Sari Kunnari

Sari Kunnari

Professor, Director of the Child Language Research Center
Speech and language therapy, Child language research

Biography

I have conducted research on typical speech and language acquisition for 23 years, with the aim of verifying language-specific aspects through cross-linguistic comparisons. Besides typical acquisition, my research has comprised two main clinical groups, namely children with specific language impairment and children with hearing impairment. I have also been a member of the management committee of three international researcher networks (COST actions) and a member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech.

Research interests

  • phonology, vocabulary, morphosyntax, narrative
  • speech and language disorders

Selected projects

  • 2017–2021, Academy of Finland, Speech perception and spoken language outcomes of early cochlear implantation and hearing aid rehabilitation at ages 4 to 6
  • 2010–2013, Academy of Finland, Speech perception and speech and language development in children with unilateral and/or bilateral cochlear implant(s)
  • 2007–2010, Academy of Finland, Stages in the phonological development of children acquiring Finnish
  • 2005–2009, NIH, USA, Morphological deficits in specific language impairment
  • 2001–2003, Academy of Finland, Early speech development and maternal speech to infants

Selected publications

  • Armon-Lotem, Sharon; Haman, Ewa; de Lopez, Kristine Jensen; Smoczynska, Magdalena; Yatsushiro, Kazuko; Szczerbinski, Marcin; van Hout, Angeliek; Dabasinskiene, Ineta; Gavarro, Anna; Hobbs, Erin; Kamandulyte-Merfeldiene, Laura; Katsos, Napoleon; Kunnari, Sari; Nitsiou, Chrisa; Sundahl Olsen, Lone; Parramon, Xavier; Sauerland, Uli; Torn-Leesik, Reeli; van der Lely, Heather (2016) A large-scale cross-linguistic investigation of the acquisition of passive. - Language Acquisition 23 (1), 27-56 . [Original]
  • Kunnari, Sari; Välimaa, Taina; Laukkanen-Nevala, Päivi (2016) Macrostructure in the narratives of monolingual Finnish and bilingual Finnish-Swedish children. - Applied Psycholinguistics 37 (1; SI), 123-144 .
  • Katsos, Napoleon; Cummins, Chris; Ezeizabarrena, Maria-Jose; Gavarro, Anna; Kraljevic, Jelena Kuvac; Hrzica, Gordana; Grohmann, Kleanthes K.; Skordi, Athina; de Lopez, Kristine Jensen; Sundahl, Lone; van Hout, Angeliek; Hollebrandse, Bart; Overweg, Jessica; Faber, Myrthe; van Koert, Margreet; Smith, Nafsika; Vija, Maigi; Zupping, Sirli; Kunnari, Sari; Morisseau, Tiffany (2016) Cross-linguistic patterns in the acquisition of quantifiers. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (33), 9244-9249 .
  • Kunnari, Sari; Nieminen, Lea; Torvelainen, Päivi (2016) FIN-LARSP : Morphosyntactic profiling of Finnish children. Profiling Grammar : More Languages of LARSP. Fletcher, Paul; Ball, Martin J.; Crystal, David. - Ei sarjaa/No series 15. Bristol. 64-79
  • Luniewska, Magdalena; Haman, Ewa; Armon-Lotem, Sharon; Etenkowski, Bartlomiej; Southwood, Frenette; Andelkovic, Darinka; Blom, Elma; Boerma, Tessel; Chiat, Shula; de Abreu, Pascale Engel; Gagarina, Natalia; Gavarro, Anna; Hakansson, Gisela; Hickey, Tina; de Lopez, Kristine Jensen; Marinis, Theodoros; Popovic, Masa; Thordardottir, Elin; Blaziene, Agne; Sanchenz, Myriam Cantu (2016) Ratings of age of acquisition of 299 words across 25 languages: Is there a cross-linguistic order of words?. - Behavior research methods 48 (3), 1154-1177 .
  • Sauerland, Uli; Grohmann, Kleanthes K.; Guasti, Maria Teresa; Andelkovic, Darinka; Argus, Reili; Armon-Lotem, Sharon; Arosio, Fabrizio; Avram, Larisa; Costa, Joao; Dabasinskiene, Ineta; de Lopez, Kristine; Gatt, Daniela; Grech, Helen; Haman, Ewa; van Hout, Angeliek; Hrzica, Gordana; Kainhofer, Judith; Kamandulyte-Merfeldiene, Laura; Kunnari, Sari; Kovacevic, Melita; Kraljevic, Jelena Kuvac; Lipows (2016) How do 5-year-olds understand questions? Differences in languages across Europe. - First Language 36 (3), 169-202
  • Gagarina, Natalia; Klop, Daleen; Kunnari, Sari; Tantele, Koula; Välimaa, Taina; Balčiūnienė, Ingrida; Walters, Joel (2015) Assessment of narrative abilities in bilingual children. Assessing multilingual children : disentangling bilingualism from language impairment. Armon-Lotem, Sharon; de Jong, Jan; Meir , Natalia. - Communication Disorders Across Languages 13. Bristol. 243-276
  • Mäkinen, Leena; Loukusa, Soile; Leinonen, Eeva; Moilanen, Irma; Ebeling, Hanna; Kunnari, Sari (2014) Characteristics of narrative language in autism spectrum disorder : Evidence from the Finnish. - Research in autism spectrum disorders 8 (8), 987-996 . [Original]
  • Kunnari, Sari; Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula; Leonard, Laurence B; Mäkinen, Leena; Tolonen, Anna-Kaisa (2014) The use of negative inflections by Finnish-speaking children with and without specific language impairment. - Clinical linguistics & phonetics 28 (9), 697-708 . [Original]
  • Leonard, Laurence B; Kunnari, Sari; Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula; Tolonen, Anna-Kaisa; Mäkinen, Leena; Luotonen, Mirja; Leinonen, Eeva (2014) Noun case suffix use by children with specific language impairment: an examination of Finnish. - Applied Psycholinguistics 35 (4), 833-854
  • Mäkinen, Leena; Loukusa, Soile; Laukkanen, Päivi; Leinonen, Eeva; Kunnari, Sari (2014) Linguistic and pragmatic aspects of narration in Finnish typically developing children and children with specific language impairment. - Clinical linguistics & phonetics 28 (6), 413-427
  • Mäkinen, Leena; Loukusa, Soile; Nieminen, Lea; Leinonen, Eeva; Kunnari ,Sari (2014) The development of narrative productivity, syntactic complexity, referential cohesion and event content in four- to eight-year-old Finnish children. - First Language 34 (1), 24-42
  • Nakai, Satsuki; Kunnari, Sari. (2014) On the perceived quantity of young children’s speech segments. Consonant gemination in first and second language acquisition. Costamagna, Lidia; Celata, Chiara.. Pisa. 119-144
  • McLeod, Sharynne; Verdon, Sarah; Bowen, Caroline; the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech (2013) International aspirations for speech-language pathologists’ practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorder: development of a position paper. - Journal of Communication Disorders 46 (4), 375-387
  • Kunnari, Sari; Yliherva, Anneli; Paavola, Leena; Peltoniemi, Outi (2012) Expressive language skills in Finnish two-year-old extremely- and very-low-birth-weight preterm children. - Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 64 (1), 5-11 . [Original]
  • Gagarina, Natalia; Klop, Daleen; Kunnari, Sari; Tantele, Koula; Välimaa, Taina; Balciuniene, Ingrida; Bohnacker; Ute; Walters, Joel (2012) Part I. MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives. - ZAS Papers in Linguistics 56, 1-139 . [Original]
  • Nakai, Satsuki; Turk, Alice; Suomi, Kari; Granlund, Sonia; Ylitalo, Riikka; Kunnari, Sari (2012) Quantity constraints on the temporal implementation of phrasal prosody in Northern Finnish. - Journal of Phonetics 40 (6), 796-807
  • Kunnari, Sari; Saaristo-Helin, Katri; Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula (2012) Phonological mean length of utterance in specific language impairment: a multi-case study of children acquiring Finnish. - Clinical linguistics & phonetics 26 (5), 428–444
  • Kunnari, Sari; Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula; Leonard, Laurence B; Mäkinen, Leena;Tolonen, Anna-Kaisa; Luotonen, Mirja; Leinonen, Eeva (2011) Children with specific language impairment in Finnish: The use of tense and agreement inflections. - Journal of Child Language 38, 999–1027
  • Saaristo-Helin, Katri; Kunnari, Sari; Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula (2011) Phonological development in children learning Finnish: A review. - First Language 31, 342–363
  • DePaolis, R.; Vihman, M. M. & Kunnari, Sari (2008) Prosody in production at the onset of word use. A cross-linguistic study. - Journal of Phonetics 36, 406-422
  • Kunnari, Sari & Savinainen-Makkonen, Tuula (2007) Finnish speech acquisition. The International Guide to Speech Acquisition. Ed. by S. McLeod, Thomson Delmar Learning. 351-363
  • Saaristo-Helin, K.; Savinainen-Makkonen, T. & Kunnari, Sari (2006) Phonological Mean Length of Utterance: methodological challenges from a crosslinguistic perspective. - Journal of Child Language 33, 179-190
  • Paavola, Leila; Kemppinen, K.; Kunnari, Sari; Kumpulainen, K.; Moilanen, Irma & Ebeling, Hanna (2006) Characteristics of mother-infant communicative interaction: relations to the ratings of maternal sensitivity and infant co-operation. - Journal of Early Childhood Research 4 (3), 203-222
  • Vihman, M. M. & Kunnari, Sari (2006) Sources of phonological knowledge: a cross-linguistic perspective. - Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes (35), 133-164
  • Paavola, Leila; Kunnari, Sari & Moilanen, Irma (2005) Maternal responsiveness and infant intentional communication: implications for the early communicative and linguistic development. - Child: Care, health & development 31 (6), 727-735
  • Kunnari, Sari (2003) Consonant inventories: a longitudinal study of Finnish-speaking children. - Journal of Multilingual Communication Disorders 1 (2), 124-131
  • Kunnari, Sari (2002) Word length in syllables: evidence from early word production in Finnish. - First Language 22 (65), 119-135
  • Kunnari, Sari; Nakai, S. & Vihman, M. M. (2001) Cross-linguistic evidence for the acquisition of geminates. - Psychology of Language and Communication 5 (2), 13-24

Thesis supervisions

Doctoral theses (completed)
  • Leila Paavola (2006). Maternal sensitive responsiveness, characteristics and relations to child early communicative and linguistic development

  • Katri Saaristo-Helin (2011). Phonological mean length of utterances as an indicator of typical and impaired phonological development in children acquiring Finnish

  • Leena Mäkinen (2014). Narrative language in typically developing children, children with specific language impairment and children with autism spectrum disorder

  • Hanna Elo (2016). Acquiring language as a twin: Twin children’s early health, social environment and emerging language skills

Doctoral theses (ongoing)
  • Elisa Heikkinen

  • Anna-Leena Martikainen

  • Anna-Kaisa Tolonen

  • Krista Wallenius

  • Sini Smolander

  • Katariina Rantalainen

  • Karita Fyrsten