Doctoral Dissertation

1 Dec 2015, M.A. Attila Gyula Kiss (Faculty of Humanities, Hungarian Studies)

Time:

1.12.2015 14:00 — 17:00


Location: Seminaarinmaki , Vanha juhlasali, S212
Release: 1 Dec 2015: Language Ideologies about Learning Historical Minority Languages: Hungarian in Romania and Swedish in Finland (Kiss)
MA Attila Gyula Kiss defends his doctoral dissertation in Hungarian Studies "Language Ideologies about Learning Historical Minority Languages: Hungarian in Romania and Swedish in Finland". Opponent Professor Juliet Langman (University of Texas at San Antonio) and custos Adjunct Professor, Postdoctoral Researcher Petteri Laihonen (University of Jyväskylä).

Attila KissM.A. Attila Gyula Kiss defends his doctoral dissertation in Hungarian Studies "Language Ideologies about Learning Historical Minority Languages: Hungarian in Romania and Swedish in Finland". Opponent Professor Juliet Langman (University of Texas at San Antonio) and custos Adjunct Professor, Postdoctoral Researcher Petteri Laihonen (University of Jyväskylä). Defense will be in English.

This article-based dissertation examines the problems of learning, teaching, and organizing adult education on minority languages in a collection of four articles (Kiss 2015a; 2015b; 2013; 2012), and this summary. My PhD dissertation addresses the question of teaching and learning historical minority languages by the majority population in voluntary settings both from a theoretical and a practical viewpoint. The original point of departure for my dissertation was to present an image of Hungarian language learning in Romania, where I initiated teaching Hungarian to Romanian speakers in 2009. Later, I followed my course participants into a Study Abroad context to the Debrecen Summer School. Finally, a comparative perspective from a distance (Finns learning Swedish in a voluntary setting) was included in order to reframe and generalize on my findings from the Hungarian context. My data consists of ethnographic observations, interviews, and various materials gathered during fieldwork in these three sites: Nagyvárad/Oradea (Romania), Debrecen (Hungary), and Jyväskylä (Finland). My research combines several qualitative, sociolinguistic approaches and methods: language ideologies, ethnography, discourse analysis, and nexus analysis. All of them are needed to combine the parts of my dissertation. However, the approach of studying language ideologies is present in all four articles and it is therefore very important for my work. Historical discourses of the other bear resemblances both in Romania and Finland. The grievance narratives have been passed down through generations and they hinder openness towards the learning of a historical minority language. However, the contemporary socio-cultural context in both cases can favor the learning of a historical minority language. In the future, a general language ideological reorientation of historical metanarratives is necessary. That is, by learning and acknowledging the other’s perspective of history and linguistic belonging, we can focus on shared history and multilingual practices instead of nation-state antagonisms and monolingual preferences.

Keywords: language ideologies, learning historical minority languages, discourse analysis, adult learning, voluntary learning, study abroad, Hungarian, Swedish, ethnography

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Attila Kiss

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attilagyulakiss@yahoo.com