is an established subject at the Finnish universities and at many adult educational centres. A variety of Finnish called "selkosuomi" (plain Finnish) has been developed. It is lexically and grammatically simpler (in some sense of the word) than the standard written Finnish. It is being used on radio news and in some newspapers. Even some literature has been published in this variety of Finnish.
In the blog Languages in the melting pot (English, Dec. 27), I first deal with the methods that we use when we need to have a name for a new thing or phenomenon. Among other things, these include methods such as borrowing the word or translating it directly. I point out that the question of naming new things and phenomena has always been of practical interest and even of importance for relations between speakers of different languages.
We now live in a world where there is an imbalance between languages because English has become the dominant language of the wider communication. English is the main provider of the words we need to have to name new things and phenomena. Languages that cannot keep up with the development will gradually lose ever more ranges of use, and finally be without much practical use at all. However, in spite of this dark perspective, I maintain that the dream of having one world language will never materialize. The majority of the world's population will never become second language speakers let alone native speakers of the English language or any other of the so-called big languages. Instead better translation appliances will be developed and general multilingualism will be preserved for the languages that are vigorous enough to survive. Cultural and linguistic multitude should be cherished. In the last analysis, vive la différence!
5. Personal issues
In the blog Tie jatkuu! Dallataan! (Finnish Dec. 3), I tell about the times long gone when I was a scout and used to hike with my friends in forests of the South Finland and in Lapland or "Sápmi" as it is called in the Northern Sámi language. I have included one of my poems in the blog that deals with these memories. I wrote the poem in the Helsinki Finnish slang, which was the language variety we used in our youth.
Elää - se on nyt (Finnish, Sept. 6) is a vignette from my holiday in the countryside. I enjoyed living together with my family and doing manual work in our summer place.Vive la vie! or as my sister who's living in Chile wrote in her mail: Tenemos que vivir AHORA .
6. A few words of the readership of these blogs
From the beginning in 2007 until now, there have been 14 926 visits to this blog site, out of which 3 696 took place during the year 2014. The number of blogs is 188 at the moment; 21 of them were published in 2014.
In regard to the visitors' nationality, the main groups have been the following (the number after the country name indicates the total of visits in 2014): Sweden 949, Finland 681, USA 512, France 325, Ukraine 236, Germany 215, Poland 163, Russia 110, Malaysia 7, The Netherlands 1.
Regrettably, I have had no visitors from African or Latin American countries, and in Asia these blogs have been viewed only 7 times in Malaysia. Thus, my blogs seem to be popular in the U.S. and in the European countries, Russia included.
In the table below, the blogs are presented in the temporal order beginning from Dec, 27 (= 12-27). The number before the date tells how many times the blog has been viewed during the year.


Vad har Finland att tacka Sverige för? What has Finland to thank Sweden for?


Tie jatkuu! Dallataan! The road goes on! Let's wander ahead!




Si vis pacem para mentes If you want peace, prepare the human minds


Suomen kielen vaikeudesta On the difficulty of the Finnish language


Nine eleven, Chile... ajatuksia Nine eleven, Chile... some thoughts


Finskhetens kärna The gist of Finnishness


Elää - se on nyt To live - it is now


Katsomisen tarkastelua Thinking of watching


Fred så in i Norden Peace in the Nordic countries, that's for sure


1989-06-04 Tiān'ānmén Guǎngchǎng


Kielet ja bonuskielet Languages and bonus languages


Laddade repliker kring Ostpolitik Charged rejoinders on Ostpolitik


Orosmoln i ster Clouds of worry in East


Onko tietoa eli miten ymmärtäminen tapahtuu? Appr. transl. To understand, how does it go?


Hur använder man kropp på finska? How do we use the body in Finnish


Näkymätön matkalaukku Invisible suitcase




7. Forward!
I will continue blogging, because it is great fun. I wish all the best to all of my readers during the year 2015. Oikein hyvää alkanutta vuotta teille kaikille! Ha ett riktigt bra år 2015! Mi esperas bonan jaron al ĉiuj vi, kiuj ŝatas legi miajn blogojn!

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