FSD3615 Language Barometer 2020

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Authors

  • Lindell, Marina (Åbo Akademi University. Social Science Research Institute)

Keywords

Swedish-speaking Finns, customer service, language, language discrimination, language groups, language policy, minority groups, minority language users, public services

Abstract

The Language Barometer has measured the quality of language services in bilingual Finnish municipalities since 2004. The aim of the study was to find out how satisfied minority language speakers in bilingual municipalities were with the services offered in their mother tongue. 36 bilingual municipalities in Finland were included in the study.

The study first examined the respondents' language skills and whether the respondents' children went to a Swedish- or Finnish-language daycare or school. The respondents' use of Swedish, Finnish or both in different types of contexts (e.g. at home, at school, with friends, at the store, with municipal and state authorities, at work) was also investigated. The respondents' familiarity with their linguistic rights was charted, along with how important these rights were for them. They were also asked to evaluate the attitudes towards minority language speakers in the municipality and change in this relationship within the past few years. Harassment or discrimination experienced by the respondents because of their language were also surveyed.

The next set of questions focused on the availability and quality of municipal and state services in the respondents' mother tongue. The respondents were asked to evaluate municipal services (e.g. social and healthcare services, libraries, sports facilities) in their home municipality from the perspective of minority language users. State services (e.g. police, tax offices, emergency response central agency) were also evaluated. For both municipal and state services, the respondents were asked whether the services had developed for the better or for the worse in the previous year, and if special measures should be taken to preserve Swedish-language service in the future. Additionally, the functionality of online municipal and state services in the respondents' mother tongue was charted. Finally, the respondents' reactions in the case that they did not receive service in their own language were surveyed, and the respondents were asked whether they had noticed an increase in the prevalence of English as a customer service language when accessing public services in Finland.

Background variables included the respondent's age (categorised), gender, mother tongue, municipality of residence, level of education, and occupational status.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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