G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
At the nexus of language identity and ideology : becoming and being a highly proficient second language speaker of Finnish (2020)

Ruuska, Katharina (2020). At the nexus of language identity and ideology : becoming and being a highly proficient second language speaker of Finnish. JYU dissertations, 309. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8366-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ruuska, Katharina

eISBN: 978-951-39-8366-6

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 309

Number of pages in the book: 292

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8366-6

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel


This multiple case study focuses on second language speakers of Finnish and their lived experience of everyday language use in Finland. The participants are late multilinguals who moved to Finland and learned Finnish as adults, and have reached a very advanced second language competence in Finnish. Given that such speakers of Finnish are still often considered exceptional, the aim of the study is to explore the complex relationship between ideas about language and the position second language speakers take in the community of Finnish speakers. More specifically, drawing on perspectives from second language research, sociolinguistics and sociology, the study investigates the nexus of language ideologies about Finnish as a second language, processes of identity construction, and linguistic legitimacy. The data were collected over the course of two years and consist of qualitative interviews with twelve participants as well as ethnographic data (additional interviews, observations and recordings in different contexts of everyday life) from four focus participants. The data were analysed from the perspective of the three key concepts of ideology, identity and legitimacy, using tools from nexus analysis and narrative analysis. The study shows how the participants’ identities and practices emerge against the background of language ideologies as well as their previous experiences with language use. In the context of Finland, very advanced second language proficiency in Finnish seems to require careful identity work in social situations, and in attempting to achieve legitimacy as language users, my participants employ a number of different and partly conflicting strategies. The study grants new empirical insights into the experiences of very advanced adult second language speakers of Finnish in Finland. From a theoretical perspective, it introduces the nexus of language, identity and ideology as a novel viewpoint in research on Finnish as a second language and second language research more broadly.

Keywords: Finnish as a second language; language learning; use of language; sociolinguistics; nexus analysis

Free keywords: Finnish as a second language; advanced second language learners; language ideologies; identity; linguistic legitimacy; nexus analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Last updated on 2020-19-11 at 12:57