Language and social interaction in war and exile (LanWE)

In the LanWE project, we investigate the effects that war and living in exile have on the language use, attitudes, discourses and language idiologies of Ukrainian civilians and the role of different languages in their lives. The research data is collected during and after the currently ongoing Russia–Ukraine war.


Project information

Project duration


Funded by

Research Council of Finland

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

Project description

In the LanWE project, we use multimodal conversation and discourse analysis to investigate the impact of war and exile on the language use of Ukrainian civilians. Our research explores the transformations that occur in their language use, shedding light on the evolving role of different languages in the lives of people affected by conflict and displacement.
During the Russian-Ukrainian war, Ukrainians' national unity has strengthened, the areas where Russian is used by Ukrainians have shrunk, and a significant language shift has occurred as formerly Russian-dominant individuals adopt Ukrainian as their primary language. As millions of people seek refuge outside their homeland and are forced into new socio-linguistic environments, we examine the different linguistic practices, ideologies, attitudes and discourses that emerge among the displaced. Recognising the considerable variability in these factors between individuals, we use a bottom-up, data-driven qualitative approach that authentically captures the perspectives of language users.
The LanWE project will provide groundbreaking insights into the language experiences of Ukrainians in Finland, from their actual language use to how they see themselves as language users. We offer insights into issues of language maintenance, the structure of Ukrainian and multilingual conversations, and the dynamics that shape interactions between refugees and the host population. Through our research, we contribute to unravelling the profound impact of conflict and displacement on people's linguistic realities.

Current members of the LanWE project are Yan Kapranov and Maria Frick.

Project results


Frick, Maria & Yan Kapranov (2023): Ukrainalaiset ja ukrainan kieli Suomessa sotavuosina 2022–2023. Kielikello 3/2023.