G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
”Suomi sydämessä” : saksansuomalaisten Suomi-koulun oppilaiden, heidän vanhempiensa ja opettajiensa käsityksiä Suomesta, suomen kielestä ja Suomi-koulusta (2020)

Imppola, L. (2020). ”Suomi sydämessä” : saksansuomalaisten Suomi-koulun oppilaiden, heidän vanhempiensa ja opettajiensa käsityksiä Suomesta, suomen kielestä ja Suomi-koulusta [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 201. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8105-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Imppola, Leila

eISBN: 978-951-39-8105-1

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 201

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8105-1

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This study explores beliefs held by German-Finnish learners, parents and teachers about Finland and the Finnish language in the context of a Finnish Language School – Suomi-koulu (later: Language School). Language Schools are non-profit organizations supported by the Finnish National Board of Education. The purpose of a Language School is to offer Finnish descent children and adolescents an opportunity to preserve their Finnish language and introduce them to Finnish culture. The beliefs were examined with a broad interpretation of the socio-cultural theoretical perspective, according to which beliefs are constructed in interaction with a community. The data included questionnaire responses by 56 students, 57 parents and 22 teachers, interviews of eight students, ten parents and five teachers, as well as linguistic portrait drawings by participants. Five learners also wrote autobiographical essays. Using the data, beliefs were investigated as transmitted to the second and third generation of German Finns in their homes and at the Language School. The material included both qualitative and quantitative data. The main focus of the research was on qualitative data, which was analyzed by using qualitative content analysis. The results indicated that all participants in the study emphasized the role of the Language School as a community that expanded their possibilities of using Finnish in everyday life. For the learners, the Language School provided an opportunity to make Finnish-speaking friends and to use and practice Finnish outside of their homes. In conclusion, learners appreciated their language skills, their Finnish backgrounds, multilingualism and the role of the Language School in developing their Finnish language skills. The parents appreciated the peer support they received in the Language School community. The teachers valued the opportunity to use their professional skills in their mother tongue. Beliefs about the Finnish language were reflected in the expectations for the Language School. Some parents expected high level development of the children’s language skills, while some other parents were happy that their children had an opportunity to join the Finnish community. Both learners and parents expressed their hopes for a more results-oriented approach. The results provide grounds to consider how the Language School could be further developed. The results showed that learners have exhibited having language skill and they have a sense of belonging to the Finns. Such young people can, if they so wish and have the opportunity, be recourses to the Finnish society.

Keywords: Finnish schools outside Finland; multilingualism; sociocultural factors; expatriate Finns; Finnish Germans; mother tongue; languages

Free keywords: Saksa

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:34