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5th Saami Linguistics Symposium is held in Tartu

On 22-23 September 2022, the 5th Saami Linguistics Symposium (SAALS-5) will take place at the University of Tartu. The Symposium is the continuation of a series of international symposia previously held in Tromsø in 2006 and 2009, Freiburg in 2017 and Uppsala in 2019. The purpose of the symposium is to give researchers the opportunity to present current research to their peers, participate in formal and informal discussions on relevant topics, and explore potential opportunities for future collaborative work. We especially encourage younger researchers at the Master's and Ph.D. levels to present their work. 

Papers related to any aspects of Saami languages and linguistics, including the sociology of language, language teaching, and language revitalization, are welcome. The keynote address will be given by Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland, College Park) and is entitled "Structural parallels between endangered and heritage languages." With this in mind, we are particularly looking forward to papers about heritage and/or endangered language research concerning Saami languages.

We are also pleased to host a workshop on using KORP for Saami linguistics research led by Trond Trosterud from Giellatekno at the University of Tromsø on Friday afternoon (make sure to bring your own laptop).

The registration desk opens at 8:30, and the conference itself commences at 9:00 on Thursday morning. For more details about the times and locations of events, see the program and also check out the boxes below for more information.

The call for papers is now closed, but can be found here:

Participation and registration

There is no registration or participation fee, but we ask you to register your participation by 31 August at the latest so we know how many people to expect and can prepare name tags, etc. Registration is now closed, but feel free to join us for any events anyway. Online participation will also be possible (see below for details).

Symposium venue

The symposium will take place in the main building of the university located at Ülikooli 18. Most talks will be in Veski auditorium (room 139) and coffee breaks next door in room 140. On Friday, the parallel sessions and the KORP workshop will take place in Vilipi auditorium (room 232). Unfortunately, there is some renovation work going on in the building, but we are optimistic that it will not negatively affect the conference.

Events, meals, breaks

Coffee and snacks during breaks will be provided for participants free of charge, but participants are responsible themselves for all other costs (such as travel, accommodations and meals – see below for practical information). The conference dinner will take place at Vilde ja Vine on Thursday evening at 18:30 (participants will have to pay for their own meals and drinks at the restaurant); please register your meal choice before 10:30 on Thursday via this link (NB: you have to first enter your email, then you will receive a link to open the menu to choose from). On Wednesday evening, we will have an informal gathering starting at 20:00 at Pühaste kelder, located at Rüütli 11.

Due to the current geo-political and public health situations, SAALS-5 will also be accessible online using Zoom, which is available both as an app or via a browser window.

For those presenting online, please join the respective session at least 5 minutes before the beginning of your session, even if your talk isn't the first talk. Please make sure you have a good, stable internet connection, and that you are in a quiet place so that your voice can be heard clearly through your microphone. When it is your turn, you will need to share your screen if you have slides to show. Ideally, you should also turn on your video camera so the audience both in Tartu and online can see you.

For others participating in SAALS online but not presenting, simply join the session meeting via the zoom links below (or indicated for each session on the program), and keep your microphone muted. If you have comments or questions, you can write them directly in the chat or indicate there that you would like to say something during discussion. We prefer to see the faces of online participants, so it would be nice if you turn your cameras on.

Sessions that take place in room 139 can be accessed via this link.
Sessions that take place in room 232 can be accessed via this link.

Travelling to Tartu

By air: the Tallinn airport is the best choice, and has regular connections to Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo and other large European cities. To reach Tartu from the Tallinn airport, it is easiest to take one of the regular bus connections to the Tartu bus station with Lux Express. You can also ride the train with Elron from Ülemiste station (about a 10 minute walk from the airport) to Tartu station (about a 20 minute walk from downtown).
Tartu does have an airport, but it is served by a single Finnair flight to/from Helsinki on weekdays (that's the only option); currently, there is no airport bus service, so a taxi (about 10€) is the only option from the airport to town and back.

By sea: there are multiple ferry connections from Helsinki each day with Tallink, Viking Line or Eckerö, and occasional connections from Stockholm with Tallink. From the Tallinn harbor, you can take public transportation to the Tallinn bus station and then a bus from there with Lux Express, or to the Tallinn train station, then a train from there with Elron.

Transportation in Tartu

Tartu is not a very big city, and most destinations are downtown anyway, or accessible from downtown on foot within 30 minutes. For other options, see:


Many hotels and hostels with various price ranges are available in Tartu. You can check out the city tourism website for ideas.

Food and drink

Tartu has a lot of good quality, relatively affordable restaurants and bars. To get an impression, check out the city tourism website. Weekday lunch specials ("päevapraad") are listed here and here.

The symposium is being organized by Joshua Wilbur, Helen Türk and Merit Niinemägi from the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics at the University of Tartu. Financial and organizational support come from the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics and the University of Tartu's structural support fund.

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