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Heli Tissari

I teach English linguistics. My research interests include cognitive and corpus linguistics, emotions, English historical linguistics, and semantics.   

Research qualifications: Docent



Works at

Associate professor at Department of Language Studies Section: English
A, Humanisthuset, korridor HUM.J.2 Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

I received my PhD at the University of Helsinki in 2003. The title of my dissertation was Lovescapes: Changes in prototypical senses and cognitive metaphors since 1500. In it, I studied English words and metaphors for love in sixteenth and seventeenth century English, comparing them with modern English. Soon after finishing my PhD, I started a three-year project on further English words and metaphors and emotions at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The project was titled “A welcome experience? Conceptualising and evaluating emotions in English, 1500–2005”. Thereafter, I continued working at the University of Helsinki as a researcher and co-ordinator at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence, Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English until 2012. I also spent a two-month period as a visiting researcher at the Aichi Prefectural University in Japan in 2010. Together with Ulla Vanhatalo and Anna Idström, I translated the Natural Semantic Metalanguage into Finnish in 2014, and later I was involved in a couple of small projects applying the Natural Semantic Metalanguage into the study of words for emotions in Finnish. In 2020–2022 I was a member of the project “Game Music Everyday Memories” which studied people’s fond memories of video game music. Before coming to Umeå, I taught English philology and English linguistics at the University of Helsinki, the University of Eastern Finland, Stockholm University and Mid Sweden University.


Selected publications


PhD thesis: (2003) Lovescapes: Changes in Prototypical Senses and Cognitive Metaphors Since 1500. (Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki LXII.) Helsinki: Société Néophilologique.

(2008) with Anne Birgitta Pessi & Mikko Salmela (eds.) Happiness: Cognition, Experience, Language. COLLeGIUM Studies Across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 3. Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. <https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/25732>

(2009) ed. Approaches to Language and Cognition. Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English, Volume 3. <https://varieng.helsinki.fi/series/volumes/03/>

(2010) with Margaret E. Winters & Kathryn Allan (eds.) Historical Cognitive Linguistics. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 47.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

(2014, second author) with Ulla Vanhatalo & Anna Idström: Revisiting the universality of Natural Semantic Metalanguage: A view through Finnish. SKY Journal of Linguistics 27, 67-94.


(2017) Current emotion research in English linguistics: Words for emotions in the history of English. Emotion Review 9(1): 86-94. DOI: 10.1177/1754073916632064.

(2019, second author) with Ulla Vanhatalo, Taru Lilja, Kimmo Vehkalahti & Mari Siiroinen. ”Something bad can now happen to me here”: Meaning components of emotion words. SKY Journal of Linguistics 32, 145-179. <http://www.linguistics.fi/julkaisut/SKY2019/SKYJoL32_Vanhatalo_et_al.pdf>

(2021, second author) with Junyu Wu. Intensifier-verb collocations in academic English by Chinese learners compared to native-speaker students. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics 44: 4, 470-487.

(2023) Expressions of emotion and linguistic change. Language and Emotion: An International Handbook, ed. by Gesine Lenore Schiewer, Jeanette Altarriba & Bee Chin Ng. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 302-323.


Linguist List
Tissari, Heli
Musiikki, Suomen musiikkitieteellinen seura 2022, Vol. 52, (4) : 46-84
Koskela, Oskari; Tissari, Heli; Tuuri, Kai
Language and emotion: an international handbook. Volume 1, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 2022 : 302-323
Tissari, Heli
Skandinaviske Sprogstudier, Aarhus Universitetsforlag 2022, Vol. 13, (1) : 118-143
Tissari, Heli
Linguist List
Tissari, Heli
Linguist List
Tissari, Heli
Cognitive sociolinguistics revisited, Mouton de Gruyter 2021 : 69-80
Tissari, Heli; Koskela, Oskari; Tuuri, Kai; et al.
Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2021: 20th IFIP TC 14 International Conference, ICEC 2021, Coimbra, Portugal, November 2–5, 2021, Proceedings, Springer 2021 : 411-418
Tuuri, Kai; Koskela, Oskari; Vahlo, Jukka; et al.
Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2021, Springer 2021 : 304-318
Vahlo, Jukka; Koskela, Oskari; Tuuri, Kai; et al.
Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, Mouton de Gruyter 2021, Vol. 44, (4) : 470-487
Wu, Junyu; Tissari, Heli

Research groups

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