Jutta Salminen

Linguistic meanings lie in the heart of our daily communication, which makes them an important and fascinating research object. As a linguist researching linguistic meaning and grammar, I am especially interested in contextual meaning construction, perspectival evaluative meanings and ambiguous linguistic expressions – and their disambiguation.

In the spring of 2020, I defended my doctoral thesis, The meaning and import of the Finnish verb epäillä ‘doubt, suspect, suppose’ and its nominal derivatives as a reflection of the semantics of negation and negativity. The main motivation of the thesis is the question of how one word can, in different contexts, gain opposite meanings (‘is probably true’ vs. ‘is probably not true’). I illustrate how both the grammatical context, i.e. the surrounding linguistic structure, and the evaluative interpretation of words as positive or negative, steer the meaning interpretation between the two opposites. It is indeed of a particular interest to me how our values and stance on topics discussed may very essentially affect the linguistic interpretation, and what kind of implications this may have for mutual understanding. In my research, I combine different functional theories, which share the view of language use as an essential theoretical starting point.

I currently work as a Finnish lecturer at the University of Greifswald, Germany.