[Ura-list] Osmo Ikola in memoriam

Sirkka Saarinen sirkka.saarinen at utu.fi
Thu Apr 28 16:32:26 UTC 2016

Osmo Ikola in memoriam

The grand old man of Finnish syntax studies, professor Osmo Ikola passed away on Wednesday, April 27 at the age of 98 years.

Osmo Ikola was born on February 6, 1918. He studied at the University of Turku, and became professor of Finnish language at his home university at an early age in 1951. He held this position until 1981, but worked as the rector of the Turku university in 1975–1981.

Prof. Ikola can be called the pioneer of syntactic studies in Finland. When he started his career, syntax was hardly studied at all. In 1949 Ikola wrote his doctoral thesis on the use of tempora and modi in the first Finnish Bible. In most of his articles and monographies he studied syntax, e.g., Das Referat in der finnischen Sprache (1961) and Lauseenvastikeoppia (1974). Ikola's students and successors formed a strong school of syntax research at the University of Turku.

During Ikola's direction the small Finnish department grew into a large prosperous institute and the chair of Finno-Ugric languages was founded. Ikola was a pioneer in the use of computer technology in the creation of large corpora. In 1967 he founded  the Syntax Archives (Lauseopin arkisto) consisting of over million grammatically coded words from all the main Finnish dialects and literary language. 

Ikola founded the yearbook Sananjalka of the Suomen Kielen Seura (Finnish Language Society) in 1959 and worked as its editor-in-chief for 30 years. Ikola held several positions of trust. He was the president of the Fifth International Finno-Ugric Congress organized in Turku 1980.

With condolences to his colleagues and friends,

Sirkka Saarinen

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