Regional cultures of Finnic oral poetry: comparative perspective

Projekti: Tutkimusprojekti

Projektin yksityiskohdat

Kuvaus (abstrakti)

Finnic oral poetry—runo-songs, regilaul, or Kalevalaic poetry—makes a diverse historical corpus in multiple dialects of five related languages, sharing similar poetics and themes. Both the corpus and research into it have been divided into separate strands based on modern national and linguistic boundaries, and many themes and sources have been disregarded.

This project brings together the digitised corpora of over 240 000 texts of Finnic tetrametric oral poetry in Finnish and Estonian institutions, added with a corpus of literary poems. Combining expertise of datasets, national research histories, folkloristics and computational studies in the consortium FILTER, we develop humanistically relevant approaches to track the occurrence and interplay of contentual, linguistic and poetic features across the corpus, and analyse these in relation to local traditions and recording history. This enables me to go much further into the analysis of regional cultures of Finnic oral poetry.

Thus far, there are mostly hypothetical guesses, based on small very selected data, on how the Finnic runosong tradition actually varies and interconnects. My research questions divide into six interrelated parts on 1) thematic networks, 2) formulaic intertextuality, 3) oral-literary circuits, 4) poetic variation, 5) regional styles across the Finnic corpus, and 6) relations of these to nearby genres and traditions.

Compared to earlier works in computational analysis of texts, the complexity of Finnic corpus in terms of both linguistic, thematic, and poetic variation and historical biases is at the top of the scale. Overcoming this complexity requires combining source critical reflection with computational and interpretive manual analysis into a coherent unity, in close cooperation between humanistic and computational scholars.

The project will make Finnic data more usable, advancing relevant digital approaches in humanities and developing novel computational methods to complicated linguistic settings, also suitable for other kinds of verbal arts in small or poetic languages. Creating data-driven readings and taking into account disregarded genres and features challenges the very basic understandings of Finnic oral poetry, making it more relevant for wider comparisons and creating a base for future research of more definite phenomena.

Yleistajuinen kuvaus

Founded on various collaborations, the project creates new perspectives to the wide corpus of Estonian, Karelian, Ingrian and Finnish oral poetry called runo-song, regilaul, and kalevalaic poetry, and new analytical tools for complex linguistic materials, also suitable for other kinds of versatile verbal arts in small or poetic languages. Combining a thorough knowledge of the historical data—currently in two countries and four digital corpora—to wide-ranging theoretical discussions and innovative methodological solutions, I search for new ways to conduct computational humanistic research in tight interdisciplinary interaction. Taking into account some disregarded materials and features, I search for new perspectives to local poetic cultures, various levels of intertextuality, historical continuums and Finnic mythology.
Todellinen alku/loppupvm01/09/202131/08/2026


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