Browsing by Subject "yleinen kielitiede"

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  • Siewert, Janine (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    I min pro gradu-avhandling granskar jag fem regionala skriftsystem för det hittills ostandardiserade västgermanska språket lågsaxiska. De senaste årens utvecklingar, såsom gränsöverskridande kontakt i sociala medier och gränsöverskridande samarbete, har gjort frågan om överregional skriftlig kommunikation aktuell. Därför genomförs undersökningen av skillnaderna i de regionala skriftsystemen och tillhörande dialekterna särskilt ur synpunkten av överregional kommunikation och olika möjligheter för tillnärmning eller förening av skriftsystemen. Jämförelsen bygger på parametrar för att bedöma skriftsystemens optimala egenskaper, med speciell hänsyn till lågsaxiskans situation. Parametrarna omfattar representationens maximalitet och fonemens funktionella belastning, ortografiskt djup och hanteringen av vissa särutvecklingar samt sociala parametrar, såsom målgrupp och användningsändamål, hur identitetsfrågan sammanhänger med grafeminventariet samt frågan om inlärning och överförande av läs- och skrivkunnighet. Som material använder jag fem regionala skriftsystem och deras beskrivningar samt tillhörande dialekters fonemuppsättningar. Två skriftsystem kommer från den nederländska sidan, skriftsystemet för Groningen och Standaard Schriefwieze för Twente, och tre från den tyska sidan, skriftsystemen för Münsterland och Mecklenburg-Vorpommern samt SASS-skriftsystemet. Därav används fyra i gränsregioner, vilket gör dem intressanta ur synvinkeln av gränsöverskridande kommunikation i skrift. Analysen visar att skillnader uppträder i alla delområden som ingick i undersökningen. Majoritetsspråkets ortografi påverkar grafemvalet och allmänna aspekter, såsom markeringssättet för vokallängden och omljud, vilket leder till större skillnader i representationen än vad skiljaktigheterna på fonemnivå skulle förutsätta. Till följd av detta finns det en stor potential för överregional tillnärmning av skriftsystemen, om man skulle komma överens om gemensamma fonem-grafem-korrespondenser. Ett gemensamt skriftsystem för hela språkområdet skulle däremot kräva speciella lösningar för att hantera asymmetrin i dialekternas fonemsystem och andra regionala särutvecklingar.
  • Marttila, Annu (2010)
    Abstract This dissertation is a cross-linguistic study of lexical iconicity. The study is based on a genealogically stratified sample of 237 languages. The aim is to contribute with an empirical study to the growing dialogue focusing on different forms of lexical iconicity. The conceptual framework of the present study is based on an analysis of types and means of lexical iconicity in the sample languages. Archaeological and cultural evidence are used to tie lexical iconicity to its context. Phenomena related to lexical iconicity are studied both cross-linguistically and language-specifically. The cognitive difference between imitation and symbolism is essential. Lexical iconicity is not only about the iconic relationship between form and referents, but also about how certain iconic properties may become conventional, means used to create sound symbolism. All the sample languages show some evidence of lexical iconicity, demonstrating that it is a universal feature. Nine comparisons of onomatopoeic verbs and nouns, with samples varying between six and 141 languages, show that typologically highly different languages use similar means for creating words based on sound imitation. Two cross-linguistic comparisons of bird names demonstrate that a vast majority of the Eurasian names of the common cuckoo and the world-wide names of crow and raven of the 141 genera are onomatopoeic.
  • Wilde, Christopher P. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This dissertation is a synchronic description of the phonology and grammar of two dialects of the Rajbanshi language (Eastern Indo-Aryan) as spoken in Jhapa, Nepal. I have primarily confined the analysis to the oral expression, since the emerging literary form is still in its infancy. The grammatical analysis is therefore based, for the most part, on a corpus of oral narrative text which was recorded and transcribed from three informants from north-east Jhapa. An informant, speaking a dialect from south-west Jhapa cross checked this text corpus and provided additional elicited material. I have described the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language, and also one aspect of its discourse structure. For the most part the phonology follows the basic Indo-Aryan pattern. Derivational morphology, compounding, reduplication, echo formation and onomatopoeic constructions are considered, as well as number, noun classes (their assignment and grammatical function), pronouns, and case and postpositions. In verbal morphology I cover causative stems, the copula, primary and secondary agreement, tense, aspect, mood, auxiliary constructions and non-finite forms. The term secondary agreement here refers to genitive agreement, dative-subject agreement and patient (and sometimes patient-agent) agreement. The breaking of default agreement rules has a range of pragmatic inferences. I argue that a distinction, based on formal, semantic and statistical grounds, should be made between conjunct verbs, derivational compound verbs and quasi-aspectual compound verbs. Rajbanshi has an open set of adjectives, and it additionally makes use of a restricted set of nouns which can function as adjectives. Various particles, and the emphatic and conjunctive clitics are also considered. The syntactic structures studied include: non-declarative speech acts, phrase-internal and clause-internal constituent order, negation, subordination, coordination and valence adjustment. I explain how the future, present and past tenses in Rajbanshi oral narratives do not seem to maintain a time reference, but rather to indicate a distinction between background and foreground information. I call this tense neutralisation .
  • Rueter, Jack (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    This dissertation is a synchronic description of adnominal person in the highly synthetic morphological system of Erzya as attested in extensive Erzya-language written-text corpora consisting of nearly 140 publications with over 4.5 million words and over 285,000 unique lexical items. Insight for this description have been obtained from several source grammars in German, Russian, Erzya, Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian, as well as bounteous discussions in the understanding of the language with native speakers and grammarians 1993 2010. Introductory information includes the discussion of the status of Erzya as a lan- guage, the enumeration of phonemes generally used in the transliteration of texts and an in-depth description of adnominal morphology. The reader is then made aware of typological and Erzya-specifc work in the study of adnominal-type person. Methods of description draw upon the prerequisite information required in the development of a two-level morphological analyzer, as can be obtained in the typological description of allomorphic variation in the target language. Indication of original author or dialect background is considered important in the attestation of linguistic phenomena, such that variation might be plotted for a synchronic description of the language. The phonological description includes the establishment of a 6-vowel, 29-consonant phoneme system for use in the transliteration of annotated texts, i.e. two phonemes more than are generally recognized, and numerous rules governing allophonic variation in the language. Erzya adnominal morphology is demonstrated to have a three-way split in stem types and a three-layer system of non-derivative affixation. The adnominal-affixation layers are broken into (a) declension (the categories of case, number and deictic marking); (b) nominal conjugation (non-verb grammatical and oblique-case items can be conjugated), and (c) clitic marking. Each layer is given statistical detail with regard to concatenability. Finally, individual subsections are dedicated to the matters of: possessive declension compatibility in the distinction of sublexica; genitive and dative-case paradigmatic defectivity in the possessive declension, where it is demonstrated to be parametrically diverse, and secondary declension, a proposed typology modifiers without nouns , as compatible with adnominal person.
  • Sundqvist, Katrin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This master’s thesis treats native speakers’ attitudes to non-native speakers’ spoken vernacular and standard varieties. It examines which theoretical factors researchers have to pay special regard to when studying attitudes to non-native variation. Based on these factors, the thesis evaluates which methods of the language attitude paradigm suit the study of attitudes to non-native speakers’ varieties best. As theoretical background serves the Communication Accommodation Theory in its adapted form for intercultural communication. The thesis draws upon previous findings on relevant factors for the study of native varieties, upon previous findings on relevant factors for the study of non-native language and upon previous findings on the nature of non-native varieties. In order to gain further insights, a case study is conducted. The case study examines native Finnish speakers’ preference of non-native Finnish vernacular and standard varieties. As methods, it employs both a matched- and verbal-guise listening test and a direct question approach. Furthermore, it gathers the respondents’ justifications for their speaker choices in the listening test. The justifications allow an insight into the respondents’ attitudes to the varieties. A non-random sample of 101 native Finnish speaking students from the University of Helsinki is tested. The speaker choices in the listening test are analysed by statistical means (chi-square test). The answers to the direct question and the justifications for the speaker choices are classified into groups of similar answers. The results gained by the listening test and the results gained by the direct question are compared. The findings suggest that the students do not prefer either non-native variety per se. Their variety preference depends on the communication situation. The students do not prefer the same varieties in the case of native and of non-native speakers. While both non-native varieties may sound nice, enthusiastic, self-confident and clear, only vernacular speakers are seen as particularly natural, authentic, relaxed and close to native Finnish speakers. Only standard speakers are associated with professionality in a broad sense, but leave in some cases the impression of sounding foreigner-like or not natural. Differently than in earlier studies on non-native vernaculars, the non-native Finnish vernacular is thus seen as mainly positive. The results of the two different methods do not match. Either or both of them can thus not be fully reliable. This thesis shows that native speakers’ attitudes to non-native varieties are not necessarily the same as to native varieties. Attitudes to non-native varieties have to be studied in their own right, thus. A multitude of factors influences the formation of attitudes to non-native varieties. Non-native and native varieties differ from each other in their form, in the way they are learnt, used and perceived as well as in what they express. Non-native language not as objectively produced by the non-native speakers, but as subjectively perceived by the native interlocutors influences attitudes. Furthermore, attitudes to non-native varieties are likely even more prone to the social desirability bias than attitudes to native varieties. Methods that elicit the respondents’ attitudes directly should thus be avoided. The findings of the Finnish case study indicate that also matched-guise tests may suffer from the social desirability bias because of variety recognition. Furthermore, voice recognition is an increasing problem in the digital age. Most methods of the language attitude paradigm do not study natural language data in real-life communication situations. This thesis reveals the need for more innovative research designs. It suggests therefore several methods that researchers of attitudes to non-native variation may employ in future.
  • Heikkilä, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    My academic dissertation "Bidrag till Fennoskandiens språkliga förhistoria i tid och rum" ("Spatiotemporal Contributions to the Linguistic Prehistory of Fennoscandia") is an interdisciplinary study of the linguistic prehistory of Northern Europe chiefly in the Iron Age (ca. 700 BC―AD 1200), but also to some extent in the Bronze Age (ca. 1700―700 BC) and the Early Finnish Middle Ages (ca. AD 1200―1323). The disciplines represented in this study are Germanistics, Nordistics, Finnougristics, history and archaeology. The language-forms studied are Proto-Germanic, Proto-Scandinavian, Proto-Finnic and Proto-Sami. This dissertation uses historical-comparative linguistics and especially loanword study to examine the relative and absolute chronology of the sound changes that have taken place in the proto-forms of the Germanic, Finnic and Samic languages. Phonetic history is the basis of historical linguistics studying the diachronic development of languages. To my knowledge, this study is the first in the history of the disciplines mentioned above to examine the systematic dating of the phonetic development of these proto-languages in relation to each other. In addition to the dating and relating of the phonetic development of the proto-languages, I study Fennoscandian toponyms. The oldest datable and etymologizable place-names throw new light on the ethnic history and history of settlement of Fennoscandia. For instance, I deal with the etymology of the following place-names: Ahvenanmaa/Åland, Eura(joki), Inari(järvi), Kemi(joki), Kvenland, Kymi(joki), Sarsa, Satakunta, Vanaja, Vantaa and Ähtäri. My dissertation shows that Proto-Germanic, Proto-Scandinavian, Proto-Finnic and Proto-Sami all date to different periods of the Iron Age. I argue that the present study along with my earlier published research also proves that a (West-)Uralic language – the pre-form of the Finnic and Samic languages – was spoken in the region of the present-day Finland in the Bronze Age, but not earlier than that. In the centuries before the Common Era, Proto-Sami was spoken in the whole region of what is now called Finland, excluding Lapland. At the beginning of the Common Era, Proto-Sami was spoken in the whole region of Finland, including Southern Finland, from where the Sami idiom first began to recede. An archaic (Northwest-)Indo-European language and a subsequently extinct Paleo-European language were likely spoken in what is now called Finland and Estonia, when the linguistic ancestors of the Finns and the Sami arrived in the eastern and northern Baltic Sea region from the Volga-Kama region probably at the beginning of the Bronze Age. For example, the names Suomi ʻFinlandʼ and Viro ʻEstoniaʼ are likely to have been borrowed from the Indo-European idiom in question. (Proto-)Germanic waves of influence have come from Scandinavia to Finland since the Bronze Age. A considerable part of the Finnic and Samic vocabulary is indeed Germanic loanwords of different ages which form strata in these languages. Besides mere etymological research, these numerous Germanic loanwords make it possible to relate to each other the temporal development of the language-forms that have been in contact with each other. That is what I have done in my extensive dissertation, which attempts to be both a detailed and a holistic treatise.
  • Uusikoski, Risto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The dissertation examines the concepts of tense. There is not and cannot be one true concept for any linguistic phenomenon as there are no "true", language-independent linguistic phenomena. This means that studies employ concepts that differ from each other. However, the concepts should not differ from each other randomly; the concepts cannot be "right" or "wrong", but they can be more or less appropriate. Yet, it is not enough to just build or use an appropriate concept. It is also important to be explicit on the choices made to prevent further misunderstandings and to make the results of the study easier to understand and to compare; the results are always dependent on the theoretical background, yet the composition of concepts is too often too implicit. The dissertation is metatheoretical in its nature: I examine twelve already existing concepts of tense: I have broken their structure down into individual components, which may have several different values. I have compared this theoretical data with a typological data of 193 tense markers from 62 languages and evaluated how each component value affects the possible data, the analysis and the results of any given study (typological or other). The objectives of the dissertation are to make past and future tense research more comparable, to examine how the choice of concept affects the data, the analysis and the results, to help in building appropriate concepts that best serve the research question and to highlight the importance of making concepts and their component values explicit. The work has been structured in such a way that the central ideas are easy to transfer to the study of other linguistic phenomena as well. The results show that carefully considering the concept is indeed an essential part of any linguistic study: Using different component values as a part of the concept results in different types of data that may be more or less suitable for a given purpose. These effects are individually illustrated with the typological data and the studies used as examples. The results also include a detailed list of components and their values relevant for tense as well as an analysis of their frequency, centrality and canonicity in regard to the concepts of tense. The typological data also serves as a typological study of tense in its own right. This means that in addition to addressing the main objectives the dissertation also provides answers to the questions "what is typically considered as tense in the literature" and "what tense markers are typically like". The dissertation also provides methodology for the systematic analysis of concepts in general.
  • Airola, Anu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This dissertation discusses the relation between lexis, grammar and textual organisation. The major premise adopted here is that grammatical structures are motivated both by semantic potential of words and by text-pragmatic demands. In other words, it is argued that grammatical structures form the interface between lexis and textual organisation, and that linguistic analysis should not concentrate on analysing grammatical structures in isolation, independent of context. From this point of view, grammatical structures are said to be 'well-formed' only in relation to the context they occur in. This study is based on a corpus of three million words of recent Finnish fiction from which all the occurrences of the coordinated verb pairs ([V ja V] -pairs]) containing one of the intransitive motion verbs 'lähteä' (to go), 'mennä' (to go), 'päästä' (to get into), 'nousta' (to get up), and 'laskea' (to go down), were extracted. This set of verbs was established using methods described in earlier work by Lagus & Airola (2001, and 2005). The quantitative analysis of the [V ja V] -pairs was used to carry out a qualitative analysis of individual texts. In analysing the texts, an analogy was made between musical and textual structure. The results show among others that individual verbs specialise in different functions when occurring in coordinated verb pairs. One aspect was that those verb pairs including the verb 'nousta' tend to function as markers of textual boundaries and thus reflect the organisation of narrative substance. The verb 'mennä' has weakened literal meanings, but strengthened modal meanings when occurring in [V ja V] -pairs, and, in many cases, the verb 'lähteä' in [V ja V] -pairs function as an aspectual marker rather than a pure verb of motion. That there is a gradient from the concrete sense of motion into more differentiated senses of a verb in [V ja V] -pairs alongside the structure-creating potential of the [V ja V] -pairs themselves suggest an ongoing grammaticalisation process of the patterns discussed.
  • Hoyer, Karin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Language Documentation and Description as Language Planning Working with Three Signed Minority Languages Sign languages are minority languages that typically have a low status in society. Language planning has traditionally been controlled from outside the sign-language community. Even though signed languages lack a written form, dictionaries have played an important role in language description and as tools in foreign language learning. The background to the present study on sign language documentation and description as language planning is empirical research in three dictionary projects in Finland-Swedish Sign Language, Albanian Sign Language, and Kosovar Sign Language. The study consists of an introductory article and five detailed studies which address language planning from different perspectives. The theoretical basis of the study is sociocultural linguistics. The research methods used were participant observation, interviews, focus group discussions, and document analysis. The primary research questions are the following: (1) What is the role of dictionary and lexicographic work in language planning, in research on undocumented signed language, and in relation to the language community as such? (2) What factors are particular challenges in the documentation of a sign language and should therefore be given special attention during lexicographic work? (3) Is a conventional dictionary a valid tool for describing an undocumented sign language? The results indicate that lexicographic work has a central part to play in language documentation, both as part of basic research on undocumented sign languages and for status planning. Existing dictionary work has contributed new knowledge about the languages and the language communities. The lexicographic work adds to the linguistic advocacy work done by the community itself with the aim of vitalizing the language, empowering the community, receiving governmental recognition for the language, and improving the linguistic (human) rights of the language users. The history of signed languages as low status languages has consequences for language planning and lexicography. One challenge that the study discusses is the relationship between the sign-language community and the hearing sign linguist. In order to make it possible for the community itself to take the lead in a language planning process, raising linguistic awareness within the community is crucial. The results give rise to questions of whether lexicographic work is of more importance for status planning than for corpus planning. A conventional dictionary as a tool for describing an undocumented sign language is criticised. The study discusses differences between signed and spoken/written languages that are challenging for lexicographic presentations. Alternative electronic lexicographic approaches including both lexicon and grammar are also discussed. Keywords: sign language, Finland-Swedish Sign Language, Albanian Sign Language, Kosovar Sign Language, language documentation and description, language planning, lexicography
  • Konstenius , Reetta Alexandra (2014)
    This dissertation is interested in the metatheory and ethics of linguistics. The research questions are concerned with the use of methodological terms and concepts. They study the question of whether the term experiment currently used in linguistics, e.g. experimental syntax and experimental semantics, corresponds to the conventional meaning of the term in methodology and other human sciences. This question is of interest as since the 1990's an increasing amount of studies in linguistics are presented under the term experiment. Experiments also often involve humans and therefore face ethical questions concerning their applications. At the moment, there is little or no actual knowledge about whether experiments in linguistics face the same ethical problems as in, for example, biomedicine. The aim of this study is to 1) discover the philosophy of linguistics as applicable to experiments 2) define the correct use of the term and 3) clarify those concepts with which the ethics of experiments in linguistics can be adequately discussed. This study takes as its starting point the unconventional term loose experiment coined by Itkonen and Pajunen (2010). By analyzing one particular unconventional use of the term experiment, this study seeks to reveal the conceptual background systems through which empirical methods, particularly experiments, are conceptualized in linguistics. The initial hypothesis is that a conflict between differing conceptual systems in the philosophy of linguistics is motivating the terminology. A systematic analysis of empirical and experiment in Itkonen AND Pajunen (2010) reveals how the meaning of the concept of empirical is build up by several conceptual systems. The rejection of both positivism and Chomskyan methodological naturalism leads to methodological dualism. A lack of hermeneutic philosophy seems to leave the qualitative methods in linguistics without conceptual support, resulting in unconventional interpretations of the empirical methods with human participants. These conceptual systems and lack of other concepts motivate the use of terms such as loose experiments. The distinctions between an experiment and qualitative research are lost in the conceptual system that Itkonen AND Pajunen (2010) rely on. It seems like maintaining a positivist, naturalist or methodological dualistic position in linguistics would entail conceptual problems regarding the understanding of experiments in linguistics. This points to a necessity to study further the metatheoretical frameworks for empirical research. Finally, the question of whether or not linguistics should apply conventional methodological terminology is to some extent also an ethical one. To answer ethical questions concerning empirical methods, it is essential to understand the relation the method has to human subjects. The current conventional terminology used in human sciences seems to be more apt to consider and explicate the distinctive relations the scientific technique has to humans than that of Itkonen AND Pajunen (2010), for example. It is also necessary that third parties, such as ethical committees, are able to understand the relation the method has to human participants.
  • Kauppinen, Kirsi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Tutkielman aiheena on kielellisen diversiteetin tutkiminen Etelä-Amerikassa. Tavoitteena on selvittää, miten kielellisiä eroavaisuuksia voidaan mitata, ja miten näitä eroja voidaan selittää. Tarkoituksena on myös kuvata diversiteetin vaihtelua diakronisesti Etelä-Amerikassa ja ehdottaa syitä diversiteetin muutoksille. Yhtäältä tutkielma on siis kvantitatiivinen, mutta toisaalta myös kvalitatiivinen. Tavoitteena on lisäksi vastata seuraaviin kysymyksiin: Missä määrin olemassaolevat sukulaisuussuhteet vaikuttavat kielten välisiin eroihin? Voivatko maantieteelliset ja sosioekonomiset tekijät selittää kielellisiä eroavaisuuksia kielten välillä? Tutkielmassa esitetään myös hypoteesi, jonka mukaan kielten elinympäristö ja kielelliset eroavaisuudet korreloivat keskenään. Tutkielman teoreettisena taustana toimii kielellisen diversiteetin kuvaaminen, sekä analyysi diversiteetin vaihteluista. Teoriaosassa käsitellään yksityiskohtaisesti eri lähestymistapoja, jotka tukevat tutkielman kvantitatiivista ja kvalitatiivista tutkimusta. Nämä lähestymistavat kuvaavat tarkemmin eri keinoja tutkia kielellisiä eroavaisuuksia, ja ne myös laajentavat kielellisten eroavaisuuksien selittämiseen käytettävää teoriaa. Tutkimuksen aineisto koostuu yhdeksästä eteläamerikkalaisesta kielestä, joita puhutaan trooppisilla Andeilla Kolumbian ja Ecuadorin alueella sekä Perun Amazonin alueella. Aineisto koostuu kolmesta isolaattikielestä, ja kuudesta eri kielikunnan kielestä. Analyysi suoritetaan vertailemalla kielien kuutta eri rakenteellista piirrettä käyttäen tilastollista menetelmää, joka mittaa kuinka erilaisia kielet oikeasti ovat. Mittaukset perustuvat etäisyysmatriisiin, jossa rakenteelliset piirteet esitetään numeerisina arvoina. Lopputuloksena on kuvaaja, jossa mitatut eroavaisuudet esitetään kaksiulotteisessa tasossa. Tilastollinen analyysi osoittaa, että kielten eroavaisuuksia voidaan mitata. Tutkielman pohdintaluvussa kuvataan myös syvällisesti, miten maantieteelliset ja sosioekonomiset tekijät voivat selittää kielellisiä eroja. Mitattujen eroavaisuuksien perusteella havaitaan esimerkiksi maantieteellisten sijaintien vaikutus eri kieliin, sillä samalla alueella puhuttavat kielet osoittavat suuria kielellisiä eroja, mikä on selitettävissä kielten elinympäristöjen mahdollistamalla eristyksellä. Lisäksi sosioekonomiset tekijät, kuten kaupungistuminen sekä alkuperäiskansojen sisäryhmäavioliittoisuus, voivat selittää sekä diversiteetin vähenemistä että kielellisten eroavaisuuksien kasvamista. Diversiteetin vaihtelua kuvataan esittämällä myös muita syitä, kuten maanviljelyn kehittyminen ja teollinen vallankumous. Tulosten perusteella voidaan todeta, että kielikuntien viimeiset elossaolevat jäsenet, eli isolaattikielet, osoittavat huomattavia rakenteellisia eroavaisuuksia verrattuina kieliin, joilla on yhä olemassaolevia sukulaisuussuhteita. Tulokset vahvistavat myös hypoteesin, jonka mukaan kielten elinympäristö korreloi kielellisten eroavaisuuksien kanssa. Täten tutkielma tukee käsitystä kielten ja niiden elinympäristön välisestä monimutkaisesta suhteesta.
  • Heinonen, Tarja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study is about lexical variation within idiomatic expressions in Finnish. A representative body of verb phrase idioms is selected and studied empirically against large quantities of data from newspaper corpora and the Internet. It is argued, contrary to the general belief, that lexical variability and structural flexibility are an inherent and essential property of phrasal lexemes. The methodological and theoretical framework of the present study is a combination of corpus-based lexicography and usage-based grammar. Moreover, psycholinguistic evidence on mental representations is considered together with observations from actual data. There are a few general principles that guide variation. First, semantic and conceptual relations between lexical units form the basis for paradigmatic substitution. Second, there are possibly universal constructional patterns according to which expressions of states, processes, causation and possession are interconnected. For instance, an idiom which in its canonical form expresses a state can be modified so that it expresses a process towards that state. The study proposes a grid of event types and links between them to represent and predict such variation. Third, there are partly unspecified schematic idiomatic expressions that require lexical realization. A particularly productive type of a schematic construction is a simile. Similes actually form a network of their own on many levels of specificity. Finally, I will consider cases where two conceptually related co-varying elements occur in a single expression. Throughout this thesis, I describe how variation is handled in dictionaries. Altogether, I recognize four different strategies to represent variation. The thesis ends with a discussion on the roles of synonymy, compositionality and productivity in variation. Ample evidence shows that neither lexical synonymy nor compositionality are preconditions for substitutability as is often assumed. My results also agree with the principle that variation in not fully productive patterns is expected to be semantically constrained.
  • Hallamaa, Panu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This is a report on linguistic fieldwork I have conducted mainly during 1993–1999 in three settings, in Alaska, Finnish Lapland and the Karelian Republic in Russia. The focus of this study is the sociology of language, and the research question has been: in community x with regard to language y, what is the viability of the Native language there. The results are given primarily in the form of “linguistic profiles”, i.e. population pyramids, from which the state of the language can be seen, and secondarily, in the form of “language viability indices”, of which there are two, one with regard to the transmission of the language to new generations, and one which will describe the absolute viability of the language. The study has been conducted in Alaska with regard to Unangam tunuu, better known as the Aleut language (in three communities) in 1994–95, and Sugt’stun, also known as Alutiiq or Pacific Eskimo (in four communities), in 1993–95, in Finland with regard to the Skolt Sámi (three communities, 1996) and Inari Sámi (four communities, 1996–99) languages, with some additions in 2007, with regard to the Inari Sámi language immersion programme in the so-called Kielâpiervâl day care centre, and in 1996–97 in the Karelian Republic with regard to the Veps, the Olonets Karelian and the Central Karelian languages. For the Alaskan villages and for the Če´vetjäu´rr settlement of the Skolt Sámi, several retrospective language situation surveys are also presented. The surveys have been conducted with a method that I have developed on the basis of the methods of the Finnish linguist Pekka Sammallahti and the Russian linguist Nikolaĭ Vakhtin. The method was first used by myself in Alaska, then in Finnish Lapland, and finally it was tested on large populations in Russian Karelia, where during the summers of 1996 and 1997 I applied it to three different geographical locations with regard to a total population of 5660 persons, all of whom were given short interviews by myself. The language viability indices were developed by myself, based on a system that had been worked out by the Alaskan linguist Michael E. Krauss. I gave an exact definition for his viability index, and then I worked out an index for language transmission, which is perhaps the real innovation of this study. Previously, linguists had been asking the question, “how old are the youngest speakers of language x”, but in addition to this, I pose the question, “how old are the youngest people who have transmitted the language on to a new generation”. Having asked this question (i.e. “if you speak the language, have you spoken the native language to your children or have you spoken the majority language to them”), I have been able to extract the language transmission index from my data. On the basis of the language viability indices, I have been able to make projections on the language viability for 2020 for the Alaskan and Sámi communities that I have surveyed. In addition to this the concepts of “language resuscitation”, “bilingual education” and social advocacy are discussed in some detail.
  • Sorjonen, Jenna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Tutkielmani käsittelee Suomessa puhuttavien saamelaiskielten pohjoissaamen, inarinsaamen ja koltansaamen kirjakieliin liittyviä käsityksiä ja näiden merkitystä uhanalaisten saamen kielten elvytykselle. Kirjakielen luomista eli kirjallistamista on pidetty keskeisenä kielen käyttöaloja laajentavana elvytyskeinona, mutta historiallisista syistä johtuen merkittävä osa saamelaisista ei ole oppinut lukemaan ja kirjoittamaan äidinkielellään. Tuoreet viranomaisselvitykset viittaavat siihen, että tämä heikentää myös saamelaisten muiden kielellisten oikeuksien toteutumista.Tässä tutkimuksessa selvitän, millaisia käsityksiä Suomessa puhuttavien saamelaiskielten kirjakieliin liittyy. Pohdin, mitä nämä käsitykset kertovat kirjakielten potentiaalista kielten elinvoimaisuuden vahvistamisessa, ja millaisilla kirjakieliä kehittävillä toimenpiteillä tätä potentiaalia voitaisiin lisätä. Tutkimusotteeni kysymysten selvittämisessä on empiirinen ja monimetodinen, ja tutkimuskysymysteni ohella pohdin työssäni sosiolingvistisen tutkimuksen metodologiaa. Tutkimus sijoittuu kirjoitusjärjestelmien sosiolingvistiikan alalle. Ilmiön käsittelyssä hyödynnän kielen elvytyksen, kirjallistamisen ja standardisoinnin tutkimuksen käsitteistöä. Kielen elvytyksen tarkastelussa viitekehyksenä korostuu kieliekologinen lähestymistapaa, jossa kielen elinvoimaisuutta tarkastellaan erilaisten käyttöalojen muodostamassa ekologiassa. Keskeisenä teoreettisena viitekehyksenäni toimivat kieli-ideologioiden ja kielen normien käsitteet, joiden kautta tarkastelen kirjoittamista sosiaalisena toimintana ja kirjoitusjärjestelmiä historiallisesti ja kulttuurisesti määräytyneinä sosiaalisina normeina. Tutkielman aineisto koostuu tätä tutkimusta varten keräämästäni 61 vastaajan kyselyaineistosta sekä 15 haastattelusta. Tutkimuksen osallistujat ovat pohjoissaamea, inarinsaamea tai kolttaa osaavia, käyttäviä tai kieleen samastuvia aikuisia. Analyysini pääpaino on haastattelujen ja laadullisen kyselyaineiston sisällönanalyysissä, jonka avulla tunnistan aineistosta kirjalliseen kieleen liittyviä käsityksiä. Lisäksi analysoin numeerista kyselyaineistoa kuvailevan kvantitatiivisen analyysin keinoin, jonka avulla esitän tuloksia vastaajien mielipiteiden jakautumisesta. Tulokseni edustavat uutta tietoa Suomen saamelaiskielten kirjallistumisen nykytilasta aikuisten kielenkäyttäjien kielikäsitysten näkökulmasta tarkasteltuna. Kirjakieleen liittyvät käsitykset ovat yleisellä tasolla positiivisia, mikä ei kuitenkaan vaikuta heijastuvan kielen kirjalliseen käyttöön. Kirjakieltä merkityksellistetään aineistossa kolmella tavalla: kielellisenä kompetenssina, viestien välittämisen välineenä sekä puhutun kielen ja kielenpuhujien representaationa. Kuhunkin käsitykseen kirjallisen kielen luonteesta kytkeytyy omanlaisiaan normeja ja arvioita siitä, millaiset tekijät näyttäytyvät kirjallisen kielen käytön kynnyksenä. Haasteina näyttäytyvät erityisesti kirjoitusjärjestelmän oppiminen, erikoismerkkien tuottaminen sekä kirjallisen standardin hyväksyntä kieliyhteisössä. Analyysin valossa kirjakielten vahvistamiseksi on kiinnitettävä erityistä huomiota kielenopetukseen, kirjoittamista tukeviin kieliteknologisiin ratkaisuihin sekä murrevariaation huomiointiin kirjallisen standardin kehittämisessä. Kieliekologinen lähestymistapa kielisuunnitteluun vaikuttaa tukevan näitä tavoitteita. Tutkimus tukee aiempaa teoreettista ymmärrystä kielikäsityksistä kirjallistumisen onnistumista määrittävänä tekijänä ja osoittaa, että erityisesti kielen normit ovat prosessien keskiössä. Tulokseni myös vahvistavat käsitystä kirjallistumisesta sekä kieleen että kielenpuhujiin vaikuttavana ilmiönä.
  • Sinnemäki, Kaius (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    In this dissertation I study language complexity from a typological perspective. Since the structuralist era, it has been assumed that local complexity differences in languages are balanced out in cross-linguistic comparisons and that complexity is not affected by the geopolitical or sociocultural aspects of the speech community. However, these assumptions have seldom been studied systematically from a typological point of view. My objective is to define complexity so that it is possible to compare it across languages and to approach its variation with the methods of quantitative typology. My main empirical research questions are: i) does language complexity vary in any systematic way in local domains, and ii) can language complexity be affected by the geographical or social environment? These questions are studied in three articles, whose findings are summarized in the introduction to the dissertation. In order to enable cross-language comparison, I measure complexity as the description length of the regularities in an entity; I separate it from difficulty, focus on local instead of global complexity, and break it up into different types. This approach helps avoid the problems that plagued earlier metrics of language complexity. My approach to grammar is functional-typological in nature, and the theoretical framework is basic linguistic theory. I delimit the empirical research functionally to the marking of core arguments (the basic participants in the sentence). I assess the distributions of complexity in this domain with multifactorial statistical methods and use different sampling strategies, implementing, for instance, the Greenbergian view of universals as diachronic laws of type preference. My data come from large and balanced samples (up to approximately 850 languages), drawn mainly from reference grammars. The results suggest that various significant trends occur in the marking of core arguments in regard to complexity and that complexity in this domain correlates with population size. These results provide evidence that linguistic patterns interact among themselves in terms of complexity, that language structure adapts to the social environment, and that there may be cognitive mechanisms that limit complexity locally. My approach to complexity and language universals can therefore be successfully applied to empirical data and may serve as a model for further research in these areas.
  • Berghäll, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    This dissertation provides a synchronic grammatical description of Mauwake, a Papuan (Trans-New Guinea) language of about 2000 speakers on the North Coast of the Madang Province in Papua New Guinea. The theoretical background is that of Basic Linguistic Theory (BLT), used extensively in analysing and writing descriptive grammars. The chapters from morphology to clause level are described from form to function; in the later chapters the function is taken more often as the starting point. Any theory-specific terminology is kept to the minimum and formalisms have been avoided in accordance with BLT principles. Mauwake has a classic 5-vowel system and 14 consonant phonemes. With its simple phonology it is a typical representative of the Madang North Coast languages. For a Papuan language there are relatively few morphophonological alternations. Nouns are either alienably or inalienably possessed. There is no obligatory number marking in nouns or noun phrases. Pronouns have several different forms: five for case and three for other functions. The dative pronouns are treated as [+human] locatives, and they have also grammaticalised as possessives. The verbal morphology is agglutinative and mainly suffixal. Unusual features include two distributive suffixes, and the interaction of the derivational benefactive and the inflectional beneficiary suffixes. The applicative suffix has either transitivising or causative but not benefactive function. The switch-reference system distinguishes between simultaneous and sequential action, as well as same or different subject in relation to the following clause. There are several verbs denoting coming and going, and they may combine with one of three prefixes to indicate bringing and taking. Mauwake is a nominative-accusative type language, and the basic constituent order in a clause is SOV. Subject and object are the only syntactic arguments. There is no indirect object, but a clause can have two or even three objects. A nominalised clause with a finite verb functions as a relative clause or a complement clause; one with a nominalised verb has several different functions. Functional domains described include modality, negation, deixis, quantification, possession and comparison. As there are four negators, Mauwake has more variation in negative expressions than is usual in Papuan languages. Clause chaining is the preferred strategy for joining clauses into sentences, but coordination and subordination of finite clauses are also common. The form of a complement clause depends on whether it is of the fact, action or potential type. Tail-head linkage is used as a cohesive device between sentences. The discourse-level features described are topic and focus.
  • Kauhanen, Irina; Linden, Krister (Helsingin yliopisto, yleisen kielitieteen laitos, 2007)
    Opintomonisteet / Yleisen kielitieteen laitos. Helsingin yliopisto
  • Sorila, Susanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Tutkielman tavoitteena on vertailla luoteisen Papua-Uuden-Guinean papualaisia kieliä. Papualaiset kielet on yleisnimitys Uuden-Guinean alueen niistä kielistä, joita ei ole konklusiivisesti luokiteltu Austronesialaisiksi kieliksi. Tämän tutkielman tutkimuksellinen viitekehys on mikrotypologinen, koska tutkimuskohteena on pieni, rajattu, korkean kielellisen diversiteetin omaava alue. Typologinen näkökulma on teoriaviitekehyksen kulmakiviä, sillä typologisten piirteiden vertailua pidetään uusiguinealaista kielikontekstia kuvaavissa aineistoissa alueen kielellisen kompleksisuuden valossa soveltuvimpana vertailumetodologiana. Alueen kielellinen kompleksisuus johtuu esimerkiksi kieliyhteisöjen monimutkaisista vuorovaikutus- ja kielikontaktiverkostoista, monikielisyydestä, kieliyhteisöjen pienestä koosta sekä eri kieliperheiden korkeasta lukumäärästä. Tutkielmassa vertaillaan kymmenen kielen kymmentä eri piirrettä. Valitut kielet sijaitsevat samalla pienellä alueella Papua-Uuden-Guinean luoteisosassa. Kukin kieli edustaa eri kieliperhettä ja kaksi kielistä on isolaatteja. Kieliyhteisöt ovat pieniä. Tutkielman parametreiksi valitut piirteet, sekä muu tarvittava aineisto koostuu WALS-tietokannan piirreluetteloista, lukuisista eri kielikohtaisista kieliopeista, uusiguinealaisiin kieliin ja lingvistiikkaan erikoistuneista teoksista sekä muista aineistoista, kuten esimerkiksi kielten konsonanttikartoista. Tutkimuksessa kielten kootut piirteet esitetään taulukoituna siten, että (+) esittää piirteen kyllä-arvoa ja (-) piirteen ei-arvoa. Kussakin taulukossa luetellaan kielet ja niiden piirrekohtaiset (+) tai (-) arvot. Tuloksia analysoidaan ensin piirrekohtaisesti, eli minkä verran kielten välillä näkyy samankaltaisuutta ja minkä verran erilaisuutta. Taipumuksia tiettyihin piirretyyppeihin kielten välillä verrataan myös niihin piirteisiin, joita pidetään tyypillisinä papualaisille kielille. Tutkielman tavoitteena on siis tutkia ja havainnollistaa valittujen papualaisten kielten samankaltaisuutta ja erilaisuutta konkreettisin keinoin, sekä tarkastella, missä piirteissä samankaltaisuus ja erilaisuus näkyvät selvimmin. Tutkielmassa arvioidaan piirretyyppien papualaisuusastetta, eli kuinka monet kielistä osoittavat typologisesti papualaisille kielille tyypillistä piirteistöä. Tulokset osoittavat valitun alueen kielissä typologista monipuolisuutta, eli papualaisille kielille tyypillinen piirteistö ei ole yhdenmukaisesti edustettuna. Tutkimuksen lopputulemana todetaan, että papualaisten kielten typologinen yhdenmukaisuus ei näin ollen ole todennäköistä myöskään laajemmassa kontekstissa.
  • Posio, Pekka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The expression of pronominal subjects by independent subject pronouns is considered optional in both Peninsular Spanish (PS) and European Portuguese (EP). The present dissertation examines and compares the factors affecting the expression vs. omission of subject pronouns in these two languages. The goals are to provide and compare empirical data from PS and EP, to present a theoretical account of the findings and to deepen the understanding of factors affecting subject pronoun use in languages with variable subject expression. The theoretical framework is cognitive-functional, usage-based linguistics. The four articles of the dissertation examine data from different speech corpora. The methodology combines qualitative examination with quantitative frequency analyses. EP is shown to have a significantly higher general rate of expressed subjects than PS. In the first person singular, verb semantics affect subject expression in both languages: agentive verbs have a lower rate of expressed subjects while stative verbs have a higher rate. This tendency is connected with the focusing of attention on either the subject referent or on other participants in the event. In addition to this general tendency, subject expression in connection to the most frequently occurring verb tokens (i.e. I think , I say , I know ) deviates from the general pattern, causing differences between PS and EP. With frequently occurring verb tokens, subject expression has become formulaic, i.e. fixed as a part of the construction where it occurs. While semantics and frequency effects affect subject expression in the first person singular, the first person plural differs between PS and EP in that in PS subject expression is rare and typically restricted to hearer-exclusive reference. In EP, subject expression is found with hearer-inclusive, hearer-exclusive and impersonal reading. In all grammatical persons, the postverbal placement of subject pronouns is shown to serve both contrasting and backgrounding functions. In EP the postverbal placement is mostly restricted to certain non-productive, formulaic sequences. The study contributes to the discussion of variable subject expression in a wider typological and theoretical context. Previously null subject languages have been assumed to form a relatively homogeneous group where subject omission is the norm and expression is reserved for e.g. contrast and emphasis. It is shown that while the factors affecting subject expression may be similar, even closely related languages differ with regard to subject expression rates and subject expression in formulaic constructions.
  • Virtanen, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Tutkielmassa tarkastellaan ja vertaillaan kahden vähemmistökielenä puhutun kelttikielen ‒ iirin ja kymrin ‒ elvytysprosessia Irlannin tasavallassa ja Walesissa. Molemmat kielet ovat olleet enemmistön puhumia kieliä omalla maantieteellisellä alueellaan, mutta ovat marginalisoituneet vuosisatojen saatossa englannin kielen valta-aseman seurauksena. Samankaltaisesta menneisyydestä huolimatta kielistä puhutaan hyvin eri tavalla sekä tutkimuskirjallisuudessa että julkisessa keskustelussa. Iirin tilannetta pidetään yleisesti esimerkkinä epäonnistuneesta kielipolitiikasta ja kielenelvytyksestä, kun taas kymristä puhutaan usein esimerkkinä uhanalaisen kielen onnistuneesta säilyttämisestä. Nämä näkemykset ovat tämän vertailevan tutkielman lähtökohtana, sillä sen perimmäisenä tarkoituksena on selvittää, mistä tämä ero johtuu. Tutkielma kuuluu kielen sosiologian alaan ja menetelmän osalta tutkimus on kirjallisuuskatsaus. Teoriaosassa esitellään keskeisiä uhanalaisiin kieliin, niiden elvytykseen sekä kielipolitiikkaan liittyviä käsitteitä. Tutkimuskirjallisuuteen kuuluu useita kielten historiaa ja niiden aseman kehitystä käsitteleviä teoksia ja tutkimusartikkeleja sekä maiden virallisia kielipoliittisia asiakirjoja. Tutkielmassa tarkastellaan ja vertaillaan siis kielten aseman kehitystä menneisyydessä kielen eri käyttöalueilla sekä luodaan yleiskatsaus kielten tämänhetkiseen tilaan. Tässä sovelletaan Unescon uhanalaisiin kieliin keskittyneen työryhmän kehittämää kielten elinvoimaisuuden arvioimiseen tarkoitettua viitekehystä. Englannin asemaa vahvistavien kielilakien lisäksi useat yhteiskunnalliset ilmiöt, kuten teollistuminen ja kaupungistuminen ovat menneisyydessä vaikuttaneet kielten marginalisoitumiseen ja toisaalta jotkin ilmiöt, kuten kymrin kielen käyttö uskonnollisissa yhteyksissä, ovat edesauttaneet kielten säilymistä. Varsinaisena poliittisena teemana kielenelvytys kehittyi hieman eri tavalla Irlannissa ja Walesissa. Iiri julistettiin heti valtion itsenäistyessä viralliseksi kansalliskieleksi ja itsenäistymisestä lähtien harjoitettu niin sanottu ylhäältä alas suuntautuva kielenelvytys on todennäköisesti vaikuttanut kielen elvytyksen onnistumiseen negatiivisesti. Kymrin kielen elvytys ja kielen puhujien kielellisistä oikeuksista taisteleminen olivat 1900-luvun loppuun asti pitkälti kieliaktivistien vastuulla. Walesissa kielen elvytys prosessina on siis suuntautunut alhaalta ylös toisin kuin Irlannissa. Nämä seikat osittain selittävät, miksi kielistä puhutaan niin eri tavalla. Kampanjoidessaan kielen puolesta ruohonjuuritason toimijat pitävät huolen siitä, että kieli pysyy puheenaiheena yhteiskunnallisessa keskustelussa, minkä myötä yleinen tietoisuus kielestä ja sen merkityksestä kasvaa ja kiinnostus sitä kohtaan lisääntyy. Nykyisin molemmat kielet on maiden lainsäädännössä määritelty virallisiksi kansalliskieliksi ja maiden kielipolitiikka tähtää ennen kaikkea kielten puhujamäärien kasvattamiseen ja yhteiskunnan kaksikielistymiseen.