Tvåspråkighet i Tornedalen : sammanfattning och diskussion

Sammanfattning: This report is a summary and a discussion of a research project on bilingualism in Tornedalen. Within the project "Education in sparsely populated areas", financed by the National Board of Education, a number of studies were carried out aiming at giving a description of the present linguistic situation (Swedish/Finnish) of the pupils in the comprehensive school. Another aim was to see if there was any correlation between school achievement and the linguistic abilities of the pupils (Swedish-Finnish) . In this connection the intention was also to develop methods of measurement and to construct tests. The basis of the work was a model originally developed by Spolsky (1974) and had in a broad sense a "sociology of language" approach. The population consisted of all the 354 pupils in grade 4 in the district of Haparanda, Övertorneå and Paj ala. The gathering of data in which combination of different methods such as interviews, observations and testings were used, took place at the turn of the year 1975/76. The results have been published in six reports (nr 78-83) in the series of reports of the Department of Education, Pedagogiska rapporter, Umeå (in Swedish). In this summary the main results are accounted for concerning the pupil's use of language and linguistic knowledge as well as results and marks. The results show that the use of the Finnish language is almost restricted to the home environment. As for the knowledge of Finnish it can be noted that about 40 per cent have active abilities and the rest of the pupils are purely Swedish speaking. The difference between the mentioned groups as regards the other measurements of achievement used were small or insignificant especially if the social background of the pupils was taken into consideration. The main conclusion was that the Finnish language in Tornedalen is decreasing and that in one or two generations probably all the area will be Swedish speaking. The consequences of this are discussed,and the importance of school and education is also dealt with. Suggestions for further research are given such as longitudinal and iterated cross-sectional studies and comparative studies in other bilingual areas. Studies about attitudes to the languages in Tornedalen are suggested as well as intensified work on the developing of methods in bilingual research. Finnally further investigations on the covariation between different factors and school achievement are recommended.