The main objective of the Kone Foundation Language Programme (2012–2015) is to advance the documentation of small Finno-Ugric languages, the Finnish language, and minority languages in Finland, and to strengthen their status. With the minority languages in Finland, we refer to all languages used in Finland. The Language Programme is taken into account on a broad scale in the activities of Kone Foundation. We fund and initiate projects, organise events, co-operate and advance networking in various ways.
The protection of linguistic diversity is the least ambiguous way to try to sustain the plurality of values and different world views on earth.
– Ilona Herlin, Vice Chair of the foundation, at the Language programme launch, 02/02/2012
We organise annually thematic grant calls related to the Language Programme:
Description of languages (application round in September, 2015)
Language revitalisation and its research (Autumn, 2014)
Digital language resources and data mining (Spring 2013)
Multilingualism and art (Spring, 2013)
In addition, the themes and objectives of the Language Programme are taken into account in the regular grant calls of the foundation, each year in September, and of the Saari Residence, each year in August.
Explore the events, news and projects related to the Language Programme.
News also at the foundation’s Facebook site.
The purpose of the Language Programme is to foster the documentation, analysis and support of small Finno-Ugric languages, the Finnish language, and minority languages in Finland. The objectives are:
In essence, the documentation of a language includes observing, recording and scientifically analysing spoken, signed or written phenomena of the language. In the documentation process the recorded material is used and observations regarding it are made. Documentation has also been evolving during the past decades with electronic corpora and language technology applications becoming increasingly popular.
The language programme pays particular attention to charting, collecting and maintaining linguistic corpora. Moreover, the material must be refined and its availability and usability must be at the highest level. The Language Programme encourages open interaction between language users and researchers during the various stages of the documentation process, for instance with the methods of citizen science, for example. The information gained during research should be returned to the language community.
For some time now, Kone Foundation has been dedicated to advancing interdisciplinarity; in previous years, the combination of the perspectives of research and art has also come to the fore. Projects supported by the Language Programme are also encouraged towards multidisciplinarity, and interaction between art and science is also promoted.
The Language Programme also promotes multilingualism. Most Swedish-speaking Finns also speak Finnish at a native level, and immigrants are another large multilingual group in modern Finland. Even today it is common for people to have misconceptions regarding multilingualism. Parents may, for example, stop speaking their mother tongue to their children for fear of bilingualism impeding their language development.
Minority languages are a vital resource and represent the world view of the communities that speak them. Furthermore, the unique culture, traditions and world view of a minority are best communicated in the free expression of its native language. The aim of the Language Programme is, therefore, to promote the understanding that the use of several languages in life is not any kind of impediment to an individual. On the contrary, multilingualism is an asset.
Language is not only an important tool for conceptualising the world around us but it is also an essential part, and reinforcer, of one’s identity. Linguistic research, documentation and support are essential in understanding society, culture and the world, and such information can be profited from in many different ways. From the point-of-view of the Kone Foundation, languages and the linguistic diversity of the world hold intrinsic value that should be protected and supported.