At the University of Helsinki, Finnish is studied as a native language and a second language among related languages and languages of the world. Research is focused on the structure and meaning of language, its use in various situations and text types, as well as the characteristics of spoken and written Finnish.
Language structure and use
The structure and use of language, as well as its vocabulary, terminology and nomenclature is examined from several perspectives. Grammar and vocabulary are considered contextual constructs that parse meaning. Text and discourse studies analyse, among other things, the significance and changes of various text types and public discourse through linguistic methods. Non-fiction and non-fiction writing comprise a multidisciplinary research subject of their own.
Interaction, variation and multilingualism
Scholars of Finnish examine language variation in Finnish society: the ways in which Finnish is used face-to-face, in writing and in digital environments. Another research subject is everyday multilingualism and different language-learning situations. Interaction studies is one of the research focus areas in Finnish at the University of Helsinki. Authentic discourse situations are analysed to study phenomena such as multimodal interaction (language, physicality and the material surroundings), as well as the relation between grammar and interaction.
Research focuses on changes in vocabulary, language structures, texts and language use through previous centuries to contemporary. This makes it possible to monitor, for example, literarisation in the Finnish-language speech community and the development of Finnish into a comprehensive language supporting society, as well as its current trends in a globalising world.