Aktuell

Social value of languages in Lithuania and Finland – is there anything to worry about?

The Greifswald Report, 2016

date: 27 October 2016
time: 2 p.m
host: Embassy of Finland in Belgium
location: Avenue de Cortenbergh 80, 1000 Bruxelles

Der soziale Status von Sprachen in Finnland und Litauen

Eine vergleichende Fallstudie zur Rolle verschiedener Erhebungsmethoden

Antragsteller:

Professor Dr. Marko Pantermöller
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Institut für Fennistik und Skandinavistik
Lehrstuhl für Fennistik

Professor Dr. Stephan Kessler
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Institut für Baltistik

Förderung seit 2014

Es ist das Ziel des Projekts zu untersuchen, welchen sozialen Status Sprechergruppen in Finnland und Litauen den jeweils relevanten Verkehrssprachen (Finnisch, Schwedisch bzw. Litauisch, Polnisch, Russisch) beimessen. Besonderes Augenmerk liegt dabei auf der methodologisch essentiellen Frage, in welchem Umfang das Wissen der Probanden um den Untersuchungsgegenstand die Erhebungsergebnisse beeinflusst. Das Projekt leistet damit einen wichtigen Beitrag zur soziolinguistischen Grundlagenforschung hinsichtlich multilingualer Gesellschaften und ist von hoher sprachpolitischer Relevanz.Die jeweilige gesellschaftliche Einschätzung der Wirkungen von sprach(en)politischen Maßnahmen, die sowohl in Litauen als auch Finnland eine vergleichbare Intensität haben, ist ganz unterschiedlich. Gemeinsam ist beiden Ländern jedoch ein hohes Sprachbewusstsein der Bevölkerung, das ein Gespür für sprachpolitisch korrektes Verhalten einschließt. Die breit angelegte Untersuchung soll durch die Parallelität der Erhebungen zu einem Ländervergleich führen. In Finnland, das häufig als sprachpolitisches Referenzland angeführt wird, sind bereits Untersuchungen zu Fragen der Sprachloyalität und zum sozialen Status der beiden offiziellen Landessprachen durchgeführt worden. Die tiefen sprachpolitischen Spannungen, die sich in jüngster Zeit offenbaren, stehen jedoch tendenziell im Widerspruch zu den Untersuchungsergebnissen. Da bisherige Arbeiten zu unserem Problemkreis es kaum vermochten, das spracheninduzierte Spannungspotential abzubilden, dessen unübersehbare und mitunter überraschende Auswirkungen politische Entscheidungsträger in Finnland und Litauen vor schwierige Aufgaben stellen, kommt der methodologischen Frage in unserem Projekt eine zentrale Bedeutung zu. Es soll erstmals durch die Kombination einer indirekten Methode, die den Probanden Rückschlüsse auf den tatsächlichen Untersuchungsgegenstand verwehrt, und einer direkten Methode zu einem vertieften Verständnis von den Erkenntnisleistungen der beiden Methoden führen. Bisher wurde noch nicht auf indirektem Wege untersucht, wie loyal Sprecher unterschiedlicher Gruppen gegenüber den Sprachen sind, die in ihren Ländern den Alltag prägen. Das Forschungsmaterial wird mittels der indirekten Matched Guise-Technik (MGT) und der direkten Fragebogenmethode in mehreren Städten Litauens und Finnlands erhoben und nach relevanten sozialen Faktoren differenziert. Die geographische Streuung trägt dabei variierenden Sprachverhältnissen Rechnung. Die Kontrastierung der beiden Methoden verspricht Rückschlüsse darauf, wie das sprachpolitische Bewusstsein die Beantwortung der Fragen beeinflusst. Dieses Wissen ist entscheidend zur Definierung der Ansatzpunkte sprachpolitischen Handelns. Die Voraussetzungen zu einer konstruktiven Diskussion der Untersuchungsergebnisse in den Zielländern verbessern sich insbesondere durch den Umstand, dass das Projekt räumlich-institutionell außerhalb der untersuchten Spannungsfelder angesiedelt ist.

 

 

The social status of languages in Finland and Lithuania

A comparative case study on the role of different survey methods

Applicant:

Professor Dr. Marko Pantermöller
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Institut für Fennistik und Skandinavistik
Lehrstuhl für Fennistik

Professor Dr. Stephan Kessler
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Institut für Baltistik

Funded since 2014

The survey aims to investigate the social status which speakers in Finland and Lithuania assess at their relevant languages (ie Finnish, Swedish resp Lithuanian, Polish, Russian). Particular attention here lies on the methodologically important question to which extent the respondents' educational knowledge about the object of research influences the results of the survey. The survey makes an important contribution to basic research of socio-linguistics about multilingual societies and therefore it is highly relevant to the study of language policy.The judgments within each society about the social effects of these language-political measures are completely different. Nevertheless, both countries have in common that their inhabitants are highly sensible of their languages and aim at a politically correct behavior according to language policy. The wide-ranging survey is meant to compare both countries by means of a parallelism of the statistical data collected. In Finland, which is often cited as a reference country concerning language policy, studies about questions of language loyalty and about the status of Finnish and Swedish have already been made. However, the political tensions concerning languages matters, which have recently manifested themselves, constitute a contradiction to the results of these studies. From this it would seem that previous research has hardly been able to illustrate the potential for social tensions resulting from language problems, the effects of which are undeniable and sometimes bear surprising consequences constituting severe tasks for political decision-makers in Finland and Lithuania. Therefore, the methodology of our research project is of vital importance. For the first time a combination of an indirect and a direct method will be applied in the target countries. By applying two research methods simultaneously we hope to achieve objective results. So far an indirect survey has not been made to examine the degree of loyalty of speakers of different social groups towards the language spoken in everyday life in their home countries.The research material will be obtained in several towns in Lithuania and Finland by means of the indirect matched-guise technique as well as by a direct questionnaire, and it will be differentiated according to the relevant social factors. The geographical variation of the locations of research draws into account the varying conditions of the usage of the languages. Contrasting both methods will make it possible to draw conclusions about how and in which degree the respondents' awareness of problems of language policy exerts an influence upon their answers. Knowledge about this point is crucial when discussing language policy. The conditions for a useful discussion about the results will even be better since the project is officially supervised and organized by institutes which are not situated in the areas under investigation.

Social value of languages in Lithuania and Finland – is there anything to worry about?

The Greifswald Report, 2016

Official and minorities’ languages have repeatedly been an area of political controversies in Finland as well as in Lithuania. Amongst other things, demands made by various political players could stoke up the climate of public opinion. However, the questions arise whether the fierce public debates are analogously reflected in the attitudes of Finland’s and Lithuania’s populations and how people in Finland and Lithuania really think of the mixture of official and minorities’ languages in their countries.

In the years 2014 to 2016 the Departments of Baltic Studies and Finnish Studies situated at the University of Greifswald undertook a sociolinguistic survey in Finland and Lithuania to answer these questions. First findings are now available. The honour of your presence is requested both to familiarise with the most prominent key data of our survey and to discuss the outcome!

27 October 2016
2 p.m.
at the Embassy of Finland
Avenue de Cortenbergh 80
1000 Bruxelles

During our survey The social status of languages in Finland and Lithuania that has been founded by the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) we obtained data in several towns in Lithuania and Finland by means of the indirect matched-guise technique as well as by a direct questionnaire. Our data of about 1,200 subjects of various social groups allow an objective evaluation of both the prestige which is inherent in the languages spoken ordinarily in Finland and Lithuania, and the notions of the speakers of these languages. By comparing the statistical data of both countries, there can be detected additional clues that could be important for scholars as well as for policymakers.

 Schedule:

2 pm
addresses of welcome
(HE Ambassador Timo Ranta; HE Ambassador Gediminas Varvuolis)

2:10 pm
project presentation

(Prof Dr Marko Pantermöller, Prof Dr Stephan Kessler,
Dr Anastasija Kostiučenko, Yvonne Bindrim MA)

 3:00 pm
coffee break

3:20 pm
discussion

closure at about 4 pm

 The working language of the conference will be English.

 

download invitation

download pre-report

Pease register yourself with Kati Aviron-Violet not later than 24. October 2016:
kati.aviron-violet(at)formin(dot)fi