Jorma Koivulehto in memoriam

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at
Fri Aug 29 10:04:02 UTC 2014

Dear URA-LIST community,

Jorma Koivulehto, retired professor of German at the University of Helsinki, Indo-Europeanist and one of Finland's most outstanding historical linguists, passed away a few days ago, on August 23rd, at the age of almost 80 years. In the last few years, his activities and social contacts had been more and more restricted by his worsening health, but his central works are so vigorously present in the scholarly community even now that it is difficult to understand that their author is no more among us.

Without exaggerating, we can say that Jorma Koivulehto’s insightful and supremely competent approach to the research of Germanic and Indo-European loanwords in Finnish (Finnic, Finno-Ugric) not only challenged but revolutionized the prevailing ideas about early language contacts and the prehistory of Finnish in the late 20th century. In our days, it is simply impossible to imagine Finno-Ugric loanword research without his massive contribution. I will not go into details: a synthesis of his most important works appeared, in honour of his 65th birthday, in 1999 ( ), and in the last decades no serious study on loanwords and Uralic-IE contacts has been able to pass by his œuvre in silence.

A great linguist has left us. We, his students, colleagues and friends will cherish the memory of his work and his friendship.

Univ.Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Campus AAKH Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7
A-1090 Wien
johanna.laakso at
Project ELDIA: 

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