Browsing by Organization "Helsingin yliopisto, humanistinen tiedekunta, nykykielten laitos"

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  • 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.
  • Imperato, Ciro (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Analisi contrastiva delle modalità di traduzione in finnico dei Tempi verbali e delle perifrasi aspettuali dell italiano (Italian Philology) The topic of this research is a contrastive study of tenses and aspect in Italian and in Finnish. The study aims to develop a research method for analyzing translations and comparable texts (non-translation) written in a target language. Thus, the analysis is based on empirical data consisting of translations of novels from Italian to Finnish and vice versa. In addition to this, for the section devoted to solutions adopted in Finnish for translating the Italian tenses Perfetto Semplice and Perfetto Composto, 39 Finnish native speakers were asked to answer questions concerning the choice of Perfekti and Imperfekti in Finnish. The responses given by the Finnish informants were compared to the choices made by translators in the target language, and in this way it was possible both to benefit from the motivation provided by native speakers to explain the selection of a tense (Imperfekti/Perfekti) in a specific context compared with the Italian formal equivalents (Perfetto Composto/Perfetto Semplice), and to define the specific features of the Finnish verb tenses. The research aims to develop a qualitative method for the analysis of formal equivalents and translational changes ( shifts ). Although, as the choice of Italian and Finnish progressive forms is optional and related to speaker preferences, besides the qualitative analysis, I also considered it necessary to operate a quantitative one in order to find out whether the two items share the same degree of correspondence in frequency of use. In this study I explain translation choices in light of cognitive grammar, suggesting that particular translation relationships derive from so-called construal operations. I use the concepts of cognitive linguistics not only to analyze the convergences and divergences of the two aspectual systems, but also to redefine some general procedures related to the phenomenon of translation. For the practical analysis of the corpus were for the most part employed theoretical categories developed in a framework proposed by Pier Marco Bertinetto. Following this approach, the notions of aspect (the morphologic or morphosyntactic, subjective level) and actionality (the lexical aspect or objective level, traditionally Aktionsart) are carefully distinguished. This also allowed me to test the applicability of these distinctions to two languages typologically different from each other. The data allowed both the analysis of the semantic and pragmatic features that determine tense and aspect choices in these two languages, and to discover the correspondences between the two language systems and the strategies that translators are forced to resort to in particular situations. The research provides not only a detailed and analytically argued inventory about possible solutions for translating Italian tenses and aspectual devices in Finnish that could be of pedagogical relevance, but also new contributions about the specific uses of time-aspectual devices in the two languages in question.
  • 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.
  • Stenvall, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The thesis explores the discourse of two global news agencies, the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, which together with the French AFP are generally regarded as the world s leading news distributors. A glance at the guidelines given by AP and Reuters to their journalists shows that these two news agencies make a lot of effort to strive for objectivity the well-known journalistic ideal, which, however, is an almost indefinable concept. In journalism textbooks definitions of objectivity often contain various components: detachment, nonpartisanship, facticity, balance, etc. AP and Reuters, too, in their guidelines, present several other ideals besides objectivity , viz., reliability, accuracy, balance, freedom from bias, precise sourcing, reporting the truth, and so on. Other central concepts connected to objectivity are neutrality and impartiality. However, objectivity is, undoubtedly, the term that is most often mentioned when the ethics of journalism is discussed, acting as a kind of umbrella term for several related journalistic ideals. It can even encompass the other concept that is relevant for this study, that of factuality. These two intertwined concepts are extremely complex; paradoxically, it is easier to show evidence of the lack of objectivity or factuality than of their existence. I argue that when journalists conform to the deep-rooted conventions of objective news reporting, facts may be blurred, and the language becomes vague and ambiguous. As global distributors of news, AP and Reuters have had an influential role in creating and reinforcing conventions of (at least English-language) news writing. These conventions can be seen to work at various levels of news reporting: the ideological (e.g., defining what is regarded as newsworthy, or who is responsible), structural (e.g., the well-known inverted pyramid model), and stylistic (e.g., presupposing that in hard news reports, the journalist s voice should be backgrounded). On the basis of my case studies, I have found four central conventions to be worthy of closer examination: the conventional structure of news reports, the importance of newsworthiness, the tactics of impersonalisation which tends to blur news actors responsibility, and the routines of presenting emotions. My linguistic analyses draw mainly on M.A.K. Halliday s Systemic Functional Grammar, on notions of transitivity, ergativity, nominalisation and grammatical metaphor. The Appraisal framework, too, has provided useful tools for my analyses. The thesis includes six case studies dealing with the following topics: metaphors in political reporting, terrorism discourse, terrorism fears, emotions more generally, unnamed sources as rhetorical constructs, and responsibility in the convention of attribution.
  • Jakovleva, Natalia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This study is a historical and semantic description of the notion of the human document (document humain), borrowed by Russian critics from the literary theory of French Naturalism. To this day the term remains current in the Russian language in fictional and scholarly texts, mostly in the humanities. Becoming something of a cliché, however, it has lost its strict, narrow sense. This book details the evolution of the notion over the relatively long period of its existence. The term itself was invented by two French writers the Goncourt brothers, whose works were less known to Russian readers than, for instance, the ideas of Hyppolite Taine, where one could find semantically similar formulas. Meanwhile the texts of Emile Zola achieved particular popularity in Russia, and the human document played a key role in Zola s aesthetics, especially in his theory of the experimental novel . For Zola the human document rejected the ideology of Romanticism with its orientation on inventive and captivating fictions. It is a noteworthy fact that Zola s works devoted to the experimental novel were first published in Russian, since the French writer was collaborating with Russian periodicals. At the same time, similar expressions were wide spread in Russian critical discourse: for example, the prominent and influential critic Nikolay Mikhaylovsky oft en used synonyms like documents about the human, and one can find other derivatives like female document or Parisian document . On the other hand, Russian reception of Zola s declared interest in psychic physiology and human degradation was also negative, and in the end of the nineteenth century the human document acquired a range of pejorative connotations. As Naturalist theories were gradually becoming obsolete and disappearing, the term s semantic associations were markedly transformed. The 1910s were a crucial period in its history. Although one can find the term in the texts of Russian Naturalists like the prolific writer Aleksandr Amfiteatrov, it was no longer strictly connected with this aesthetical and intellectual tradition. Displaced and half-forgotten, human document appears in the contexts of women s literature , memoirs, and even autobiographies about the 1905 revolution. Now it was associated with different documentary genres, such as diaries and confessions, as with the literary strategy of frank or true expression. This suggests that the term was becoming a part of the rhetoric of anti-literature . As a result, the positive ideal of frank testimony was combined with psychic physiology s negative associations, and this ambiguity allowed the application of the term to a certain set of specific subjects. For example, it was connected with the marginal hero of the age , i.e. the time of decadence and social decline (the revolutionary, the scoundrel, the cynic, and so on). The 1920s and 1930s were the heyday of the human document . The term was rarely used in early Soviet literature but flourished among Russian emigre writers. Thanks to the older generation, who actively took part in pre-revolutionary literary discussions, this cliche gradually returned to the pages of émigré periodicals. In the 1930s, as in Zola s time, it assumed the form of a literary manifesto and united different circles of young Russian writers, mostly in France. Human document became a keyword in the famous discussion between two prominent figures of the Paris emigration, Vladislav Khodasevich and Georgy Adamovich, who considered the goal of a new literature to be the return to raw, frank self-expression. This new development in the history of the term was partly supported by the interest of contemporary French writers like Louis-Ferdinand Celine in naturalistic literary devices. In this period human document became a kind of synonym for a certain sort of poetry which was called the Parisian note . It is not unusual that this cliché sometimes appeared in Soviet criticism as a means of describing and then belittling émigré literature. It arose in the mid-1960s, probably after the polemics about frankness in literature and then was borrowed by literary scholar Lydia Ginzburg, who worked on the history of documentary genres in Russian literature.
  • Marttila, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This thesis presents a corpus-linguistically oriented digital documentary edition of six 15th-century culinary recipe collections, known as the Potage Dyvers family, with an introduction to its historical context and an analysis of its dialectal and structural features, and defines an editorial framework for producing such editions for the purposes of corpus linguistic research. Traditionally historical corpora have been compiled from printed editions not originally designed to serve as corpus linguistic data. Recently, both the digitalisation of textual editing and the turning of corpus compilers towards original sources have blurred the boundaries between these two crafts, placing corpus compilers into an editorial role. Despite the fact that traditional editorial approaches have been recognised as largely incompatible with the needs of linguistic research, and the established methods of corpus encoding do not satisfactorily represent the documentary context of manuscript texts, no explicitly linguistic editorial approach has so far been designed for editing manuscript sources for use in corpora. Even most digital editions, despite their advanced representational capabilities, are literary or historical in orientation and thus do not provide an adequate model. The editorial framework described here and the edition based on it have been explicitly designed to answer the needs of historical corpus linguistics. First, it aims at faithfully modelling the manuscript as a historical artefact, including both its textual content and its visual and material paratext, whose communicative importance has also been recognised by many historical linguists. Second, it presents this model in a form which allows not only the study of both text and paratext using corpus linguistic methods, but also allows resulting analytical metadata to be linked back to the edition, shared with other scholars, and used as the basis for further study. The edition itself is provided as a digital appendix to the thesis in the form of both a digital data archive encoded in TEI XML and three editorial presentations of this data, and serves not only as a demonstration of the editorial approach, but also provides a valuable new research resource. The choice of material is based on the insight that utilitarian texts like recipes provide valuable material especially for historical pragmatics and discourse studies. As one of the first vernacular text types, recipes also provide an excellent opportunity to study the diachronic development of a single textual genre. The Potage Dyvers family is the second largest known family of Middle English recipe collections, surviving in six physically diverse manuscripts. Of these, four were edited in 1888 by conflating them into two collections, but their complex interrelationships have so far escaped systematic study. The structural analysis of the six Potage Dyvers versions indicates that the family, containing a total of 371 unique recipes, in fact consists of three sibling pairs of MSS. Two of these contain largely the same material but in a different order, while the third shares only a core of 89 recipes with the others, deriving a large number of recipes from other sources. In terms of their language, all of the six versions exhibit mainly Midlands forms and combine dialectally unmarked forms with more local variants from different areas, reflecting the 15th-century loss of dialectal distinctions which has not yet reached orthographic or morphological uniformity, and indicating possible metropolitan associations.
  • Granvik, Anton (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    El presente estudio supone un intento de describir y analizar el uso de la preposición "de" sobre la base de un corpus diacrónico, con énfasis en las diferentes relaciones semánticas que establece. Partiendo de un total de más de 16.000 casos de "de" hemos establecido 48 categorías de uso, que corresponden a cuatro tipos de construcción sintáctica, a saber, el uso de "de" como complemento de nombres (CN), verbos (CV), adjetivos (CA) y, finalmente, su uso como núcleo de expresiones adverbiales independientes (CI). El estudio consta de tres partes fundamentales. En la parte I, se introduce la Lingüística Cognitiva, que constituye la base teórica esencial del trabajo. Más exactamente, se introducen conceptos como la teoría del prototipo, la teoría de las metáforas conceptuales y la gramática cognitiva, especialmente las ideas de "punto de referencia" y "relación intrínseca" (Langacker 1995, 1999). La parte II incluye el análisis de las 48 categorías. En esta parte se presentan y comentan casi 2.000 ejemplos del uso contextual de "de" extraídos del corpus diacrónico. Los resultados más importantes del análisis pueden resumirse en los siguientes puntos: El uso de "de" sigue siendo esencialmente el mismo en la actualidad que hace 800 años, en el sentido de que todas las 48 categorías se identifican en todas las épocas del corpus. El uso de "de" como complemento nominal va aumentando, al contrario de lo que ocurre con su uso como complemento verbal. En el contexto nominal son especialmente las relaciones posesivas más abstractas las que se hacen más frecuentes, mientras que en el contexto verbal las relaciones que se hacen menos frecuentes son las de separación/alejamiento, causa, agente y partitivo indefinido. Destaca la importancia del siglo XVIII como época de transición entre un primer estado de las cosas y otro posterior, en especial en relación con el carácter cada vez más abstracto de las relaciones posesivas así como con la disminución de las categorías adverbales de causa, agente y partitivo. Pese a la variación en el contexto inmediato de uso, el núcleo semántico de "de" se mantiene inalterado. La parte III toma como punto de partida los resultados del análisis de la parte II, tratando de deslindar el aporte semántico de la preposición "de" a su contexto de uso del valor de la relación en conjunto. Así, recurriendo a la metodología para determinar el significado básico y la metodología para determinar lo que constituyen significados distintos de una preposición (Tyler , Evans 2003a, 2003b), se llega a la hipótesis de que "de" posee cuatro significados básicos, a saber, 'punto de partida', 'tema/asunto', 'parte/todo' y 'posesión'. Esta hipótesis, basada en las metodologías de Tyler y Evans y en los resultados del análisis de corpus, se intenta verificar empíricamente mediante el uso de dos cuestionarios destinados a averiguar hasta qué punto las distinciones semánticas a las que se llega por vía teórica son reconocidas por los hablantes nativos de la lengua (cf. Raukko 2003). El resultado conjunto de los dos acercamientos tanto refuerza como especifica la hipótesis. Los datos que arroja el análisis de los cuestionarios parecen reforzar la idea de que el núcleo semántico de "de" es complejo, constando de los cuatro valores mencionados. Sin embargo, cada uno de estos valores básicos constituye un prototipo local, en torno al cual se construye un complejo de matices semánticos derivados del prototipo. La idea final es que los hablantes son conscientes de los cuatro postulados valores básicos, pero que también distinguen matices más detallados, como son las ideas de 'causa', 'agente', 'instrumento', 'finalidad', 'cualidad', etc. Es decir, "de" constituye un elemento polisémico complejo cuya estructura semántica puede describirse como una semejanza de familia centrada en cuatro valores básicos en torno a los cuales se encuentra una serie de matices más específicos, que también constituyen valores propios de la preposición. Creemos, además, que esta caracterización semántica es válida para todas las épocas de la historia del español, con unas pequeñas modificaciones en el peso relativo de los distintos matices, lo cual está relacionado con la observada variación diacrónica en el uso de "de".
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pikkarainen, Merja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This study analyses the language use of non-native speakers of Finnish and non-native speakers of Russian by exploring the joint activity by two or more participants in authentic conversations. More specifically, the present focus is on word searches, collaborative productions and candidate understandings. Although these structures have been claimed to be similar phenomena, they also have different characteristics. The data of this study consist of approximately 11 hours of naturally occurring conversations in a range of everyday and institutional situations in Finnish and Russian. The methodological framework adopted for this analysis is interactional linguistics, which focusses on analysing the language use in naturally occurring interaction. Interactional linguistics can be defined as a part of linguistics that originates from different types of functional orientations (conversation analysis, functional linguistics, and anthropological linguistics). However, the main analytical tools for this study are provided by the methodology of conversation analysis. A typical collaborative production consists of a preliminary component that is produced without any specific hesitations or perturbations, and of a final component that fits syntactically, prosodically and semantically with the preliminary component. For example, a preliminary component can consist of a subject and verb combination and a final component contains a complement (in a broad sense). A typical word search can be initiated with pauses or hesitations, or with specific questions. In these cases, the co-participant is considered to be a knowledgeable partner. When comparing collaborative productions and word searches, the candidate understandings fall somewhere in the middle. Interactionally, candidate understandings are used to check the recipient s interpretation of the prior and to maintain mutual understanding. All three types of joint activity emphasize the willingness of the participants to cooperate and the fact that although the language used is foreign to all of the participants, the interaction need not be problematic. On the contrary, it would seem that since no native speakers are present, the conversations become relaxed. The data shows that the resources of these two lingua francas are utilised somewhat differently. The Finnish data consist of proportionally more searches that concentrate on grammatical issues than the Russian data. On the other hand, candidate understandings are more common in the Russian data. These differences can be due to the participants different linguistic backgrounds. The lingua franca speakers of Russian may have a more native-speaker relation to the Russian language in that they do not consider the grammatical appropriateness to be as important as the lingua franca users of Finnish.
  • Virkkula, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This study explores reasons for first name choice for children using a survey carried out in two places: Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The outcomes of the analysis are twofold: reasons for name choice in the two communities are explored, and the application of survey methods to studies of name choice is discussed. The theoretical framework of the study is socio-onomastic, or more precisely socio-anthroponomastic, and the work explores boundaries of social intuition. It is argued that parents social intuition based on rules and norms for name choice in their communities that they may not even be consciously aware of guides them in choices related to namegiving. A survey instrument was used to collect data on naming choices and the data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study explored in detail five themes affecting reasons for name choice. These themes were: tradition and family, international names, aesthetic values and positive meanings, current names and special names. The process of naming is discussed in detail, as are the effects of the parents education and the child s sex on name choice. The Zagreb and Sofia data show significant differences and similarities in these themes and dimensions. The study shows that the differences between the Zagreb and the Sofia data sets are always larger than differences based on more expected demographic factors such as the children s sex or birth order or the parents educational level. These differences are supported by the literature on name choice showing Zagreb and Sofia are substantially different environments in which to name a child. With respect to the reasons for name choice in the data, respondents in both data sets indicated they were most concerned with choosing a name they thought was beautiful. After the beauty of the name, the most frequently mentioned reasons for name choice identified by Zagreb respondents were the meaning of the name, strategies related to national and international positioning, and traditionality of the name. The most frequently cited reasons in the Sofia data set were commemoration of relatives, the meaning of the name, whether the name was hereditary, and similarity of the name to other names in the family.
  • Tyrkkö, Jukka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Hypertexts are digital texts characterized by interactive hyperlinking and a fragmented textual organization. Increasingly prominent since the early 1990s, hypertexts have become a common text type both on the Internet and in a variety of other digital contexts. Although studied widely in disciplines like hypertext theory and media studies, formal linguistic approaches to hypertext continue to be relatively rare. This study examines coherence negotiation in hypertext with particularly reference to hypertext fiction. Coherence, or the quality of making sense, is a fundamental property of textness. Proceeding from the premise that coherence is a subjectively evaluated property rather than an objective quality arising directly from textual cues, the study focuses on the processes through which readers interact with hyperlinks and negotiate continuity between hypertextual fragments. The study begins with a typological discussion of textuality and an overview of the historical and technological precedents of modern hypertexts. Then, making use of text linguistic, discourse analytical, pragmatic, and narratological approaches to textual coherence, the study takes established models developed for analyzing and describing conventional texts, and examines their applicability to hypertext. Primary data derived from a collection of hyperfictions is used throughout to illustrate the mechanisms in practice. Hypertextual coherence negotiation is shown to require the ability to cognitively operate between local and global coherence by means of processing lexical cohesion, discourse topical continuities, inferences and implications, and shifting cognitive frames. The main conclusion of the study is that the style of reading required by hypertextuality fosters a new paradigm of coherence. Defined as fuzzy coherence, this new approach to textual sensemaking is predicated on an acceptance of the coherence challenges readers experience when the act of reading comes to involve repeated encounters with referentially imprecise hyperlinks and discourse topical shifts. A practical application of fuzzy coherence is shown to be in effect in the way coherence is actively manipulated in hypertext narratives.
  • Hiltunen, Turo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The present study provides a usage-based account of how three grammatical structures, declarative content clauses, interrogative content clause and as-predicative constructions, are used in academic research articles. These structures may be used in both knowledge claims and citations, and they often express evaluative meanings. Using the methodology of quantitative corpus linguistics, I investigate how the culture of the academic discipline influences the way in which these constructions are used in research articles. The study compares the rates of occurrence of these grammatical structures and investigates their co-occurrence patterns in articles representing four different disciplines (medicine, physics, law, and literary criticism). The analysis is based on a purpose-built 2-million-word corpus, which has been part-of-speech tagged. The analysis demonstrates that the use of these grammatical structures varies between disciplines, and further shows that the differences observed in the corpus data are linked with differences in the nature of knowledge and the patterns of enquiry. The constructions in focus tend to be more frequently used in the soft disciplines, law and literary criticism, where their co-occurrence patterns are also more varied. This reflects both the greater variety of topics discussed in these disciplines, and the higher frequency of references to statements made by other researchers. Knowledge-building in the soft fields normally requires a careful contextualisation of the arguments, giving rise to statements reporting earlier research employing the constructions in focus. In contrast, knowledgebuilding in the hard fields is typically a cumulative process, based on agreed-upon methods of analysis. This characteristic is reflected in the structure and contents of research reports, which offer fewer opportunities for using these constructions.
  • 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.
  • Hynninen, Niina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study investigates language regulation, or the negotiation of acceptability and correctness in language. It takes a bottom-up perspective on regulation, with focus on the ways that speakers manage and monitor language in lingua franca interaction, and the ways that they talk about language. I approach language regulation as a process through which speakers both reproduce codified language norms and construct alternative ones. Language regulation, then, sheds light on the construction of norms relevant for the speakers, that is, on living norms, as opposed to prescriptive, codified norms that arise as a consequence of linguistic description and codification. I explore two complementary dimensions of language regulation: interactional and ideological dimensions. The dimensions I bring together in a comparative analysis, where I consider the findings in relation to the macro-level ideologies of language maintenance and native speaker ownership of English. To explore the two dimensions, I draw on two main types of data, collected from English-medium university courses where English was used as the lingua franca: interrelated recordings of study event interactions from three different groups and research interviews with students, teachers (i.e. subject experts) and English instructors who attended the interactions. The findings show that the scope of acceptability was wider than the scope of correctness when regulating language in interaction. Second language users of English took on and were assigned the role of language experts, and while speakers mainly drew on (their notions of) English native language norms for correctness, for instance, scientific contexts emerged as an alternative source for norm construction. Further, differences emerged between student, teacher and English instructor views, and generally, the informants talk about language was found out to be more purist than their use of the regulatory mechanisms. In all, the study shows that the construction of living norms is a complex process. On the one hand, speakers reproduce prescriptive, codified norms and thus turn them into living ones. On the other hand, the regulatory practices in the study event interaction and interview findings illustrate that speakers also construct irrelevance of prescriptive norms, and importantly draw on alternative sources, such as their academic field, for norm construction.
  • 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.
  • Haussalo, Teija (Nykykielten laitos, 2014)
    The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the dynamics in the use of articles towards the end of the 16th century, shortly before the creation of normative grammars, by studying the use of the zero article in 16th-century texts and by comparing it to the use of definite and indefinite articles and other determiners. The 16th century can be regarded as an important transitional stage in the development of the French language, as French became the official language of jurisdiction, and literature in French became more prominent. The basic selection criterion for the corpus was that the texts should be prose originally written in French, so poetic freedom or a source text in another language could not strongly influence the structures used. The main corpus is a selection from Heptameron, a collection of short stories written by Queen Margaret of Navarre, and the variants found in 10 different manuscripts of Heptameron. In addition, two other authors were chosen for comparison: Henri Estienne and Michel de Montaigne. The time span of all these texts is from 1545 to 1592. The study contains the following main parts: 1) a general overview of the use of articles in different syntactical positions in 16th-century texts; 2) an analysis of variation in the use of the zero article in the different manuscripts of Heptameron and a comparison with corresponding examples in the texts of Estienne and Montaigne; 3) an analysis of the use of different articles by each author in different contexts; and 4) comparison of the results of the study with the views of 16th-century grammarians as well as with current views of the use of articles in French. The analysis shows that most instances of variation in the use of articles are found in contexts where different interpretations are possible or when there is a problematic construction or even an error in a manuscript. The clearest visible development is the gradual extension of the use of de(s) as an article, which is linked with the loss of the final s in pronunciation. The combination à + de(s) is not found at all in the manuscripts of Heptameron, but in the later texts of Montaigne it occurs many times. It appears that at the end of the 16th century the article system was complete.
  • Suviniitty, Jaana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Internationalization is one of the strategic goals of universities and other higher education institutions in Finland. This tends to be transferred to English-medium instruction (EMI) and English degree programs. This "Anglicization has raised concerns and discussion despite its perceived benefits. The aim of this study was to investigate an international Master s Program in the field of engineering and to explore students perceptions of lectures and their comprehension within this Master s Program. These lectures were further examined in order to shed light on what linguistic features used in English as a lingua franca (ELF) lecturing influence students perceptions. This exploratory, descriptive case study takes a phasal approach to obtain a holistic view on this Master s Program. The findings of the study are based on authentic data: video-recorded lecture material, their transcriptions, and surveys. These surveys contain lecture evaluations provided by the students immediately after attending them. Guided by the student evaluations, an analysis based on genre analysis and discourse analysis was conducted to locate the linguistic differences of these lectures. The results indicate that students perception of lectures relates to the use of interactional features regardless of the lecturers perceived English skills. Those lectures students found accessible contained more interactional features than those lectures students found challenging. Additional results, contrary to prior studies, also show that the use of interactional features in native language (Finnish) lecturing is notably lower than in ELF lecturing. Furthermore, the comparison of student achievements when lecturing in the Master s Program was in Finnish with the student achievements from the ELF lectured program showed slightly higher results in the ELF lectured program. Conclusions drawn from these results suggest that when lecturing in a non-native language, lecturers attempt to ensure the audience s comprehension through various linguistic devices, interactional features being one of them. Therefore, ELF lectures do not have an adverse effect on lecture comprehension or course results.