Kaj Syrjänen

I first graduated back in 2008 with a Master’s degree in English philology from the University of Tampere, with a corpus-based thesis exploring diachronic change in verbal complementation. My PhD thesis from Tampere University, produced as part of the BEDLAN group’s research work, was finished in 2021. It focused on the application of computational phylogenetic and population genetic methodology for linguistic research, with material from Uralic languages and Finnish dialects.

Major interests

  • Language change
  • Linguistic methodology
  • Computational linguistics
  • Dialectology
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Linguistic datasets


  • Syrjänen, K., Maurits, L., Leino, U., Honkola, T., Rota, J. & Vesakoski, O. (2021) “Crouching TIGER, Hidden Structure: Exploring the nature of linguistic data using TIGER values,” Journal of Language Evolution.
  • Syrjänen, K. (2021) Quantitative Language Evolution: Case Studies in Finnish Dialects and Uralic Languages. Doctoral dissertation. Tampere University, Tampere.
  • Leino, U., Syrjänen, K. & Vesakoski, O. (2020): “Linguistic change and biological evolution,” Ryan Nefdt, Carita Klippi & Bart Karstens (eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Philosophy and Science of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Honkola, T., Santaharju, J., Syrjänen, K. & Pajusalu, K. (2019) “Clustering Lexical Variation of Finnic Languages Based on Atlas Linguarum Fenni­carum,” Linguistica Uralica 55:3, 161–84. DOI: 10.3176/lu.2019.3.01.
  • Honkola, T., Ruokolainen, K., Syrjänen, K., Leino U, Tammi, I, Wahlberg, N. & Vesakoski, O. (2018) “Evolution within a language: Environmental differences contribute to divergence of dialect groups,” BMC Evolutionary Biology 18:132. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-018-1238-6.
  • Syrjänen, K., Honkola, T., Lehtinen, J., Leino, A. & Vesakoski, O. (2016) “Applying Population Genetic Approaches within Languages: Finnish Dialects as Linguistic Populations. Language Dynamics and Change 6, 235-283. DOI: 10.1163/22105832-00602002.
  • Höglund, M. & Syrjänen, K. (2016) “Corpus of Early American Literature.” ICAME Journal 40, pp. 123-144. DOI: 10.1515/icame-2016-0003.
  • Lehtinen, J., Honkola, T., Korhonen, K., Syrjänen, K., Wahlberg, N. & Vesakoski, O. (2014) “Behind family trees: Secondary connections in Uralic language networks”, Language Dynamics and Change 4: 189-221. DOI: 10.1163/22105832-00402007.
  • Honkola, T., Vesakoski, O., Korhonen, K., Lehtinen, J., Syrjänen, K., Wahlberg, N. (2013) “Cultural and climatic changes shape the evolutionary history of the Uralic languages”, Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12107.
  • Syrjänen, K., Honkola, T., Korhonen, K., Lehtinen, J., Vesakoski, O., & Wahlberg, N. (2013) “Shedding more light on language classification using basic vocabularies and phylogenetic methods: a case study of Uralic”, Diachronica 30:3, 323-352. DOI: 10.1075/dia.30.3.02syr.
  • Syrjänen, K. (2012) “Tracing the history of dialectological research in Finland.” Les dossiers de HEL, SHESL, Paris, n°5. Paris, SHESL.
  • Syrjänen, K. (2011) “Review of Why Do Languages Change? by Robert Lawrence Trask.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 2, CXII 2011, pp. 252-254.
  • Höglund, M. & Syrjänen, K. (2010) “Towards a corpus of early American literature: on the challenges of compiling a comparable diachronic corpus.” In: I. Moskowich-Spiegel Fandiño, B. Crespo García, I. Lareo Martín, P. Lojo Sandino (eds), Language Windowing Through Corpora. A Coruña: Universidade da Coruña, pp. 429–442.
  • Syrjänen, K. (2009) “Review of Non-finite Complementation: A usage-based study of infinitive and –ing clauses in English by Thomas Egan.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 2, CX 2009, pp. 249–250.

Contact information

Email: kaj.syrjanen(at)tuni.fi