Browsing by Subject "sociolinguistics"

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  • Kolla, Elena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This study combines metadiscourse research and sociolinguistic methods to establish which social variables influence the choice of metadiscourse resources containing first-person pronouns in US opinion news texts. The study has three main goals. The first goal is to establish which first-person pronouns are used by the authors of opinion articles, and which social variables influence or at least correlate with their choice of first-person pronouns the most, as well as to study the contexts in which these pronouns are used. The second goal is to establish which metadiscourse resources and to what extent are used by the authors of different social groups. The third goal is to establish if there is any correlation between various social factors and the use of particular metadiscourse resources. The corpus for the study was collected from articles posted on the sites of eleven US news publishers and consists of op-ed texts on politics and social issues along with the information about the authors of these texts including gender, age, ethnic background, education, and occupation. To fulfill these goals the study uses corpus linguistics methods for calculating and comparing the occurrence frequencies of first-person pronouns by social variables and Ken Hyland's interpersonal model of metadiscourse. The results show that social variables do indeed significantly correlate with the choice of first-person pronouns and the metadiscourse resources containing these pronouns. The pronouns that are mostly used are the subject pronouns I and we, the mostly used metadiscourse resources being Self-mentions and Engagement markers. The most prominent social variables that correlate with the use of pronouns are gender and, to a lesser degree, occupation. The female authors of the articles in the corpus use more first-person pronouns than male authors and show a preference for first-person singular pronouns and plural inclusive pronouns while male authors use more first-person plural pronouns. The most noticeable difference in pronoun usage between genders can be observed between male and female journalists; however, journalists of one gender do not differ from each other in either pronoun or metadiscourse use with other factors being equal.
  • Salminen, Esa (2006)
    The study is about language use in three commercial, youth-oriented radio stations in Lusaka, the capital of the Republic of Zambia. The study analyses the speech style of Zambian radio presenters and disc jockeys aged between 20 and 35, and the functions and meanings of this speech style, that approximates Black American youth speech. The study is based on analysis of radio recordings, interviews with radio presenters and radio listeners, as well as ethnographic observation data, coupled with statistical demographic and economic data. The ethnographic material was gathered during a three year period between June 2002 and July 2005, the recordings and interviews mostly during the last six months of this period. The main finding of the study is that speech style for the 'radio speech community' is a form of social capital, and it is used to gain upward social mobility and employment, but also sought for as an end in itself, as a building block of a modernistic identity. The study shows how the social group of the radio presenters is in a unique position in Zambia: its members are able to use verbal talent and an identity-building project as a means of subsistence in an impoverished economical context. This finding is compared with other studies on modernisation, namely in historical Europe and contemporary Congo (Brazzaville). The main theoretical sources for the study consist of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, in the works of Charles Briggs, Erwing Goffman, William Labov and John Gumperz; as well as social and anthropological theorists, of which the main ones cited in the study are Pierre Bourdieu, Jonathan Friedman, Mike Featherstone and Peter Burke. Other sources include census statistics, education policy papers of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the United Nations Human Development Report.
  • Kawakami, Airi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Multi-functional superimposed subtitles called telop are a defining feature of Japanese television programs today. Telops are used to show titles of segments, speaker’s utterances and explanations about situations. In recent years, English telops have been increasingly used although English use as a means of daily communication is limited in the Japanese society. This study examines how English is used in Japanese television programs, focusing on telops. The focus of this research is on a prominent genre of Japanese television shows, variety shows, which often feature comedians and incorporate various entertainment elements. Previously, both English use in Japanese contexts and telops have been studied, but not many studies have focused on English-language telops in Japanese television shows. Therefore, this study investigates English telops, adopting methodologies used in previous research. This study has two aims. The first is to investigate what kind of functional roles English telops play in Japanese television shows. The second is to elucidate how English telops index social functions, such as competence or being (un)cool. This thesis adopted an analytical approach by Maree (2015a) and Furukawa (2014): multimodal analysis in sociolinguistics (sociocultural linguistics) approach. The study used television program data, which broadcasted in 2019 and amounts to 36 hours in total. The total number of English telops extracted from this video data was 2062 and these telops were classified based on three types of categorical frameworks: typology of telop, typology of code-switching and typology of social functions. The results show that English telops have various functional roles and social functions. The result of categorizing based on the typology of telop reveals that English telops were frequently used for situational explanation, speaker’s utterances and titles. In terms of the typology of code-switching, the result shows that English telops were rarely used to describe a code-switching in conversation. Rather, English telops appeared to be used for headlines, mottos or proper nouns. As for the typology of social functions, several functions that were suggested in previous research were found in this research as well. In addition, new social functions such as sexy and hyperactive were also discovered. In conclusion, this research suggests additions to the typological frameworks for English telops but also points out there is still room to develop them. This research provides new insights into English use in Japanese communication and non-English speaking cultures. Furthermore, this research can also contribute to further research on telops and Japanese media communication.
  • Vogiatzi, Athina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis studies whether reappropriation of the term “bitch” occurs in American TV shows and movies based on corpus data retrieved from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (2021) for the period 2010-2019. The thesis combines methods from corpus linguistics and sociolinguistics. The subcorpus of TV and movies in COCA (2021) for the selected time frame contained 128 013 334 tokens. The research was performed in two stages: first, through a general collocation analysis of the most frequent words paired with the term “bitch”, and then through a concordance analysis of 100 random samples of concordance lines for each five-year period. Reappropriation was explored through lens of the reappropriation theory of derogatory terms by looking at the meaning of the collocates during the collocation analysis and at the meaning of the words occurring in proximity of the term “bitch” during the concordance analysis. The results revealed that there are very few instances of reappropriation, in which the speakers self-labelled with the term, thus the term appeared to maintain its pejorative nature in the majority of the cases. Swear words and insults were observed in most of the results in both analyses, with the idiomatic phrase son of a bitch having the highest frequency per million tokens. Corpus linguistics methods are applicable to study language use and reveal linguistic patterns that can reflect people’s ideologies.
  • Siirtola, Harri; Isokoski, Poika; Säily, Tanja; Nevalainen, Terttu (IEEE Computer Society, 2016)
    Information Visualization
    Digitalization is changing how research is carried out in all areas of science. Humanities is no exception - materials that used to be hand-written or printed on paper are increasingly available in digital form. This development is changing how scholars are interacting with their material. We are addressing the problem of interactive text visualization in the context of sociolinguistic language study. When a scholar is reading and analyzing text from a computer screen instead of a paper, we can support this by providing a dashboard for reading, and by creating visualizations of the text structure, variation, and change. We have designed and developed a software tool called Text Variation Explorer (TVE) for sociolinguistic language study. It is based on interactive visualization with a direct manipulation user interface, and aimed for exploratory corpus linguistics. The TVE software tool has proven to be useful in supporting the study of language variation and change in its social contexts, or sociolinguistics. It is, to a certain degree, language-independent, and generic enough to be useful in other linguistic contexts as well. We are now in the process of designing and implementing the next iteration of TVE. We present the lessons learned from the first version, discuss the old and the new design, and welcome feedback from the communities involved.
  • Ibarra Karmy, Isabel Nicole (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Language and identity go together in an inextricable manner, and this thesis examines two novels which have tried to depict the complicated lives of characters who use more than one language, as they face discrimination for doing so, and even for lacking skills in one of their languages. I compare and contrast the uses of Chicano English in The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo by Oscar Zeta Acosta (1989) and of African American English (also known as Vernacular English) in a recent novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017). The protagonists in both novels frequently engage in code-switching, and both characters reflect on their language choices as they seek to find their identity. Borrowing insights from Sociolinguistics, this literary analysis focuses on life changing situations for the characters, where they are depicted as being in an “in-between” space, banished from both cultures. I propose that it is this banishment, which initially acts as a source of shame for the characters and thus prevents them from having a clear identity, that ultimately leads them to question themselves into defining who they are. Both of the protagonists learn to turn the source of shame into a source of pride. In spite of the fact that the novels were written nearly thirty years apart, the analysis reveals that they have much in common, thus acting as a reflection of the struggles people from minorities have to go through in today’s society. Therefore, it is fundamental that we teach future generations about such struggles and create a world where bilingualism—even imperfect bilingualism or multilingualism—is readily accepted, making it easier for people to embrace all sides of themselves.
  • Peterson, Elizabeth (Taylor & Francis Group (Routledge), 2019)
    Why is it that some ways of using English are considered "good" and others are considered "bad"? Why are certain forms of language termed elegant, eloquent or refined, whereas others are deemed uneducated, coarse, or inappropriate? Making Sense of "Bad English" is an accessible introduction to attitudes and ideologies towards the use of English in different settings around the world. Outlining how perceptions about what constitutes "good" and "bad" English have been shaped, this book shows how these principles are based on social factors rather than linguistic issues and highlights some of the real-life consequences of these perceptions. Features include: - an overview of attitudes towards English and how they came about, as well as real-life consequences and benefits of using "bad" English; - explicit links between different English language systems, including child’s English, English as a lingua franca, African American English, Singlish, and New Delhi English; - examples taken from classic names in the field of sociolinguistics, including Labov, Trudgill, Baugh, and Lambert, as well as rising stars and more recent cutting-edge research; - links to relevant social parallels, including cultural outputs such as holiday myths, to help readers engage in a new way with the notion of Standard English; - supporting online material for students which features worksheets, links to audio and news files, further examples and discussion questions, and background on key issues from the book. Making Sense of "Bad English" provides an engaging and thought-provoking overview of this topic and is essential reading for any student studying sociolinguistics within a global setting.
  • Pietiläinen, Jukka (2011)
    This article analyses the results of five Eurobarometer surveys (of 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2005) designed to measure which languages Europeans consider most useful to know. Most Europeans are of the opinion that English is the most useful, followed by French and German. During the last decade the popularity of French and German as useful languages has been decreasing significantly, while English has remained universally favoured as the most useful language. French and German have lost their popularity especially among those who do not speak them as a foreign language. On the other hand, Spanish, Russian and other languages (often these include languages of neighbouring countries, minority languages or a second official language of the country in question) have kept and even increased their former level of popularity. Opinions about useful languages vary according to a respondent’s knowledge of languages, education and profession. This article analyses these differences and discusses their impact on the study of foreign languages and the future of the practice of foreign languages in Europe.
  • Luoma, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This study examines the use of the Latin script in languages where the Latin script is not the official writing system. The aim of the research is to get a general perception of where and why the Latin script is used in those languages. The study concentrates on the use of the Latin script of individual writers, especially in informal writing situations online. The study also examines if the individuals have seen the Latin script used by others. In addition, the study finds out about the keyboard functionality when writing in the Latin and non-Latin scripts. Many case studies have covered the phenomenon of digraphia, which is a situation where one language uses two writing systems. However, a broader crosslinguistic study has not been done on this topic. The Latin script is the dominant script on the Internet which might have an impact on the script choice in online writing. Internet language and chatting are broadly studied but because of the continuously changing nature of the Internet, more research is required on these topics. This study aims to fill in some of the gaps that are left open by previous research. I gathered data by an online questionnaire and by four semi-structured interviews. By means of the questionnaire, I got open question answers and quantitative data from 142 respondents. Additionally, I had four interviews with representative users of different writing systems to get more detailed information about the use of the Latin script. The data was analysed and compared with previous research from the point of view of five groups of different scripts. The general finding of this study is that the respondents choose to write in the Latin script mostly when the non-Latin keyboard in not available or when fast and easy informal writing style is required. The Latin script has many different functions. It is mostly used in online chatting, texting with friends or when one’s personal information needs to be written in travelling documents. However, people prefer to write in the official non-Latin script even though it might sometimes feel difficult or slow to use. The study points out that it cannot be predicted whether a respondent uses the Latin script or not, since the results are mostly very variable. The need or even the eagerness to use the Latin script when it is not the official script, reflects the functions and facilities that are available or unavailable for different scripts.
  • Säily, Tanja; González-Díaz, Victorina; Suomela, Jukka (Routledge, 2018)
    Routledge Advances in Corpus Linguistics