Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

Master of Arts Zea Kingelin-Orrenmaa

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Humanities, Research Unit of Languages and Literature

Field of study

Nordic Philology

Date and time of the thesis defence

4.10.2019 12:00

Place of the thesis defence

The Swedish school in Tampere, Tampere, Satamakatu 19

Topic of the dissertation

Tampere as a Swedish language island. An ethnographic study of language policy as practices, processes and choices in Swedish spaces in inner Finland


Professor Åsa Palviainen, University of Jyväskylä


Professor Paula Rossi, University of Oulu

Tampere as a Swedish language island. An ethnographic study of language policy as practices, processes and choices in Swedish spaces in inner Finland

In my thesis, I have studied Tampere as a Swedish language island from a sociolinguistic perspective with Bernard Spolsky’s approach to language sociology as the theoretical framework. By ’language policy’ I mean language planning efforts and various forms of both conscious and unconscious linguistic practices which become visible as practices in everyday life on different levels of society. Of all the approximately twenty Swedish clubs, associations and institutions in Tampere, I have focused on two important spaces, namely the institutions Svenska samskolan i Tammerfors (the Swedish school) and Tammerfors svenska församling (the Swedish congregation).

The aim of the study is to find out what kinds of practices, processes and choices are negotiated in these language island communities. I examine the communities both on an institutional and an individual level. My goal is to describe the kind of a language policy the institutions and individuals create and apply in their daily activities. The study is descriptive and aims to illustrate the sociocultural reality of the Swedish language on both the macro and micro levels in a Finnish-speaking majority context.

In the study, I have applied triangulation on the levels of both method and material. I have used various types of data such as questionnaires, field notes, documents, written works, webpages and thematic interviews due to the varying types of the institutions and focus groups. The different materials studied required the application of both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis. In the case of open questions and thematic interviews I have applied content analysis, leading to a process of abstraction.

The results of the study show that the Swedish institutions Svenska samskolan i Tammerfors and Tammerfors svenska församling have over the course of time gone through a change in language policy. This has led to the application of varied linguistic practices in everyday life. Characteristic for the language policy in the Swedish school in the 2010s is language awareness and openness. Characteristic for both institutions studied is interaction between language maintenance efforts and continuous accommodation between Swedish and Finnish in various communicative practices.


Last updated: 25.9.2019