06.11.2017

FinGer – German as a vehicular language in academic and business contexts in Finland

Responsible researcher: Sabine Ylönen

MA students in the surveys' project: Virpi Vainio, Mari Kivelä, Hanna Kantanen, Mari Hurskainen, Emmi Heimonen

Cooperation partners in the corpus project: Christian Fandrych (Universität Leipzig, Herder-Institut) with his partners in the United Kingdom (Prof. Reershemius, Aston Universtity), Poland (University of Wroclaw, Prof. Cirko), and Bulgaria (University of Sofia, Prof. Dencheva)

Duration: 2007 - ongoing

Financing: University of Jyväskylä. The project is seeking for external financing.

Description

The aim of this project is to explore the role of German as a vehicular language in Finland in a radically transforming European context. Special focus is on oral communicative practices in academic and business environments. The key objectives are 1) To explore the attitudes towards multilingual higher education, science and business contexts and the role of German as a vehicular language, 2) To collect empirical evidence of the role and diversity of academic and business discourse in German, 3) To provide empirically verified insights into the variety of oral academic and business discourse practices in different countries, disciplines and genres, and 4) To promote multilingualism, new political solutions and pedagogical strategies for effective and motivating language training. The measures to achieve these objectives are off-site data collection (surveys) and on-site data collection (corpus compilation), their analysis and comparison of results.

The project can be divided into two sub-projects: 1. Surveys, and 2. Corpus project. By means of surveys, off-site data was collected about language use and attitudes towards different languages, especially German. The aim of the corpus project is to collect on-site data to explore what these attitudes or perceptions could be based on. In addition to research the corpus will offer a valuable resource for several applications such as intercultural teaching as well as language learning, teaching and assessment. Implications for new pedagogical approaches and Finnish language education policy are expected. Our studies on the role of German as vehicular language in Finland are also expected to be highly useful in debates on evidence-based approaches to multilingualism policies and language education strategies.

1. Surveys

Surveys were used to explore the role of different languages in studying and working at universities and in enterprises in Finland. The surveys were conducted in 2008 among Finnish university students of (about 3500 answers), in 2009 among university staff in Finland (about 3600 answers), and 2010 among Finnish enterprises (about 600 answers). The main result was that German is still the second most important foreign language in academic and business contexts but its use is uncommon compared to English that is used even more frequently than Finland’s second national language (Swedish). Their level of spoken German was judged rather low by the respondents, especially as interactive skills are concerned. Up till now, the results have been published in four MA theses and several papers. The surveys on the role of different languages in academic and business contexts also contribute to the new interdisciplinary network for language education policies in Finland, coordinated by the CALS, with its role to understand multilingualism in the Finnish society.

2. Corpus project

The aim of the corpus project is to collect empirical evidence of the role of German in comparison to Finnish. For this purpose, a corpus on oral academic discourse will be compiled. So far, data have been collected for oral academic German. The data collected in Finland is planned to be integrated into the multilingual GeWiss corpus of the Herder-Institut Leipzig.

At the moment, the GeWiss corpus consists of data for German collected in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and Bulgaria as well as of parallel corpora for English, Polish and Bulgarian. This multilingual and multimodal corpus will be freely searchable for research, teaching and learning purposes. The purpose of the corpus is to provide research-based knowledge on various discourse practices of spoken academic German in different countries in comparison to corresponding practices in the other languages (and particularly in Finnish). The corpus will be of special value for data-driven learning.

Publications

Ylönen, S. (in print). Oral discourse in scientific research. In: Budin, Gerhard; Christer Laurén & John Humbley (Eds.). Language for Special Purposes. An International Handbook. Berlin - New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Ylönen, S. & Heimonen, E. 2017. Universitäten zwischen Mehrsprachigkeit und „international English“ – Sprachideologien und Einstellungen des Personals finnischer Universitäten zu Mehrsprachigkeit und Deutsch. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht 22/2. 9-29.

Heimonen, E. & Ylönen, S. 2017. Monikielisyys vai "English only"? Yliopistojen henkilökunnan asenteet eri kielten käyttöä kohtaan akateemisessa ympäristössä. AFinLA Yearbook 2017. Suomen soveltavan kielitieteen yhdistyksen (AFinLA) julkaisuja n:o 75. Jyväskylä. 72-91.

Hurskainen, M. & Ylönen, S. 2015. Vieraiden kielten oppimismotivaatio: esimerkkinä saksa yliopisto-opiskelijoiden keskuudessaAFinLA Yearbook 2015. Suomen soveltavan kielitieteen yhdistyksen (AFinLA) julkaisuja n:o 73. Jyväskylä. 73-90.

Ylönen, S. 2015. Deutsch als Wissenschaftssprache in Finnland: Disziplinen im Vergleich. In: Szurawitzki, Michael; Busch-Lauer, Ines; Rössler, Paul & Krapp, Reinhard.Deutsch als Wissenschaftssprache - international, interdisziplinär, interkulturell. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempo, 123-136.

Ylönen, Sabine 2015. The position of Finnish and Swedish as well as other languages at universities in Finland. In: Vila i Moreno, F. Xavier & Brexta, Vanessa (Ed.): Language Policy in Higher Education. The Case of Medium-sized Languages. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 64-102.

Ylönen, Sabine 2014. Sprachenpolitik finnischer Universitäten im Zeitalter strategischer Internationalisierung. Demokratie, VAKKI-Symposium XXXIV: Nr. 3 (2014), 209-222.

Ylönen, Sabine 2012. Qualitative und quantitative Methoden datengeleiteten Lernens. In: Ylönen, S. & Reuter, Ewald (Hrsg.). German as a foreign language 2012/2-3. http://www.gfl-journal.de, 75-113.

Ylönen, S. 2012. Internationalisierung der Hochschulen und die Rolle des Deutschen und anderer Fremdsprachen aus finnischer Perspektive. In: Bonner, Withold; Liimatainen, Annikki; Salminen, Olli & Schopp, Jürgen F. (Hrsg.). Deutsch im Gespräch. Berlin: Saxa Verlag, 81-97.

Ylönen, Sabine 2011. Monipuolinen kielitaito on eduksi niin pienten yritysten arkipäivässä kuin akateemisella uralla etenemisessäkin. (Versatile language skills are an advantage in everyday operations of small companies as well as in progressing in an academic career.) Kieli, Koulutus ja yhteiskunta. (Language, Education and Society) Marras-joulukuu (November-December) 2011.

Ylönen, Sabine & Kivelä, Mari 2011. The Role of Languages at Finnish Universities. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, Vol. 5, 3, 2011, 33-61. http://apples.jyu.fi/ArticleFile/download/195

Ylönen, Sabine & Kivelä, Mari 2011. Mehrsprachigkeit und Rolle des Deutschen an Universitäten und Hochschulen in Finnland. In Korhonen, Jarmo & Prinz, Michael (ed.).  Deutsch als Wissenschaftssprache im Ostseeraum - Geschichte und Gegenwart. Akten zum Humboldt-Kolleg an der Universität Helsinki, 27. bis 29. Mai 2010. Reihe "Finnische Beiträge zur Germanistik". Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang, 303-318.

Ylönen, S. 2011. Deutsch als akademische Verkehrssprache. Ergebnisse aus Umfragen unter Studierenden und Universitätspersonal in Finnland. In: Busch-Lauer, Ines & Fiedler, Sabine (toim.). Sprachraum Europa - Alles Englisch oder ...? Berlin: Frank & Timme, 37-57.

Ylönen, Sabine & Vainio, Virpi 2010. Mehrsprachigkeit und Rolle des Deutschen im Studium aus der Sicht finnischer Studierender. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies 4/1 2010, 29-49. http://apples.jyu.fi/article_files/Articles_2010_Ylonen_Vainio.pdf

Ylönen, Sabine & Vainio, Virpi 2010. Mehrsprachigkeit und Rolle des Deutschen im Studium. Ergebnisse einer Online-Befragung in Finnland. Poster

Schneider, Britta & Ylönen, Sabine 2010. The Need for Corpora of spoken German in Academic and Business Settings. In Franz-Josef Deiters, Axel Fliethmann and Christiane Weller. St. Ingbert (ed.). Passagen. 50 Jahre Germanistik an der Monash Universität/Passages. 50 Years of German Studies at Monash University. (=Transpositionen/Transpositions – Australische Studien zur deutschen Literatur, Philosophie und Kultur/Australian Studies in German Literature, Philosophy and Culture 1) Röhrig Universitätsverlag. 789-807.

Ylönen, Sabine & Vainio, Virpi 2009. Akateemisen saksan kielen rooli suomalaisopiskelijoiden näkökulmasta. In Kalliokoski, J., T. Nikko, S. Pyhäniemi & S. Shore (ed.). Puheen ja kirjoituksen moninaisuus - Variationsrikedom i tal och skrift - The Diversity of Speech and Writing. AFinLA Yearbook 2009. Suomen soveltavan kielitieteen yhdistyksen (AFinLA) julkaisuja n:o 67. Jyväskylä. 209-227.

Schneider, Britta & Ylönen, Sabine 2008. Plädoyer für ein Korpus zur gesprochenen deutschen Wissenschaftssprache. Deutsch als Fremdsprache 3/2008: 139-150.

MA Theses

Heimonen, Emmi 2017. ”KAI SITÄ NYT JOTAIN SIVISTYKSEN PUOLIKASTA TÄSSÄKIN LAFKASSA VOISI ESITTÄÄ…”: Spracheinstellungen des Universitätspersonals in Finnland unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rolle des Deutschen. MA thesis. University of Jyväskylä. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-201708303610

Hurskainen, Mari 2014. Motivation zum Deutschlernen - „ainakaan se ei ole hukkaruotsi, vaan edes jotenkin mahdollisesti järkevää". MA thesis. University of Jyväskylä. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-201502111296

Kantanen, Hanna 2011. Sprachen in der Wirtschaft: Eine Umfrage unter finnischen Unternehmen mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rolle des Deutschen. MA thesis. University of Jyväskylä. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-2011041010614

Kivelä, Mari 2010. Zur Rolle von Sprachen an finnischen Hochschulen. Eine Umfrage unter dem Hochschulpersonal. MA thesis. University of Jyväskylä.  http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-201012143164

Vainio, Virpi 2008. Zur Rolle des Deutschen im Studium aus der Sicht von Studierenden in Finnland. Eine Umfrage unter den Studierenden der Universitäten Jyväskylä und Tampere. MA thesis. University of Jyväskylä. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-200901081005