University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 28.11 The dynamics of foreign versus second language development in Finnish writing (Tilma)

Start date: Nov 28, 2014 12:00 AM

End date: Nov 28, 2014 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, F205

Corinne Tilma.MA Corinne Tilma defends her doctoral dissertation in Finnish language. Opponent Professor Alex Housen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and custos Professor Maisa Martin (University of Jyväskylä). The event is in English.


The development of beginner learners’ Finnish as a foreign (FL) and as a second (L2) language is explored from a dynamic perspective. Syntactic and morphological complexity and accuracy measures are researched and differences in outcomes between the two groups of learners (overall averages) and in developmental patterns and interactions over time between measures (one focal learner per group) are explored. The group study shows similarities in syntactic and morphological complexity for the groups but differences in some case related measures. The focal learner study shows differences in case related measures between the focal L2 learner and the L2 group but many similarities between the two focal learners. However, the FL learner shows steeper peaks and more complexity and accuracy early on; the focus on grammar, typical of FL contexts, helps to discover forms and use them from the beginning. For the L2 learner the process takes longer but once the forms are used, this is done relatively more correctly. Furthermore, the focal learner study shows similarities and differences in interactions between measures, supporting the idea of different learning trajectories of case use; the FL learner does not learn complexity and case uses simultaneously while the L2 learner learns more holistically in context.

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Humanities, number 233, 208p., Jyväskylä 2014, ISSN: 1459-4323, ISBN978-951-39-5868-. It is available in the University Library Publications Unit, tel. 040 805 3825,

  • Further information:

Corinne Tilma,

Communications intern Birgitta Kemppainen,, +358 40 804 4483