Finnish in the Wild


The purpose of this project is to investigate how participation in everyday social interactions enhances learning Finnish as a second language. Teaching of Finnish as a second language has been criticized for overemphasizing structures and for forgetting about the real life outside classrooms, i.e. teaching the second language as a foreign one. Research analyzing how Finnish is learned in everyday interactions – “in the wild”- is very limited at the moment.

The aims of this project are 1) to study how participation and exploration of every interaction in various social situations can be used to support second language learning, and 2) to develop systematic pedagogical methods that bridge the gap between learning in the classroom and participating in the community. The project is situated at the intersection of usage based and social interactional approaches to L2 learning (CA-SLA, in particular) and informed by design-based research.

The project is carried out at the Language Campus of the University of Jyväskylä and at the School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies at the University of Tampere, Finland. The data for the project comes from “learning-in-the-Wild” activities designed for courses focusing on conversational Finnish. These courses were taught at the Language Centre of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and they were aimed at students who had basic skills in spoken Finnish. The activities were designed following the sit-talk-sit model developed in the Swedish Språkskap-project.

Currently, the project team is investigating two interrelated phenomena: the use of smart phones and the role of reported speech in language learning activities. The findings will contribute to a better understanding on the co-constructed nature of language learning activities in and outside of classrooms. On the basis of the findings the team will develop teaching materials and systematic pedagogical practices to bridge the gap between learning a language in classrooms and “real life” language use situations.