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  • 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
  • Jauhiainen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This dissertation is a study of the forms and functions of feasts and feasting in the ancient Egyptian village of Deir el-Medina in Thebes (modern Luxor). This particular village, during the New Kingdom (c. 1550 1069 BC), was inhabited by the men (and their families) who constructed the Royal Tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The royal artisans were probably more literate than the average Egyptians and the numerous Ramesside Period (c. 1295 1069 BC) non-literary texts found in the excavations of the village and its surroundings form the source material for this study. In this study, the methods used are mainly Egyptological and the references to feasts and feasting are considered in view of what is known of New Kingdom Egypt, Thebes, and Deir el-Medina. Nevertheless, it is the use of the methodological concept local vernacular religion that has resulted in the division of the research findings into two sections, i.e., references to feasts celebrated both in and outside the community and other references to feasts and feasting in the village. When considering the function of the feasts celebrated at Deir el-Medina, a functional approach to feasts introduced by anthropologists and archaeologists is utilized. The Deir el-Medina feasts which were associated with the official religion form a festival calendar of feasts celebrated annually on the same civil calendar day. The reconstructed festival calendar of Deir el-Medina reflects the feasts celebrated around Thebes or, at least, in Western Thebes. The function of the nationally and regionally observed feasts (which, at least at Deir el-Medina, resulted in a work-free day) may have been to keep people content so that they would continue to work which was to the advantage of the king and the elite surrounding him. Local feasts appear to have been observed more irregularly at Deir el-Medina or perhaps according to the lunar calendar. Feasts celebrated by the community as a whole served to maintain the unity of the group. In addition to feasts celebrated by the entire community, the inhabitants of Deir el-Medina could mark their own personal feasts and organize small gatherings during public feasts. Through such feasts, an individual man might form alliances and advance his chances of a favourable marriage or of acquiring a position on the work crew.
  • Söderling, Trygve (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The objective of my dissertation Pull (or Draught, or Moves) at the Parnassus , is to provide a deeper understanding of Nordic Middle Class radicalism of the 1960 s as featured in Finland-Swedish literature. My approach is cultural materialist in a broad sense; social class is regarded a crucial aspect of the contents and contexts of the novels and literary discussions explored. In the first volume, Middle Class With A Human Face , novels by Christer Kihlman, Jarl Sjöblom, Marianne Alopaeus, and Ulla-Lena Lundberg, respectively, are read from the points of view of place, emotion, and power. The term "cryptotope" is used to designate the hidden places found to play an important role in all of these four narratives. Also, the "chronotope of the provincial small town", described by Mikhail Bakhtin in 1938, is exemplified in Kihlman s satirical novel, as is the chronotope of of war (Algeria, Vietnam) in those of Alopaeus and Lundberg s. All the four novels signal changes in the way general "scripts of emotions", e.g. jealousy, are handled and described. The power relations in the novels are also read, with reference to Michel Foucault. As the protagonists in two of them work as journalists, a critical discussion about media and Bourgeois hegemony is found; the term "repressive legitimation" is created to grasp these patterns of manipulation. The Modernist Debate , part II of the study, concerns a literary discussion between mainly Finland-Swedish authors and critics. Essayist Johannes Salminen (40) provided much of the fuel for the debate in 1963, questioning the relevance to contemporary life of the Finland-Swedish modernist tradition of the 1910 s and 1920 s. In 1965, a group of younger authors and critics, including poet Claes Andersson (28), followed up this critique in a debate taking place mainly in the newspaper Vasabladet. Poets Rabbe Enckell (62), Bo Carpelan (39) and others defended a timeless poetry. This debate is contextualized and the changing literary field is analyzed using concepts provided by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. In the thesis, the historical moment of Middle Class radicalism with a human face is regarded a temporary luxury that new social groups could afford themselves, as long as they were knocking over the statues and symbols of the Old Bourgeoisie. This is not to say that all components of the Sixties strategy have lost their power. Some of them have survived and even grown, others remain latent in the gene bank of utopias, waiting for new moments of change.
  • Palmujoki, Katri (Uusfilologinen yhdistys, 2015)
    Kyseessä on Mallorcalla vuonna 1541 painetun ensimmäisen espanjankielisen lapsenpäästöopin ja lastenhoiden käsikirjan editio ja kommentaari. Varsinaisen tekstiedition ohella, jossa on selvitetty tekstiin liittyviä epäselviä ja vaikeasti ymmärrettäviä kohtia, on laadittu laaja kommentaari, jossa analysoidaan kirjan tekijän Damián Carbónin kieltä kaikilla sen osa-alueilla: fonologia ja grafiat, morfosyntaksi ja leksikko. 1500-luvun ensimmäinen puolisko oli espanjan kielen kehityksen kannalta murrosaikaa, jona uudet ja vanhan kielen rakenteet elivät rinnakkain, toisten jäädessä sivuun ja toisten vakiintuessa. Päämääränä on ollut luonnehtia Carbónin kieltä tämän myllerrysten kauden puitteissa, sekä sijoittaa se sille kuuluvalle paikalle espanjan kielen periodisaatiossa. Katalaaninkielisellä Mallorcan saarella espanja oli jo vakiintunut yläluokan kieleksi; Carbónin tekstistä on havaittavissa suhteellisen vähän katalaanin vaikutusta. Tutkimuksen aluksi heräsi kysymys siitä, keille kirja oli tarkoitettu. Sen oli alunperin tilannut nimeltä mainitsematon mallorcalainen arvohenkilö, jonka vaimolla oli ollut useita keskenmenoja. Ottaen huomioon naisten alhainen lukutaitoprosentti ja se seikka, että tavallinen kansa ei vielä 1500-luvulla puhunut espanjaa, että kirja on pikemminkin osoitettu välskäreille ja että se on samalla ollut sivistyneelle yleisölle ja yläluokalle suunnattu teos.
  • Mäkinen, Helka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Liikanen, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The role of literature in the construction of cultural memory: three modes of representing the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship in recent Spanish novels This dissertation focuses on representations of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship in Spanish novels written by third-generation authors (born between 1960 and 1975) and published between 1997 and 2008, during the so-called memory boom . I argue that these novels function as media of cultural memory in Spanish memory culture by producing, shaping and disseminating images, versions and interpretations of Spain s violent past. According to Astrid Erll, certain combinations of formal features constitute different modes of representation within the medium of literature, which in turn may elicit different modes of cultural remembering among readers. Based on the narratological analysis of ten novels, I propose in this study that there are three main modes of representing the past in third-generation Spanish novels on the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. I call these modes the experiential mode, the reconstructive mode and the dissenting mode. The experiential mode represents the past as a lived-through experience. Rather than examining the process of remembering and narrating the past in the present, experiential novels create the illusion of direct access to the past and the protagonists minds so that the reader can share in the subjective experience of the narrated events. In this way, the novels turn the reader into a vicarious witness to the past. The main function of the experiential mode is to promote empathy and understanding towards certain individuals or groups in the past. The reconstructive mode focuses on the process of investigation and reconstruction of past events led by a narrator-character set in the present day. The novels examine the intergenerational transmission of memories and emphasise the meaning of the past as a source of personal and collective identity in the present. Even if the novels represent the past as a subjective reconstruction and often employ metafictional and auto-fictional techniques to explore the limits of art and reality, history and fiction, they still end up presenting one version of the past as the true one. By depicting the narrator-character s search for historical truth and personal and cultural self-understanding, the reconstructive mode tries to convince the reader of the importance of knowing the past in order to understand the present. The dissenting mode does not offer the reader a supposedly true story of the past, but examines instead the role of literature in the production of knowledge about the past. Dissenting novels are highly self-reflexive texts that reject verisimilitude and disrupt the illusion of reality in order to problematize both prevailing practices of representation and dominant interpretation of the past. The dissenting mode encourages readers to adopt a more critical stance towards the representations of the past that circulate in society by revealing how literature affects our understanding of the past through narrative forms and the stories it tells.
  • Koivisto, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Pirkko Saisio's trilogy Pienin yhteinen jaettava (The Smallest Shared Dividend, 1998), Vastavalo (Against the Light, 2000), and Punainen erokirja (The Red Book of Separation, 2003), depicts the development of a masculine girl who at the end of the trilogy comes out as a homosexual women, a mother, and a writer. The main character is named Pirkko Saisio, and many of the events are picked from Saisio's real life. Nevertheless, the author wants the trilogy to be read as a novel, not a memoir. The present study analyses the generic elements of Saisio s trilogy and contextualizes the narrative identity that Saisio is creating in her fiction. Following Alastair Fowler s theory of genres as types without strict borders and a tendency to hybridity, the trilogy is linked to several genres. Serge Doubrovsky s genre concept of autofiction is the basis for the analysis: it explains the trilogy s borderline identity between autobiography and novel, and designates the main elements that render Saisio s autobiographical narrative into fiction. Both Doubrovsky and Saisio emphasize the role of the unconscious in writing, and at the same time stress the importance of a skilled composition. As well as autofiction, the trilogy is analyzed as a Bildungsroman, a confession and conversion narrative, a coming-out -narrative and a portrait-of-the-artist novel. Each genre is illuminated by its paradigmatic work: Wilhelm Meister s Apprenticeship by Goethe, The Confessions by St. Augustine, and The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall. The parallelisms between Saisio s trilogy and the typical plots of the genres and thematics of the classics show how the tradition works in Saisio s text. The thematic parallelisms highlight Saisio s concern for the conflicts that occur between an individual and the surrounding society, while the similarities in plots question the autobiographicality of Saisio s narrative but also clarify how Saisio refines the traditional genres. Read in the light of Saisio s trilogy, the classics are shown to have their gender-transgressive elements that the non-normative reader can identify with. Saisio s text also challenges universalizing claims about genre and gender. As a narrative of identity it follows the example of 1970s essentialistic coming-out stories, but at the same time depicts the notion of identity in a manner that manifests postmodern ideas about identity as multiple and ever-transforming. Keywords: autobiographicality, autofiction, identity narrative, genre research, Bildungsroman, conversion narrative, confession, coming-out story, a portrait-of-an-artist novel
  • Strandberg, Lotta (2011)
    This thesis treats Githa Hariharan s first three novels The Thousand Faces of Night (1992), The Ghosts of Vasu Master (1994) and When Dreams Travel (1999) as a trilogy, in which Hariharan studies the effects of storytelling from different perspectives. The thesis examines the relationship between embedded storytelling and the primary narrative level, the impact of character-bound storytelling on personal development and interpersonal relationships. Thus, I assume that an analysis of the instabilities between characters, and tensions between sets of values introduced through storytelling displays the development of the central characters in the novels. My focus is on the tensions between different sets of values and knowledge systems and their impact on the gender negotiations. The tensions are articulated through a resistance and/or adherence to a cultural narrative, that is, a formula, which underlies specific narratives. Conveyed or disputed by embedded storytelling, the cultural narrative circumscribes what it means to be gendered in Hariharan s novels. The analysis centres on how the narratee in The Thousand Faces of Night and the storyteller in The Ghosts of Vasu Master relate to and are affected by the storytelling, and how they perceive their gendered positions. The analysis of the third novel When Dreams Travel focuses on storytelling, and its relationship to power and representation. I argue that Hariharan's use of embedded storytelling is a way to renegotiate and even reconceptualise gender. Hariharan s primary concern in all three novels is the tensions between tradition or repetition, and change, and how they affect gender. Although the novels feature ancient mythical heroes, mice and flies, or are set in a fantasy world of jinnis and ghouls, they are, I argue, deeply concerned with contemporary issues. Whereas the first novel questions the demands set by family and society on the individual, the second strives to articulate an ethical relationship between the self and the other. The third novel examines the relationship between representation and power. These issues could not be more contemporary, and they loom large over both the regional and global arenas.
  • Frick, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study investigates codeswitching by Finns who live in Estonia. It draws from spoken and written interactional data where mainly Finnish is used, but where the participants also employ their Estonian resources. The articles in the study focus on a selection of grammatical and discourse-related phenomena, namely the formation of compound nouns, codeswitching in reported speech, conversational sequence closings, and the functions of codeswitching in social media. The introductory article provides a general overview of codeswitching in the data: patterns of forming bilingual constructions, their emergence in the flow of conversation and their consequences in interaction. The theoretical framework of the study comes from the field of interactional linguistics. The data consist of ca. 900 cases of Finnish-Estonian codeswitching in audio- and videorecorded conversations, email messages, and writings in social media, which were all collected in 2002-2012 from Finns who had lived in Estonia for up to 17 years at the time of recording. An internet-based survey and the researcher s field notes gave additional sociolinguistic background data. The data show that Estonian lexical forms and meanings are employed in Finnish contexts, that the case assignment of phrasal and clausal constructions may be mixed, and that the speakers sometimes use Estonian-like word order. Two shapes are described that often attract codeswitching in one- or multi-word constructions. The first one (named ravioli in the study) are bilingual homophones whose form is similar, although not necessarily identical, in the two languages, but whose meaning differs. These constructions attract semantic borrowing so that they are used in their Finnish form but Estonian meaning. The second shape (named farfalle) are bipartite constructions such as noun-noun compounds, existential and subject complement clauses and voicing constructions, where one of the parts specifies, modifies, characterises or demonstrates that which is identified in the other part. In them, the switch happens in between the parts, typically so that the part doing specification, characterisation, modification or demonstration is in Estonian. Interactional linguists understand grammar to be emergent in interaction, for the needs of the on-going situation. This view is supported by findings of sequentially motivated codeswitching in the data. Codeswitching is a heteroglossic device that speakers use for indirect evaluation, social indexing, and distancing themselves from what is said. Codeswitching is also used for tying utterances to previous ones, and for the modification of an utterance that is repeated. Usually codeswitching helps further the participants interactional projects, but in some cases it becomes an obstacle that results in side sequences and disalignment, disaffiliation or even teasing.
  • Vanhanen, Janne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    My thesis concerns the notion of existence as an encounter, as developed in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (1925 1995). What this denotes is a critical stance towards a major current in Western philosophical tradition which Deleuze nominates as representational thinking. Such thinking strives to provide a stable ground for identities by appealing to transcendent structures behind the apparent reality and explaining the manifest diversity of the given by such notions as essence, idea, God, or totality of the world. In contrast to this, Deleuze states that abstractions such as these do not explain anything, but rather that they need to be explained. Yet, Deleuze does not appeal merely to the given. He sees that one must posit a genetic element that accounts for experience, and this element must not be naïvely traced from the empirical. Deleuze nominates his philosophy as transcendental empiricism and he seeks to bring together the approaches of both empiricism and transcendental philosophy. In chapter one I look into the motivations of Deleuze s transcendental empiricism and analyse it as an encounter between Deleuze s readings of David Hume and Immanuel Kant. This encounter regards, first of all, the question of subjectivity and results in a conception of identity as non-essential process. A pre-given concept of identity does not explain the nature of things, but the concept itself must be explained. From this point of view, the process of individualisation must become the central concern. In chapter two I discuss Deleuze s concept of the affect as the basis of identity and his affiliation with the theories of Gilbert Simondon and Jakob von Uexküll. From this basis develops a morphogenetic theory of individuation-as-process. In analysing such a process of individuation, the modal category of the virtual becomes of great value, being an open, indeterminate charge of potentiality. As the virtual concerns becoming or the continuous process of actualisation, then time, rather than space, will be the privileged field of consideration. Chapter three is devoted to the discussion of the temporal aspect of the virtual and difference-without-identity. The essentially temporal process of subjectification results in a conception of the subject as composition: an assemblage of heterogeneous elements. Therefore art and aesthetic experience is valued by Deleuze because they disclose the construct-like nature of subjectivity in the sensations they produce. Through the domain of the aesthetic the subject is immersed in the network of affectivity that is the material diversity of the world. Chapter four addresses a phenomenon displaying this diversified indentity: the simulacrum an identity that is not grounded in an essence. Developed on the basis of the simulacrum, a theory of identity as assemblage emerges in chapter five. As the problematic of simulacra concerns perhaps foremost the artistic presentation, I shall look into the identity of a work of art as assemblage. To take an example of a concrete artistic practice and to remain within the problematic of the simulacrum, I shall finally address the question of reproduction particularly in the case recorded music and its identity regarding the work of art. In conclusion, I propose that by overturning its initial representational schema, phonographic music addresses its own medium and turns it into an inscription of difference, exposing the listener to an encounter with the virtual.
  • Rautelin, Mona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The study analyses the prevention or endorsing of the crime of infanticide in Finland 1702 1807, rather than the result. Also the impacts of the female body, biology of childbirth and experiences of pregnancy are examined, together with insights from modern medical research. Circumstances are reconstructed by a critical reading of judicial records on all levels of the judicial system. In all 269 cases of infanticide and 142 accessory crimes within the jurisdiction of the Turku court of appeal are studied, with particular focus on exceptionally well recorded cases of 83 accused women and 41 women and men accused of being party to the crime. Secondary sources are medical and jurisprudential writings, the public debate on infanticide, broadsheets and letters asking the King for pardon. Infanticide was considered murder by law. Unmarried women were predetermined as the main culprits. Nevertheless, deliberate infanticides were rare and committed mostly in accomplice. The majority of the infanticides studied were cases where inexperienced and unmarried women accidentally had given birth alone and usually to a dead child. Unaware that the pain they were experiencing was in fact a labour, the accused women instinctively sought solitude to push out the child. Some misunderstood the birth as an urgent need to defecate. The unexpected delivery ended in hiding the baby without remorse. This crime was promoted by several factors in Finnish rural culture, amongst others that also married women hid their pregnancy. The immediate household members did not necessarily know about the childbirth and failed to help the woman. This typical pattern in most cases of infanticide in 18th century Finland is also recorded in modern cases of unknown pregnancies. Fear of accountability prevented witnesses testifying to the actual course of events. The truth remained elusive. With only a few exceptions, the women were sentenced to death or imprisonment. The majority of those accused of accomplice were acquitted. However, too harsh sentences for accidents affected the reporting of the crime. Criminal politics failed to curtail infanticide as the crime was unsatisfactorily addressed by law, society and the judicial system.
  • Hekkanen, Raila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    This doctoral thesis focuses on the translation of Finnish prose literature into English in the United Kingdom between 1945 and 2003. The subject is approached using translation archaeology, interviews, archival material, detailed text analysis and reception material. The main theoretical framework is Descriptive Translation Studies, and certain sociological theories (Bourdieu s field theory, actor-network theory) are also used. After charting the published translations, two periods of time are selected for closer analysis: an earlier period from 1955 to 1959, involving eight translations, and a later one from 1990 to 2003, with a total of six translations. While these translation numbers may appear low, they are actually rather high in proportion to the total number of 28 one-author literary prose translations published in the UK over the approximately 60 years being studied. The two periods of time, the 1950s and 1990s, are compared in terms of the sociological context of translation activity, the reception of translations and their textual features. The comparisons show that the main changes in translation practice between these two periods are increased completeness (translations in the 1950s group often being shortened by hundreds of pages) and lesser use of indirect translation via an intermediary language (about half of the 1950s translations having been translated via Swedish). Otherwise, translation practices have not changed much: except for large omissions, which are far more frequent in the 1950s, variation within each group is larger than between groups. As to the sociological context, the main changes are an increase in long-term institution-level contacts and an increase in the promotion of foreign translation rights by Finnish publishing houses. This is in contrast to the 1950s when translation rights were mainly sold through personal contacts by individual authors and translators. The reception of translations is difficult to study because of scarce material. However, the 1950s translations were aggressively marketed and therefore obtained far more reviews and reprints than the 1990s translations. Several of the 1950s books, mostly historical novels by Mika Waltari, were mainstream bestsellers at the time, while current translations are frequently made for niche markets. The thesis introduces ample new material on the translation of Finnish prose literature into English in the UK. The results are also relevant to translation from a minority literature into a majority one. As to translation theory, they lead us to question the social nature of translation norms and the assumption of a static target culture. The translations analysed here are located in a very fragmented interculture and gain a stronger position in the Finnish culture than in the British one.
  • Pilkinton-Pihko, Diane (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    In higher education, the desire to internationalize has created demands for an internationalized academia to use English increasingly in teaching outside the English native-speaking world. Given this situation, perhaps other criteria for measuring successful communication should be considered than that of the native-speaking minority. With lecturers whose native language is not English increasingly teaching their subjects through English, there is a growing need to develop adequate measures for this purpose and situation as the current normative standards are no longer tenable. Establishing adequate measures for this purpose and situation are relevant to institutions facing the challenge of providing EMI courses and programs while ensuring credible quality control. In order to determine what criteria might be adequate for assessing spoken professional English in an international context, this study investigates self-assessments of professional language in relation to language ideologies. The study involves English-medium instruction (EMI) in the field of engineering and takes place at a Finnish university. Using a mixed-methods approach, the study employed an explorative strategy that involved a concurrent design. The two methods were used in parallel and the results integrated at the interpretation phrase. This approach provides a general picture through micro- and macro-level analyses: the self-perceptions of EMI lecturers (i.e. qualitative) and their students perceptions of English in lectures (i.e. quantitative). The investigation employs a bottom-up approach, and is primarily qualitative. The findings are based on authentic data: video-recorded interviews and lectures, their transcriptions, and a questionnaire. The findings show that EMI lecturers have two basic representations of their English: A) when they compare their English to native-like targets, they find fault with their English, and B) when they think of themselves in their normal work environment, they see their English as working rather well. Certain language ideologies induced type A discourse, including standard language and NS language ideologies, and others induced type B discourse, such as English-as-a-global-language ideologies. The results from the student questionnaire also support interpretation B. Since meaningful testing should reflect the target situation, what my informants say in the type B discourse is relevant to developing assessment criteria. Their views to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scales are also extremely useful in pointing the way towards the central elements upon which relevant assessments for professional English in an international environment should be based. The conclusions indicate a comprehensibility goal over native-likeness for assessing spoken professional English in an international context. The study outlines some criteria relevant for assessing spoken English for this purpose and situation.
  • Heinonen, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
    This dissertation focuses on the short story Starukha (The Old Woman), one of the last works of the Russian writer Daniil Kharms (1905-1942). The story, written in 1939, is analysed using the Kharmsian concepts èto and to (this and that) as a heuristic interpretative model. The first chapter gives a detailed analysis of this model, as well as a survey of the critical work done to date on Kharms and Starukha. In the second chapter the model is applied to study the different states of consciousness of the male protagonist. This is significant, because he is the "I" of the work, from whose point of view everything is being told. The third chapter takes a closer look at the reality of the world that exists independently of the consciousness of the protagonist. Physical objects can be said to bear - besides their everyday meaning - a hidden symbolic meaning. Similarly, the characters can be considered as representatives of everyday reality and otherworldliness. The fourth chapter deals with the narrative devices of Starukha. The problematics of the relation between fact and fiction plays an essential role in the story. Kharms's use of Ich-Erzählung and different tenses, which contributes to achieving a complicated elaboration of this kind of problematics, is examined in detail. The fifth chapter provides an intertextual reading of Starukha, based on its allusions to the Bible and the Christian tradition. As a result, the whole story can be seen as a kind of meditation on the Passion of Christ. The final chapter examines how the important Kharmsian concepts of the grotesque and the absurd manifest themselves in Starukha. The old woman represents in a grotesque way two opposite systems: the religious and the totalitarian. The absurdity of Starukha can be claimed to be illusory. Therefore, it is better to speak about paradoxicality. Starukha itself is a kind of paradox, in the sense that it tries to say something of the ultimate truth of reality, which inevitably remains ineffable.
  • Vaahtera, Jouni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The present dissertation analyses 36 local vernaculars of villages surrounding the northern Russian city of Vologda in relation to the system of the vowels in the stressed syllables and those preceding the stressed syllables by using the available dialectological researches. The system in question differs from the corresponding standard Russian system by that the palatalisation of the surrounding consonants affects the vowels much more significantly in the vernaculars, whereas the phonetic difference between the stressed and non-stressed vowels is less obvious in them. The detailed information on the local vernaculars is retrieved from the Dialektologičeskij Atlas Russkogo Jazyka dialect atlas, the data for which were collected, for the most part, in the 1940 s and 1950 s. The theoretical framework of the research consists of a brief cross-section of western sociolinguistic theory related to language change and that of historical linguistics related to the Slavonic vowel development, which includes some new theories concerning the development of the Russian vowel phonemes. The author has collected dialect data in one of the 36 villages and three villages surrounding it. During the fieldwork, speech of nine elderly persons and ten school children was recorded. The speech data were then transcribed with coded information on the corresponding etymological vowels, the phonetic position, and the factual pronunciation at each appearance of vowels in the phonetic positions named above. The data from both of the dialect strata were then systematised to two corresponding systems that were compared with the information retrievable from the dialect atlas and other dialectological literature on the vowel phoneme system of the traditional local vernacular. As a result, it was found out (as hypothesised) that the vernacular vowel phoneme system has approached that of the standard language but has nonetheless not become similar to it. The phoneme quantity of the traditional vernacular is by one greater than that of the standard language, whereas the vowel phoneme quantity in the speech of the school children coincides with that in the standard language, although the phonetic realisations differ to some extent. The analysis of the speech of the elderly people resulted in that it is quite difficult to define the exact phoneme quantity of this stratum due to the fluctuation and irregularities in the realisation of the old phoneme that has ceased to exist in the newest stratum. It was noticed that the effect of the quality of the surrounding consonants on the phonetic realisation of the vowel phonemes has diminished, and the dependence of the phonetic realisation of a vowel phoneme on its place in a word in relation to the word stress has become more and more obvious, which is the state of affairs in the standard language as well.
  • Piitulainen, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    A straightforward computation of the list of the words (the `tail words' of the list) that are distributionally most similar to a given word (the `head word' of the list) leads to the question: How semantically similar to the head word are the tail words; that is: how similar are their meanings to its meaning? And can we do better? The experiment was done on nearly 18,000 most frequent nouns in a Finnish newsgroup corpus. These nouns are considered to be distributionally similar to the extent that they occur in the same direct dependency relations with the same nouns, adjectives and verbs. The extent of the similarity of their computational representations is quantified with the information radius. The semantic classification of head-tail pairs is intuitive; some tail words seem to be semantically similar to the head word, some do not. Each such pair is also associated with a number of further distributional variables. Individually, their overlap for the semantic classes is large, but the trained classification-tree models have some success in using combinations to predict the semantic class. The training data consists of a random sample of 400 head-tail pairs with the tail word ranked among the 20 distributionally most similar to the head word, excluding names. The models are then tested on a random sample of another 100 such pairs. The best success rates range from 70% to 92% of the test pairs, where a success means that the model predicted my intuitive semantic class of the pair. This seems somewhat promising when distributional similarity is used to capture semantically similar words. This analysis also includes a general discussion of several different similarity formulas, arranged in three groups: those that apply to sets with graded membership, those that apply to the members of a vector space, and those that apply to probability mass functions.