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 Kaisa Pankakoski

Kaisa Pankakoski

Research student, School of Welsh

After completing a four-year undergraduate degree in European Studies at the University of Portsmouth I gained a Master’s degree in International Journalism at Cardiff University. My dissertation titled Euroscepticism in Britain and Finland: attitudes and print media since accession (awarded distinction) looked at the two countries’ different histories and societies leading to different cultures of euroscepticism in a comparative analysis.

I spent ten years working as a freelance researcher, journalist, writer and translator in Wales, Finland and Chile before returning to academia in 2015. I am now a PhD candidate at the School of Welsh, researching trilingual children.

My current research focuses on sociolinguistic aspects of early second or third language acquisition; trilingual first language acquisition; children's attitudes; intergenerational language transmission; and Family Language Policy of multilingual families.

I am truly grateful for the PhD funding awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education, the Philological Society, Funds for women graduates and the Finnish Section of the Nordic Federation of Public Administration.

Professional memberships


A comparative study of trilingual families in Helsinki and Cardiff: intergenerational language transmission methods, influential factors for development of languages and children's perspectives

The thesis investigates trilingual children in two bilingual societies' capital cities, Helsinki and Cardiff.

Observations, interviews and self-administered questionnaires are conducted to answer the following questions:

  • What are the intergenerational minority language transmission methods of potentially trilingual families?
  • What other factors, including sociocultural challenges and support; children's language acquisition constellation; parental attitudes and background, influence minority or heritage language learning and trilingual language transmission in Helsinki and Cardiff?
  • What are the children's perceptions of acquiring their three first languages? Is there a link between families' strategies - including the possible extended families - and children's attitudes and/or active use of languages? Are there language strategies or factors that will have a more positive influence on trilingual children's perceptions and therefore motivation?

The methodological approach draws from qualitative, ethnographic approaches to data collection and analysis. For the purpose of getting qualitative data of trilingual families, a cross-cultural, comparative multiple-case study design was chosen. Applying the principle of triangulation, traditionally used in social sciences, offers more valid research data.

It is anticipated that the research results will detail factors that influence early transmission of three languages; multilingual children’s perspectives; family language strategies; perceptions about the autochthonous minority language and possible heritage language; families' barriers; and comparison of the two cities' trilingual families.

Articles regarding the research project

Cardiff University: Research student set for Finnish adventure

The BBC: Byw mewn tair iaith

PhilSoc Blog Entry: Trilingual families in bilingual capital cities

Golwg: Magu plant mewn tair iaith yng Nghymru a'r Ffindir

Research interests

Multilingualism, trilingualism, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, linguistics, sociology of language and second language acquisition.