The Department of General Linguistics at the University of Helsinki comprises of two subjects, general linguistics and language technology, as well as a multilingual communication programme MonAKO.
General linguistics is interested in the nature of human language, including the fundamental characteristics of languages and their common traits, as well as theories and methods with which to describe languages. Research is also done in language change, use in different situations, processing, the relationship of language to other symbol systems and the general meaning it has to humans.
Language technology, formerly computer linguistics, is a multidisciplinary field of study. It researches the technical tools and methods with which human produced language - speech and writing - can be parsed to a format processable by a computer. Some well known applications of language technology are automatic spelling and grammar checking and speech recognition.
The multilingual communication programme MonAKO complements the teaching of various linguistic subjects by offering courses relating to translation theory and tools, language planning in translation as well as jargon and special languages. In addition to philology students, the courses are meant for all students interested in translation.
The Department of General Linguistics was established in 1967, the subject General Linguistics in the same year, and Language Technology (Computer Linguistics) in 1987. MonAKO started in 1997 and moved to the Department of General Linguistics in 2001.