Ahlqvist was also known as a poet. He used the pseudonym A Oksanen to publish poetry in Finnish on topics such as the native land, language, religion and love. I'll now read you part of his poem The Power of Finland.

Lake Äänisjärvi, the Bay of Bothnia,
the shores of Aura, the mouth of Kemi,
that's where lies the Finnish power,
that belongs to thou not them,
that's the land thou watchest over,
never have thy voice suppressed again!
Rise up high ye Finnish language,
take thyself beyond the skies!

Khanty poets also praise our native language in their poetry, although these poems are more recent. This is what a poem by Mikul Shulgin, who was born in 1940, sounds like:

My mother tongue,
you're so dear and sweet to me.
Through you I grasp
the whole wide world.
Peaceful, melodious and beautiful -
I couldn't be without you.
Sharp like a hunter's knife,
and clear like a cooking pot in the snow.

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August Ahlqvist (1826 - 1889)

Professor of Finnish Language and Literature, Rector of Helsinki University, poet

© National Board of Antiquities, Finland. IK Inha 1893. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.
1890. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.
Ina Leiljeqvist & C:o 1888. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.

The city of Kuopio is surrounded by a vast lake district and huge forests. Kuopio was founded in 1775 and it is the home town of August Ahlqvist, who was born on 7 August 1826. He studied Finnish language and literature at the University of Helsinki and followed in the footprints of his teacher MA Castrén as a linguist and explorer. He made three trips to Siberia, from 1856 to 1859 and in 1877 and 1880. Unlike Castrén, he regarded it as important for Finnish researchers to limit their focus on the relatives of the Finnish language. In the spirit of the time, this is how Ahlqvist summarised his programme in 1857: It is our (the Finnish people's) duty to do our utmost to rescue our language relatives from extinction and this cannot be achieved as successfully by any other nation than us. In Siberia he focused on the study of the Ob-Ugric languages and cultures. Like Castrén's, the research material collected by Ahlqvist is multidisciplinary. Because he studied the origin of words, he also paid attention to the Khanty and Mansi hunting and fishing cultures. He had small-scale models made of their hunting, fishing and transport equipment and bought women's embroidered outfits and beaded decorations for inclusion in the collections of the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.

August Ahlqvist
Kuopio

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