Research at the Department of German

The Department of German trains language experts and conducts research on language, culture and translation. One of the central research topics in the department is the German language and multilingualism in Finland. In the strategy of the University of Turku, the central lines of research include cultural memory and societal change, as well as themes connected with children, youth and learning.

In the past few years, the research activities of the department have focused on the following areas: 

  • research on language learning and language teaching 
  • research on the grammar of the German language
  • research on German philology and research traditions
  • translation and interpretation
  • multilingualism in society.

The Department of German is a member in the international FI-DACH research network.

Detailed information about previous and current research at the School of Languages and Translation Studies language can be found in the individiual profiles of our researchers in the Research Portal.

Research projects

Linguistic effects of industry

How do international or multinational industrial corporations influence their production locations as language communities? This question is investigated in an ongoing study on industrial labor migration and on the languages and dialects ​​that industry experts, workers and their families bring along. The study provides new insights into the multilingualism of industrial communities, for example, by examining the coexistence of speakers of different languages ​​in the language community, attitudes to language, traces of migration in linguistic landscapes, and language planning by different institutions.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Leena Kolehmainen

DILALEA: Diversity of heritage language learning settings in Finland

 

The project DILALEA, "Monikielisten lasten ja nuorten oman kielen oppimisen ympäristöt (Diversity of heritage language learning settings in Finland", 2018) is a new research project with the project leadership at the Department of German.

How and in which settings prior languages of migrant students are learned in Finland? What kind of factors influence heritage language learning in schools and families? These are questions in focus of our research project DILALEA (Diversity of Heritage Language Learning Settings in Finland). We aim to find out up-to-date information on present-day heritage language learning in Finnish schools and on language policies concerning multilingual families. Based on our findings, we will develop new ways of learning prior languages, find solutions for supporting multilingual families, and offer research based information for Finnish authorities that provide heritage language learning in Finnish schools.

For more information: Minna Maijala

 

The project “Languages in the Kakola prison”

The Turku remand prison (formerly the Central prison in the Turku and Pori Province, founded in 1890) was located on the Turku Kakola hill until 2007.  The Turku remand prison housed Finnish inmates from the Turku and Pori Province as well as foreign prisoners who waited for their case to be processed, for their sentencing, as well as for any further measures. The research project aims to bring out new information about foreign prisoners, especially those of German nationality. The study covers a period that extends from 1914 to the present.

The research project paves the way for the study of "turning points" in the Finnish history from the perspective of linguistic diversity. Its results complete our understanding of changes in the Finnish legal culture. Furthermore, an interesting contribution to our understanding of cultural history can be expected from results concerning our understanding of the influence of German people and German culture in the Turku area at the beginning of the 20th century.

Contact person: PD Dr. phil. Doris Wagner

A Cognitive Grammar perspective on cross-linguistic influence

The aim of this project is to investigate the influence of the native language (L1) on a second language (L2) in the expression of temporal relationships from a purely cognitive perspective. The project focuses on the development of a new theoretical approach to exploring and identifying cross-linguistic influence in the expression of temporal relationships.  Using cognitive linguistics to addressing cross-linguistic influence allows for a fine-graded analysis of how L2 development is shaped by the L1.  The languages under investigation include English, German, and Finnish.

Research funding: Koneen Säätiö (since 2017)

Contact: Franka Kermer, PhD

Mourning in animal cemeteries

This project examines animal cemeteries in five different areas in Germany. The focus lies on the verbalization of grief. Furthermore, animal names and indications of multilingualism on the grave markers are analyzed. The aim is to describe the structures and the individuality of the local mourning cultures and to compare them with similar phenomena in other areas of Germany. As the next step, the findings from the animal cemeteries are compared with findings on human graves to identify differences and similarities. A comparison with Finnish animal cemeteries is in planning.

For further information, please contact Doris Wagner, PhD

Die Trauer auf Tierfriedhöfen

In diesem Projekt werden Tierfriedhöfe aus fünf verschiedenen Gegenden Deutschlands untersucht. Der Schwerpunkt liegt auf der Versprachlichung der Trauer. Des Weiteren werden die Tiernamen analysiert sowie die Mehrsprachigkeit auf den Grabzeichen. Ziel ist, Strukturen und Individualität der Trauerkultur herauszufinden und sie mit anderen Gegenden Deutschlands zu vergleichen. Im nächsten Schritt werden die Befunde der Tierfriedhöfe mit Humangräbern verglichen, um Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten herauszufinden. Ein Vergleich mit finnischen Tierfriedhöfen ist ebenfalls geplant.

Für weitere Informationen kontaktieren Sie bitte Doris Wagner, PhD

Recent publications