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KF Karjalainen (1871−1919)

Adjunct Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages

Atelier Apollo. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland. H Renfors 1902. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.
H Renfors 1902. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.
H Renfors 1902. © National Board of Antiquities, Finland.

When you look at the map of Finland you'll find the town of Kajaani in the centre. Kajaani was founded in 1651. As well as being a hunting and fishing area the town became a tar producer in the 18th century and a centre for wood industry in the early years of the 20th century. Kustaa Karjalainen was born in a Kajaani worker's family on 21 August 1871. He also studied at the University of Helsinki. Karjalainen's trip to the Khanty area between 1898 and 1902 is regarded as the highest point in his career as a researcher. His travels covered an extensive area from the mouth of the Ob River all the way to the Vakh River. He studied the main Khanty dialects and collected a lot of texts and vocabulary. This material was later used for publications including a Khanty dialect dictionary. In addition to language he was also interested in spiritual traditions. Because he spoke Khanty he was able to gather lots of information about the Khanty world view and their reverence for spirits and ancestors. Karjalainen's language masters also enabled him to familiarise himself with the everyday lives of the Khanty.

Research Institute for the Languages of Finland
Kajaani

M Ussakovskaja 1898. © Finnish Literature Society.There were also other scholars working in Siberia around the same time as UT Sirelius.
In this picture there's Matiyasevich from Russia, József Pápay from Hungary and KF Karjalainen from Finland at Tobolsk in the summer of 1898.


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© Anna Seppo 2010.
© Anna Seppo 2010.