av Sofia Ahlang, Unna Löppönen, Sanna Antila & Sanna-Mari Korjonen
The 17th Nordic onomastics conference was held on June 8-11th as a virtual conference via Zoom. Researchers from the Nordic countries and Scotland came to give presentations about their newest research. There were participants also from Tjeckien. We, four students from the University of Helsinki, participated as assistants and helped the participants with the use of Zoom. In this blogpost we will tell you about our experiences as assistants.
Sofia Ahläng, nordiska språk (svenska som modersmål):
Jag är sommarpraktikant hos Ordbok över Finlands svenska folkmål vid Institutet för de inhemska språken. På den vägen fick jag i uppdrag att vara assistent på NORNA-kongressen. Eftersom kongressen hölls online, på grund av den rådande situationen, så satt jag hemma i min lägenhet. Det är förstås synd att inte kunna uppleva en kongress på det sätt som det är tänkt, men jag tycker ändå det var en mycket lärorik upplevelse. Föredragen var väldigt intressanta, och det var framför allt inspirerande att lyssna på forskarnas samtal efteråt. Jag hade dock trott att jag skulle kunna ta det lugnt och lyssna en rätt stor del av tiden. Där hade jag fel, det var faktiskt mer krävande än jag väntat mig. Men det var roligt, och jag hoppas kunna delta i en kongress på traditionellt sätt i framtiden. Dessutom ger det garanterat mervärde om man är insatt i ämnet, och har lättare att följa med.
Unna Löppönen, Statsvenskapen (politisk historia och kommunikation, Kandidatprogrammet för samhälle i förändring)
I’m a 3rd year student of Social Sciences, and I got interested in the NORNA-conference after taking a course in digital humanities. I also wanted to gain valuable experience about how an online conference is organised, and learn more about onomastics and the newest research in the field. As the conference was held online, I managed to participate from London where I’m currently studying as an Erasmus student. Participating in a conference, where the participants were from different parts of the Nordics and Scotland was also a great way to deepen my international experience. In the conference my tasks included creating a Zoom room, keeping the speakers informed about the time left for their presentations, and helping the speakers and the audience with technical issues. I also had plenty of time to listen to the presentations and learn new about onomastics research. There were many interesting presentations in the conference and the topics varied from the research of place names to the research of the relationship between the name and identity. All in all, if you are a student who is interested in linguistics and want to gain valuable experience, I warmly recommend you to be a conference assistant in the next Norna-conference.
Sanna Antila (politics and communication)
I’m a 3rd year student of politics and communication, and I decided to take part in the NORNA conference to learn more about organizing an online conference over Zoom. I also wanted to challenge myself to practice my Swedish, since I haven’t really used the language after high school, as well as to learn about onomastics, which was a new topic for me. During the 3-day conference I assisted the speakers with Zoom and made sure there were no technical difficulties, so the speakers could focus on their presentations. It was very interesting to hear presentations from the newest research in the field, and to gain experience as an online conference assistant, so I’m very glad I decided to take part in this conference.
Sanna-Mari Korjonen, Nordiska språk (svenska som andra inhemska språket):
For me it was very exciting to be an assistant. I have been organizing a fair once before and like to organize events. I’m quite social and love to be with people and the atmosphere in events is often fascinating. I wanted to take part in this congress as an assistant because of that and I was also interested in to see what onomastics is, it was a completely new thing for me but it also pertains to my studies a bit. During the congress I learned a lot about how Zoom works but maybe the most important for me: I became more interested in Nordic collaboration! I think that it is cool that we can speak our own Nordic language (Swedish in Finland) in communicating with people from other Nordic Countries and get understand with it. Because of this congress I got a spark to learn more other Nordic languages: especially Danish and Icelandic that is a part of my studies (one course) but I would like to learn more than that. This congress was also a window to the fascinating academic world for me as a first year student, maybe also because of the corona situation for I haven’t been studying like normal in university at all but anyway. And like Sanna writes, I am also very glad that I decided to take part in this!