UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Dr Riitta Valijarvi

Associate Professor (Teaching)



Joined UCL
1st Sep 2007

Research summary

My research interests include language pedagogy, Uralic languages, endangered languages, translation studies, grammaticography, verbal morphology and syntax, song lyrics, and cats in culture and society. I have co-authored a grammar of North Sámi, a minority language spoken in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and a grammar of West Greenlandic. My recent co-edited volumes include Multilingual Metal Music (Emerald, 2021), The Uralic Languages (Routledge, 2023), and Teaching and Learning Resources for Endangered Languages (Brill, 2023). I am currently working on a grammar of Meänkieli, studying sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of Meänkieli, and exploring nonbinary and genderqueer language and the connections between (Critical) Animal Studies and language. I am one of the founders and editors of the UCL Press series Grammars of World and Minority Languages.

Recent conferences:

Challenging the Binary: Non-Binary, Genderqueer, and Gender-Neutral Language in collaboration with UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies

The Cat's Pyjamas: Cats in Culture and Society accompanied by an exhibition at Senate House Library

Teaching summary

I have worked for Uppsala University, Medborgarskolan i Uppsala, Morley College, the European Union, the Foreign Office, and the University of Westminster. I have designed exams for the European Personnel Selection Office and the Foreign Office. I have experience of teaching all levels A1-C2 both in person and online.

Courses taught

Finnish Language Level 1 (SEEF0001)

Finnish Language Level 2a - Comprehension (SEEF0005) 

Finnish Language Level 2b - Production (SEEF0007)

Finnish Language Level 3a - Comprehension (SEEF0011)

Finnish Language Level 3b - Production (SEEF0013)

Finnish A (SEEF0017)

New Language: Finnish (MA) (SEES0030)

Intermediate Language: Finnish (MA) (SEES0020)

Minority Languages of Russia: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity and Endangerment (SEEE0010)

Finland: Environment Society Culture (SEEF0009)

Finnish Society and Culture 3 (SEEF0015)

How Words Work: Sounds and Sense (SEEE0002)

How Words Work: Meaning and Modularity (SEEE0003)

I also contribute to the course

Histories and Cultures of the Nordic Region (SCAN0011)


Uppsala Universitet
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2007
Uppsala University
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2001
University of Turku
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 2001


I have been teaching Finnish language and culture since 2001. I finished my PhD thesis for Uppsala University, Sweden, and joined UCL in 2007. I became Associate Professor (Teaching) of Finnish and Minority Languages at UCL in 2019. I also work as an Associate Professor of Finnish at Uppsala University, Sweden.