Lars Johanson

Affiliated Researcher in Turkic Languages at Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi

Visiting address:
Engelska parken
Thunbergsvägen 3H
Postal address:
Box 635
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Lars Johanson is Professor Emeritus of Turcology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, and Docent in the Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University. His work in Turkic synchronic and diachronic linguistics has offered a special focus on aspect-mood-tense systems, language contact phenomena and linguistic typology, and has helped to convert the field of Turcology into a modern linguistic discipline. Updated 22.02.2022


  • aspect-mood-tense systems
  • diachronic linguistics
  • language contact phenomena
  • linguistic typology
  • turkic linguistics
  • turkish literature


He was born in 1936 in Köping, Sweden. In 1950–1959 he studied German and Scandinavian languages, Sanskrit and Turcology at the University of Uppsala. In 1961 he took an MA exam in German, Scandinavian languages and Slavic Languages at the same university and in 1963 in Turkic languages. In 1966 he took a doctoral degree ("filosofie licentiat") in Turkic Languages at the University of Uppsala with a thesis "Studien zur reichstürkischen Verbalsyntax". In 1971, he successfully obtained his degree of 'Habilitation' at the University of Uppsala, based on his thesis '"Aspekt im Türkischen". In 1981 he was appointed professor in Turcology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.

His awards include the Order of Merit of the Republic of Turkey, the Vilhelm Thomsen Medal of the International Turkic Academy for the Study of Old Turkic, and an honorary degree from the University of Szeged, Hungary. Five Festschriften have been dedicated to him, and several symposia have been arranged in his honor.

Lars Johanson

Updated 22.02.2022


Lars Johanson studies include comprehensive works in the field of Turkic synchronic and diachronic linguistics and Turkic literature. Many of his publications have contributed significantly to general linguistics as well. Examples of this work are his detailed and comprehensive Aspekt im Türkischen (1971), the book-length theoretical study “Viewpoint operators in European languages” (2000) and the seminal and much quoted Structural factors in Turkic language contacts (2002), which develops his innovative code-copying model for language contact. His recent publication, Turkic (Cambridge University Press 2021), constitutes a monumental thousand-page survey of all the Turkic languages in their synchronic, diachronic, typological, areal and cultural dimensions. He has edited or co-edited many volumes on Turkic linguistics and on general linguistics, including the standard reference work The Turkic languages (Routledge 1998; together with Éva Á. Csató; the thoroughly revised 2nd edition 2022) and the widely cited Copies versus cognates in bound morphology (2012; together with Martine Robbeets). In 2021 his co-edited volume Turcologica Upsaliensia was published by Brill. The richly illustrated essays in this volume tell the stories of scholars, travellers, diplomats and collectors who made discoveries in the Turkic-speaking world while affiliated with Sweden’s oldest university, at Uppsala. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Turkic Languages (current volume no. 26), the Editor of the monograph series Turcologica (to nearly 130 volumes), and the Chief Editor of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Turkic Languages and Linguistics, to be published online by Brill in 2022. His current research project is the pubication of a transcription text of an old Azeri Bible translation (Carolinas handskriftsvolym O. Sp. 39.) in cooperation with Birsel Karakoç.

He is external collaborator of The Archaeolinguistic Research Group headed by Martine Robbeets at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Turkic Languages

Updated 22.02.2022


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Lars Johanson