Summing up 2015

I wrote 21 blogs in 2015; I was most diligent in January, as then I put four blogs on my blog site. March, September and October saw 3 blogs each.
I had 592 page views to the blogs of the year 2015 (*). In the list below, you can see how many views there were per each blog. There, I also comment on the blogs. 
          I used Finnish in 13 blogs, Swedish in five blogs, and English and Spanish in one blog respectively. On the blog on Auschwitz, I resorted to Esperanto, because I think that it comes closest to the language of humanity that does not forget its past, but will create a future that is peaceful, and economically, socially, politically, linguistically and culturally fair. 
          If we count the page views or visits to my blog site from May 2010 until December 31, 2015, there were 17 374 of them. The major groups that visited the blog site were Swedes (5591 page views or 32,2%), Finns (4090 views, 23,5%), U.S.-people (2370, 13,6%), Russians (1816, 10,5%), Ukrainians (1258, 7,2%), Frenchmen (619, 3,6%), Germans (607, 3,5%), Malaysians (576, 3,3%), Dutchmen (275, 1,6%) and Poles (172, 1,0%).
          So, approximately one third of the page views are Swedish and one fourth are Finnish. This reflects the fact that there are fairly few blogs in other languages than Swedish and Finnish. However, since there are texts in the previous year blogs that I wrote in English and Russian, we have also page views that come from countries outside Sweden and Finland, mostly from the U.S.A., Russia, and Ukraine. With the exception of Malaysia, there are no page views coming from Asia. Nor are there any page views by persons from Africa or South America. I may conclude that the blogs have been visited mainly by Europeans (Ukrainians and Russians included) and U.S. people.
List of the blogs I wrote in 2015
The digit in the middle column tells the number of page views/visits to the respective blog. The date of the blog is given in the right column in the order of day.month.year. The blogs start from the latest one on Dec. 27, 2015, and go backwards to the first blog of the year 2015 on Jan. 4. The titles in Finnish and Swedish have been translated into English. 
Kielen ja ihmissuvun suhteista: kaukaa haettuja rinnastuksia
(On relations between language and the human race: far-fetched comparisons)
The blog treats Finnish word stems, some of which are fairly intricate in use and some quite simple. I connect their use with the evolutionary relations between our species and Neanderthals. I find this kind of speculations an enjoyable linguistic pastime. Occasionally, they open up new perspectives to old problems.

Kysely ruosuasioista - Frågor kring sverigefinska ärenden
(A questionnaire on Sweden-Finnish errands)

In this blog, I give an account of the questionnaire that I sent to the political parties of Sweden to inquire, what their stand was in regard to the Finnish speaking minority. Representatives of four right-wing parties and the Social Democratic party answered to the questionnaire. One question concerned the registration of people's mother tongue/first language. The registration should only take place on condition that the persons themselves determine what their first language is. Collecting this kind information would help the state to pursue a better informed policy with respect to the many language groups that we have in the country. In Finland, such a registration has been in place for decades. Only the liberal Folkpartiet was pro the idea. The other four parties had no clear stand on this issue.

Miten ruotsinsuomalaiset järjestäytyisivät?
(How should Sweden-Finns organize themselves?)

The Swedish right-wing government made it clear in its proposal to the law of the national minorities and minority languages that the time has come to move from acknowledgment of the minorities to their autonomy ("egenmakt"). (See Regeringens proposition (Proposal of the Swedish government) 2008/ 09:158.) The term "egenmakt" was not defined in the proposal, let alone in the law text. In this blog, I argue that a democratically elected political organization should be founded for the Sweden Finnish minority.

Tukiverbirakenteista (Support verb constructions)

The blog discusses ordinary Finnish verbs that are also used as the so-called support verbs. For example, the ordinary verb pitää 'hold' occurs as a support verb in constructions like pitää luento 'hold a lecture'. This construction is more or less equivalent to a simple verb luennoida '(to) lecture'. Support verb constructions are frequent in many languages, that is, they are not particularly Finnish or Swedish syntactic constructions. See my study on the Swedish support verbs published in the conference volume "Svenskans beskrivning 33". Helsingfors. 2013, p. 521 - 531. https://helda.helsinki.fi/ 

Ajatuksia ihmiskielen evoluutiosta (Thoughts on the human language evolution)

This blog treats the question of proto language, a hypothetical form of language that preceded the full-blown human languages. Provided that there once was such a proto language, one may wonder, how it became a modern language. Did the transition take place during a short period of time or was it more gradual? Was there only one proto language or more? Questions like these make a linguist's mouth water. For a relevant and interesting study, see William H. Calvin and Derek Bickerton. 2000. Lingua ex machina: reconcil-ing Darwin and Chomsky with the human brain. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press.

Hjärtat slår, härligt! (How wonderful, the heart is pumping!)

This is a story of the medical treatment on my heart that I went through at the Sahlgrenska hospital in Göteborg. The treatment gave comforting and soothing results. My heart functions well. I am very grateful to the personnel at the hospital ward of Hjärtmottagning / Heart surgery in Sahlgrenska for a very good care. Kiitos! Tack! Thanks!

Vad har Finland att tacka Sverige för?
(What has Finland to thank Sweden for?)
Finland and Sweden are countries where civilized way of life and general social and economic welfare prevail. Historically speaking, these societies lie on the foundation that Finns and Swedes built together in the course of the over 600 years when what we now call Finland was the Eastern part of the Swedish kingdom. I conclude that Finland has not anything to thank Sweden for, but as Finns we must not forget the historical and cultural foundation we share with the Swedes.

Valtio, kansa, raittius (State, people, sobriety)
This blog deals with a booklet written by my grandfather Väinö Voionmaa (1869 – 1947). He was a professor, and as a member of the Social Democratic party one of the most influential politicians during the early times of independent Republic of Finland. 
    In the booklet, he discusses one of his most cherished ideas, namely, to get the Finnish people accept the policy of general sobriety. To achieve this goal he advocated the prohibition law, and together with other members of the Finnish sobriety movement he was very pleased when the law came into force in 1919. He writes in the booklet that the state had now taken "the moral responsibility for the people's sobriety". 
          Of course, he was utterly disappointed when the law was abrogated in 1932. But he contended that irrespective of the defeat, the state nevertheless acknowledged its responsibility to hold down the alcohol consumption of the population. We must also keep in mind that in Finland, Norway and Sweden, there is state monopoly that directs people's purchase of alcohol. Thus, the sobriety policy my grandfather advocated is still in place to a certain degree. Naturally, this means a sort of control of people, and it irritate quite a few. 
        The gist of the matter is, insofar as I understand it, whether the state monopoly really serves its purpose as a way of promoting good physical and mental health among the population. Of course the state monopoly is economically a good affair for the state provided that the folks do not purchase their alcohol cheaper elsewhere such as in Estonia, for example. 

Sticka huvudet i busken (To stick the head into the bush)
This is an article I wrote together with four of my colleagues at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Gothenburg. The article deals with metaphors where names of plants and their parts are used. The languages whose metaphors are compared in the study, include Chinese, Mbo (the variety spoken in Cameroon), Russian, Swedish and Finnish. The original article was published in Vetenskapsrådets temabok Ett växande vetande (The Swedish Research Council's book on the theme A growing knowledge). 2002.

Eesti mälestusi... Viron muisteloita (Memories from Estonia)
I visited Estonia in 1969 for the first time, and ever since have I been a warm friend of the small nation. The blog reflects these feelings telling among other about my over 40 year long correspondence with an Estonian pen friend and my favourite Estonian writers such as Friedebert Tuglas and Maria Under. As a pacifist I do cherish the "Laulev revolutsioon" (Singing revolution) that made the Estonia a free country again. As a non-violent campaign, it witnessed Estonians' effective skills of organization and it also showed their great civic and civilized bravery. 

Shell ja USA uhkaavat Arktista - kääntyykö se koneen avulla?
(Shell and the U.S. threaten the Arctic – how well does a translating program translate it?)
The organization Avaaz (avaaz@avaaz.org) sent me an email, where I was requested to sign the petition against the ecological damage Shell, the oil company, and the U.S.A. were about to cause on the Arctic. Avaaz had attached the Finnish translation of the petition to the mail.  
         In the blog, I analyze grammatical errors of the text, which obviously was done with the help of a translating machine. This makes a refreshing hobby for a linguist. Apart from the proof reading exercise, it stood to reason that I signed the petition, https:// secure.avaaz.org/en/shell_drilling_ global_a/ 

Retki hunzien maahan (An expedition to the Hunza country)
This is a short story about my trip to the south of the Soviet Union and further on to the land of the Hunzas. There I met with the Hunza people living in their huts high up on the poles. In the Hunza village, I also got acquainted with several British gentlemen who had tried to cross the Himalayas in a balloon. They had miserably failed being forced to make an emergency landing in the Hunza country. The Hunzas had welcome them with open arms, and the Britons had decided to stay with this amiable people. As a matter of fact, they had took to the Hunzas so much that any entreaties to come back to the misty England would be in vain. I, on the other hand, had to go back to Finland, because my senior high school was about to start in two weeks' time.
         I enjoyed writing the story. While writing it, I came to think of the stories my comrades and I had been telling when we as young scouts were spending nights by the fire. The memories made me feel warm, even though it quite often was quite cold in the forest.



Mikael Agricolan ja suomen kielen päivä (Mikael Agricola and the Finnish language day)
The Finnish language is one of the two official languages of Finland, the other one being Swedish. Compared with the major languages of Europe, literary Finnish is not a very old language. It was founded by Mikael Agricola (c. 1510 – Apr. 9, 1557) in the 1540' and 1550's. He was a clergyman and a prominent proponent of the Protestantism in the Eastern part of the Swedish kingdom, that is, what we now call Finland. The date of the Finnish Language Day is Agricola's day of death, the 9th of April; this is because we do not know the date of his birthday.

Kaikki virtaa, ilokin (Everything flows, even joy)
Πάντα ʽρει - Panta hrei! / Everything flows / Kaikki virtaa / Allting flyter / Ĉio fluas 

Carl Haglundin kielipolitiikkaa (Language policies of C.H.)
The blog deals with the negative stand of Mr. Carl Haglund, the former minister of defence of Finland, on the Russian language, and especially, on the instruction of Russian at Finnish schools. He is critical of its teaching as an alternative to the Swedish language. For my part, I am pro the idea of having Russian as one of the main languages included in the Finnish schools' curricula.
           Mr. Haglund's contention seems to be that raising the status of the Russian language the way I and some other persons suggest, would send a signal of appeasement to Moscow. I feel uneasy when politics and languages are being muddled up in this way. The Russian language is not Putin and his henchmen. Knowledge of Russia, of the roughly 111 million Russians that now live in the "rodina", of the Russian culture and the Russian language is vital to us for the simple reason that Russia will be our neighbour for the decades if not the centuries to come. 

Delar av CV och publikationer (Parts of my CV and publications)
The list of my merits and publications are included in these blogs because I find it relevant to tell to my readers what I have done over the years.

Näin olen ja ajattelen (This is the way I am and think)
This is a lengthy presentation of who I am and what I think and stand for. Originally, this was a summer talk program on the Finnish "Sisuradio" of the Swedish Radio.

Preámbulo: Me acuerdo de Juho Pöyhönen y su familia que fueron evacuados de Karelia al pueblo Ollila en el sur de Finlandia durante la guerra entre la Unión Soviética y Finlandia (1941-1944). Se dice que más tarde compró otra granja. Pero yo sólo recuerdo la granja donde llegaron por primera vez y donde pasaron 30 años. Escribí este texto inicialmente en finlandés y una amiga lo tradujo al español.

La tierra nos recuerda
El pasto a la altura de un hombre, el boscecillo de alisos, el junco –
en el campo sembrado de mis memorias crecen bosques de abetos susurrando.
La gente desapareció, la casa, el establo, el galpón, la sauna junto al arroyo desaparecieron
Desaparecieron los puños aferrados al mango del arado, las manos diligentes en las ubres de las vacas y este antiguo movimiento balanceado al segar la paja desaparecieron.
Yo miro y vos veo.
Y aunque el viento nos golpee duro, no desapareceremos,
porque la tierra se acuerda de nosotros.
La tierra nos recuerda.

La tierra nos recuerda. 


Ote Viron vaikeasta historiasta (An excerpt of the difficult history of Estonia)
This is my translation into Finnish of the interview I found in the Russian newspaper Argumenty i fakty (edition March 12, 2005). The journalist interviews Arnold Rüütel, president of Estonia in 2001–2006, on account of the Estonian government's announcement that no Estonian political dignitaries will take part in the festivities of Victory in Europe Day / Jour V / День Победы (Den' Pobedy) to be held in Moscow on the May 9, 2005. The journalist maintains that Estonia in this manner shows that it still stands on the fascists' side. Rüütel uncompromisingly disputes this by making it clear that Estonians' only concern was to restore the independence of Estonia after the German and Soviet occupation of the country during the war. Instead the Soviet occupation of Estonia continued after the war.
         The journalist comments on Rüütel's statement by asking, whether Estonia's participation in the war on the side of Hitler's cannibalistic government can be justified by Estonians' yearning for independence. Rüütel says pithily that Estonians have never been and will never be on the side of fascism. They understood that Hitler's Germany would not return independence to Estonia, which is why Estonians did not trust the Nazis. 
         Rüütel concludes the interview by stating that Russians and Estonians should search for things that unite them instead of things that set them apart. Estonians will venerate the victims of the war, but they will also remember that they were deprived of the chance to have a government of their own. This is an allusion to the Soviet occupation of Estonia. 

Auschwitz in memoriam 
La ekstermejo Auschwitz liberiĝis la 27-an de januaro 1945. 

Berättelse om en kiosk (A story of a kiosk)This is a sociolinguistic study that I carried out when I was engaged in the European Intercultural Workplace (EIW) project. The report can be found on the Internet address immi.se/eiw/reports_se.html. There you will also find other reports done in the project. They are in the following languages: Bulgarian, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish and English. 

Summing up 2014 I hope the summaries such as these make you feel well informed. I wish you all a very good year 2016.