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Browsing by Subject "relational space"

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  • Häkkinen, Sanni (2024)
    Cities are culmination points for linguistic diversities, and the variety of spoken languages is encountered in the everyday urban streetscapes. The coming together of cultures in this sense is an outstanding example of Doreen Massey’s throwntogetherness, the question of our living together. Hearing different languages can be a significant part of the sensory experience of a space, and at the same time a means of making sense of the entire social environment. Linguistic landscapes, i.e. language displays in spaces, have been studied almost predominantly by sociolinguists with a focus on the textual domains, whereas the study of the oral domain has remained limited. In more recent research, the subfield of linguistic soundscapes has aimed at better addressing the rich linguistic varieties in everyday contexts. These linguistic soundscapes are hyper-relational and thus ever-changing, constantly negotiating presences and absences. This thesis focuses on studying the different manifestations that linguistic diversities can take in the soundscape, and at the same time, how these diversities can be captured. Through a case analysis of three linguistically diverse areas in Helsinki, I explore and construct an example of conducting linguistic soundscaping. Following the conceptualisation of linguistic soundscaping, suggested by Scarvaglieri et al. (2013), the analysis builds on both qualitative and quantitative methods. I developed an observation method for capturing diversity on a spatially accurate scale by walking in the streetscape and documenting encountered languages. In doing so, I acted as a mediator in the data collection and produced a quantitative snapshot of possible linguistic diversities one could encounter while walking in the study areas. In addition, I utilised interview transcriptions and thematic analysis to understand how linguistic encounters are perceived. The results suggest that the linguistically diverse case study areas (Aleksanterinkatu, Kauppakartanonkatu and Pihlajamäki) show diversity in the spoken languages, and that the narrated linguistic experiences can come from a complex register of ‘knowing’ that builds on familiarity, linguistic resources and past experiences. The observational method, although considered to be challenging concerning subjectivity, soundscape elements and mobility, could be repeated with the findings of this study especially with additional resources. On the other hand, the differing experienced diversities invite further qualitative research, considering the multiple effects of the immediate surroundings in more detail. At best, systematically documented linguistic soundscapes could support understanding of the overall social diversity beyond register data and provide clues of who are audibly present – and absent – in the public spaces.