The CoE’s research focus is intersubjectivity, the achievements and maintenance of mutual understanding in the context of human interaction. The CoE is home to a multilingual and multidisciplinary community of researchers specialising in linguistics, social sciences and speech science. The common denominator in the work is ethnomethodological conversation analysis. In addition, the CoE applies the tools of interactional linguistics, construction grammar, psycho-physiological methods and the study of gestures.
Much of the research is handwork. The main research method applied is conversation analysis, that is, to specify the ways in which mutual understanding is achieved through construction, identification and interpretation of actions and sequences of actions. Another research focus is on how the structures of language have gradually evolved to serve mutual understanding. Making comparisons is the key issue in studies of mutual understanding in language contacts.
Using the CoE’s extensive collections of audio and video recordings of different types of interaction situations, the aim is to find answers to three main questions: First, the CoE is interested in how mutual understanding is reached in interaction through the construction, identification and interpretation of actions and sequences of actions. Second, the aim is to describe in detail how structures of language support the achievement of mutual understanding among the parties to interaction. The third area of focus is the role of emotions in social interaction. The main focus is on Finnish and Finland Swedish.
Professor Marja-Leena Sorjonen
University of Helsinki
tel. +358 9 191 22893
Site of research: University of Helsinki