Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Markus Mattila, MA graduated from Åbo Akademi tells us about how he makes use of the resource The Suomi 24 Sentences Corpus (2017H2) (beta).
I am Markus Mattila. I graduated last year from Åbo Akademi University with Master’s degrees in Finnish language and English language and literature. I also have a Master of Economic Sciences degree from before. At the moment, I am working as a substitute teacher and planning to take up postgraduate studies.
In my MA thesis in Finnish language, I studied language change, focusing on situational idioms containing possessive suffixes and, to be more precise, the agreement between the possessive suffix and the subject of the clause. In standard usage, the possessive suffix should agree with the subject, as in olen huolissani vs. *olen huolissaan. The research questions investigated in my thesis were:
• How common is the use of non-agreeing possessive suffixes in the first person singular in certain situational idioms?
• Have there been any changes in the proportion of non-agreeing forms – i.e. forms contrary to the usual norms – during the period under investigation in this study?
• Do the studied idioms differ from one another with respect to how common the use of the non-agreeing possessive suffix is?
Based on a pilot study, the expressions selected for further investigation were olla huolissaan [to be worried], olla pahoillaan [to be sorry] and olla innoissaan [to be excited]. In order to answer my research questions, I conducted a corpus study comprising three time periods: 2001—2006, 2007—2011 and 2012—2017. The statistical significance of the results of the study was tested using cross tabulation and Pearson’s χ² / chi-square test.
A corpus-based study was the best possible method for researching such a rare phenomenon. Since language change takes place more often in spoken language than in the more controlled and stable written language, I chose to take my research data from the vast Suomi24 corpus provided by Kielipankki. The corpus consists of all discussions in the discussion forum Suomi24 between 2001 and 2017. These discussions, which are unofficial and written under a pseudonym, are a lot closer to spoken language than texts in official documents, news articles or literature, and are thus a very useful resource for investigating a research topic of this kind.
The specific resource in my research was The Suomi 24 Sentences Corpus (2017H2) (beta) which I first used as a whole to gain an overall picture of the data. After that, I divided the messages into the aforementioned time periods in order to study the possible changes. The corpus data was retrieved with the web based Korp concordancer tool available at Kielipankki, which I found simple and pleasant to use. One factor contributing to this positive experience was the excellent technical support provided, for which I would like once more to express my gratitude to the personnel concerned.
Mattila, M. (2019): Olen pahoillani ja huolissaan” : Tutkimus persoonakongruenssista olotilanilmausidiomeissa Suomi24-korpuksessa 2001–2017, Master’s thesis (Pro gradu). Åbo Akademi. http://www.urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2019062421760
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