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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Ed. by Fishman, Joshua A. / García Otheguy, Ofelia

6 Issues per year

ERIH category 2011: INT2



Toward Trilingual Education in Vaasa/Vasa, Finland

Siv Björklund1


Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2005, Issue 171, Pages 23–40, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/ijsl.2005.2005.171.23, July 2005

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Published Online:


This paper discusses trilingual education in Swedish, Finnish, and English in the bilingual city of Vaasa/Vasa in Finland. The introduction provides background information about the sociolinguistic situation and the role of languages in education in Finland. Then the paper focuses on Vaasa/Vasa where a Swedish immersion program for Finnish-speaking monolingual children started in 1987. Gradually, the teaching of foreign languages (mainly English and German) has introduced a more content-based approach and the positive impact of this methodological approach has been related to the success of immersion programs. The paper goes on to report the results of some research studies comparing oral and written production in English by immersion and non-immersion students. In these small-scale studies it has been found that immersion students are more advanced users of English. In the last section of the paper some data about the positive attitudes of students toward learning English are discussed.

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