10.02.2015
Doctoral Dissertation

M.A. Taina Tammelin-Laine (Faculty of Humanities, Finnish language)

Time:

21.2.2015 12:00 — 15:00


Location: Seminaarinmaki , Old festival hall, S212
Release: 21 Feb 2015: Let’s start from the beginning. Non-literate adults learning a new language (Tammelin-Laine)
M.A. Taina Tammelin-Laine defends her doctoral dissertation in Finnish language ”Let’s start from the beginning. Non-literate adults learning a new language”. Opponent Adjunct Professor Maria Kela (University of Helsinki) and custos Professor Maisa Martin (University of Jyväskylä).

Taina Tammelin-Laine. Photographer: Marja Polkko/Naantalin kuvausM.A. Taina Tammelin-Laine defends her doctoral dissertation in Finnish language ”Let’s start from the beginning. Non-literate adults learning a new language”. Opponent Adjunct Professor Maria Kela (University of Helsinki) and custos Professor Maisa Martin (University of Jyväskylä).

 

Let’s start from the beginning. Non-literate adults learning a new language

This doctoral research explores the development of Finnish skills in five immigrant women during their first period of training in Finnish language and literacy, which lasted approximately ten months. The focus is on not only the development of oral and written language skills but also possible relationships between the two. Additionally, the study discusses other features, such as phonological working memory, which affect second language learning.

At the beginning of the data collection, the participants had no literacy skills in any language and very low oral skills in Finnish. While many studies have been published describing the learning of L2 Finnish by literate adult learners, hardly any research is available on how non-literate adults learn Finnish. This study will expand our knowledge of SLA and will add research-based knowledge which can be used both for pedagogical and resource-related decision-making and for other research in the field of second language learning.

Because the goal was to obtain as broad a view as possible of the topic, the research design included several different methods. The research task was divided into four sub-studies, each focusing on a different aspect of second language learning. The data collection methods that were used were: participant observation in the classroom, language tests specially designed for this study, and language tests used during the language and literacy training. The results of the sub-studies are presented in the four original papers on which this dissertation is based.

The findings show that during the observation period the participants’ oral language skills developed faster than their written language skills, which was predictable for non-literate adult learners. Their writing skills developed particularly slowly. Additionally, the findings suggest that there is a relationship between the development of oral language skills and reading skills, although this is not unambiguous. The study shows that not all of the adults participating in language and literacy training achieve basic oral and written skills in Finnish within ten months.

Keywords: Finnish as a second language, second language learning, oral skills, written skills, non-literacy, adult education

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Humanities, number 240, 95 p., Jyväskylä 2014, ISSN: 1459-4323; 240, ISBN 978-951-39-5996-8, ISBN 978-951-39-5997-5 (PDF). It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, tel. +358 40 805 3825, myynti@library.jyu.fi.

More information

Taina Tammelin-Laine

None

taina.a.tammelin-laine@jyu.fi