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university of tampere: faculty of communication sciences: research: plural: research programmes:
Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Communication Sciences

Language in Society

The Plural Research Programme of the Research Centre for Language, Translation and Literature at the University of Tampere analyses human language as a manifestation of social phenomena. Its research activities are mainly concerned with sociolinguistic research on the one hand and the analysis of language structures and vocabulary on the other.

It is practically impossible to draw a line between sociolinguistic variation on one side and language structures and vocabulary on the other, because they are closely linked with each other. Variation research is typically based on the analysis of linguistic structures, whereas the study of language structures is often focused on social aspects. To give an example, in the analysis of language change, the research on language structures and the analysis of structural variation merge perfectly and offer a comprehensive picture of the object of study. Translation research is also, to an important extent, connected with the study of language as a social phenomenon and with linguistic structures and vocabulary.

Plural organises international conferences, seminars and colloquia on its main research issues on a regular basis. Internal staff meetings give the School’s researchers and doctoral students an opportunity to discuss and develop research methods, ideas and joint projects.

Language Variation

The main line of sociolinguistic research in this programme is focused on multiple themes. Among others, let us mention regional and social variation of human languages, the diminishing language reserve, deteriorating mother tongue skills, the language problems of immigrants, and the elements of judicial and administrative translation and interpreting.

Research into language variation and the formation based on variation theme benefits greatly from the extensive methodological competence of the School’s researchers. Scientific collaboration offers also excellent opportunities for a far more widespread use of the important existing databases. The main scope of collaboration is to create, through theoretical and empirical dialogue, new theoretical frameworks and new scientific approaches to the relationship between language variation and social change.
The dialogue between the School’s researchers, doctoral students and instructors is encouraged by the various activities of the programme. These activities make it easier to exploit research results in undergraduate teaching. The study of linguistic variation conducted at the School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies contributes to the strengthening of the relationship between the University and the surrounding region. The elaboration of language testing criteria of physicians who have completed their studies outside Finland, the research into judicial interpreting and the study of spoken language changes in the Tampere region serve as excellent examples of this relationship.

Language Structures and Vocabulary

The Plural Research Centre for Language, Translation and Literature comprises four different sections. One of these sections is engaged in a variety of research projects on language structures and vocabulary. Important research on both an international and a national level is currently being conducted into a number of languages, including Finnish, Swedish, English, French, German, Russian, Estonian, Spanish and the Samoyedic languages.

The research work on language structures and vocabulary is focused on the description of linguistic mechanisms, on language change and on the study of the lexicon of specific fields. The research subjects are diverse, covering fields such as phonetic surveys, the acquisition of pre- and protomorphology, and the comparative grammar of Samoyedic languages. Almost all sub-disciplines of linguistic investigation are represented in the research activity of the School.

The variety of languages and research topics provides an excellent opportunity for comparative and typological research on a diachronic as well as on a synchronic level, serving as a platform for wide-ranging cooperation between the School’s researchers.

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Last update: 12.12.2012 12.45 Muokkaa

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