Research & publications

Johanna Isosävi portrait_small-muokattu

I am currently working as a University Lecturer of French at the University of Helsinki yliopistossa (2020–23). My qualifications include the Title of Docent of French language (2020, University of Helsinki) and the PhD of French philology (2010, University of Helsinki).

My main research areas are politeness, address forms and inclusive language use (new project under construction). My studies are often contrastive (French/Finnish). In my research project funded by Kone Foundation, I examined Finnish and French politeness (2017–19). In my doctoral thesis, I studied address forms in French films and their translations in Finnish subtitles (2010). My research articles have been published in respected international journals (e.g. Journal of PragmaticsJournal of Politeness Research and Contrastive Pragmatics). I publish my research in at least three languages: English, French and Finnish.

For a full list of publications, please visit my page on the Research Portal of the University of Helsinki.

Latest and ongoing research

I have co-authored an article on addressing, greeting and related gestures in opening sequences of Finnish, French and Hungarian YouTube videos, and I have studied Finnish and French Covid-19 signs from commercial premises (accepted for publication).

In my ongoing international project, we examine interruptions in parliamentary debates in Finnish, French and German.

A Guide to Social Writing (forthcoming, February 2023) (in Finnish)

The second co-authored book with Camilla Lindholm, Yhteisöllisen kirjoittamisen opas (‘Guide to Social Writing) busts the myth according to which academic writing is only a lonely task. We emphasise planning of writing, setting goals, incremental working and discussions related to writing.

Social writing can be accomplished via writing groups and retreats. In our book, we give a voice also to participants and facilitators. According to studies, social writing enhances both productivity and well-being. The book is destined to all the academic writers in different phases of their career.

After the PhD: a Guide to Academic Career (2021) (in Finnish)

The book Väitöksen jälkeen: opas akateemiselle uralle (‘After the PhD: a guide to academic career) co-authored with Camilla Lindholm, is written for people who newly got their PhDs (or will soon get it), who want to have a need direction to their academic career or who supervise PhD students or post docs and wish to help them in their career.

We have given with Lindholm keynotes and workshops for doctoral students on academic career and writing in different universities.

Postdoctoral project: Finnish and French politeness (2017–19) & research visits to ICAR (ENS Lyon)

My postdoctoral project Finnish and French politeness (2017–19) was funded by the Kone foundation. In my postdoctoral project, I examined cultural outsiders’ – that is, French people living in Finland and Finns living or having lived in France – perceptions of (im)politeness. The project resulted in four international articles on focus group data and a book manuscript in Finnish (submitted April 2022).

In 2017, as part of my funding from Kone, I did my first research visit to ICAR, École normale supérieure in Lyon, (September–December), and gathered new data on interactions between Finnish- and French-speaking interactants. In 2020, I did another visit there (January–March), funded with a grant from the Maija Lehtonen fund (The Fund for Arts, University of Helsinki).

École normale supérieure, Lyon

Experience as an editor for academic journals

From 2016 to 2019, I worked as an editor for SKY Journal of Linguistics, a refereed general linguistic journal published on an annual basis. It contains previously unpublished, original articles, short essays or so-called “squibs”, and book reviews. During my time as a co-editor, I participated in publication of four journals. In addition to working with articles and squibs, I was responsible for book reviews.

Since November 2019, I have served as a Member of Editorial Board for Ampersand. The journal is international, peer-reviewed and open-access. The focus of Ampersand is on language use and communication among bi/multilingual individuals and groups. 

New corpora and topics after the doctoral thesis (2010–15)

After my doctoral dissertation, I expanded my study on address forms to new topics and corpora. First, together with Dr. Eva Havu and Dr. Hanna Lappalainen, I co-authored a chapter (2014), in French, of Finnish address forms in institutional contexts, which was published in a book edited by Prof. Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni. Second, together with Hanna Lappalainen, we connected the study of address forms to globalization. In our English-language article (2015), we compared attitudes to the usage of first names at Starbucks cafés in Finland and in France.

Furthermore, I took part in a multilingual book project on miscommunication and verbal violence, which was published by Modern Language Society of Helsinki in 2015. In addition to serving as a co-editor, I authored a French-language chapter on verbal violence on a Facebook profil against the former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

A co-edited book on address practices in 13 European languages (2015)

I co-edited a book with Dr. Hanna Lappalainen on address practices in 13 European languages. This book was part of the project How to address? Variation and Change in Address Practices (2014–17) directed by Lappalainen at the University of Helsinki.

The book, written in Finnish, was published in 2015 by the Finnish Literature Society. In addition to the table of contents in Finnish, an abstract of the book is available in English. In the book, I co-authored an Introduction with Lappalainen providing a overview of the methods and data used in address studies, and authored on article on address practices in French, based on my doctoral thesis (2010).

Doctoral dissertation (2010)

In my doctoral dissertation (2010, University of Helsinki), a monograph written in French, I studied forms of address in French film dialogues and their translations into Finnish. The opponent of my doctoral dissertation was Professor Emerita Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni from Université de Lyon 2. My thesis was part of the project of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Helsinki: Social Deixis: Address Terms as a Mirror of Societal Transformations (2005–2007). As a product of the project, a book was published in 2013, gathering results of several Romance languages, and including my article summarizing the main results of my thesis.

During my time as a PhD student (2005–2009), I also wrote articles. For example, I co-authored articles with one of my supervisors, Dr. Eva Havu. In our joint publications, we compared different corpora, and examined, for instance, the use of French address forms in films and their reported use in questionnaires, or translation of address forms in films and in literature.