University of Oulu

Language use and feelings of confidence of Russian women living in Finland

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Author: Jalkanen, Yuliya1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Pages: 84
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : Y. Jalkanen, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-06-06
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Reviewer: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Karjalainen, Magda
The aim of this study is to explore the implications of language use and linguistic confidence that influence the construction of an individual’s identity and sense of belonging. Hence, the aim is to look for the links between the language use, feelings of confidence and identity, based on the interviews of six women of Russian origin living in Finland. The motivation for this study is based on the researcher’s personal interest and experiences. The thematic choice of this work was inspired by daily communication with Russian speakers in Finland and observations of a variety of perceptions of identity that were manifest in these speakers’ language use. The background of the study is presented in an overview of the history of Russian speakers in Finland, but also by examining the current situation. The theoretical framework encompasses several themes related to language and communication, examined from a multilingual perspective, such as bi- and multilingualism, communicative competence, linguistic confidence and self-perceived confidence, language group membership, identity in linguistic anthropology and cross-cultural adaptation. The data was acquired through six interviews of the research participants whose profile matched the outlined criteria for the study. Those criteria included knowledge of Finnish and Russian languages, as well as duration of stay in Finland not less than 5 years. The age group of participants is between 20 and 30 years. The interviews were conducted in person or via Internet (using Skype) and recorded, then transcribed and translated into English. The participants’ experiences of issues related to their language use of Finnish, Russian and English, social attitudes and self-assessed identity were analysed using phenomenographic research method, which allowed exploring personalised insights concerning the ways that confidence in language use affects identity of an individual. The results based on the analysis are structured in several major themes and illustrated with quotes from the data. These themes include the research participants’ perceptions of their use of different languages, sources of their feelings of confidence, perceptions of their own identity in terms of culture and ethnicity and finally, some further findings that emerged during the actual research process. All the themes were further divided in several sub-themes. The research process produced knowledge about Russian women’s use of different languages and about their perceptions of their own identities as well as about their views of the cultures that they feel they belong to. The events from the past have formed the realities these women live in and affected the attitudes they have towards language, culture and identity. All in all, findings of this research offer a glance into the lives of Russian-speaking women in modern Finland seen through the eyes of the six research participants.
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Copyright information: © Yuliya Jalkanen, 2016. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.