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Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic ExperimentThe Case of Modern Norwegian$
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Ernst Jahr

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637829

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637829.001.0001

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The Emergence Of A Socialist Theory Of Language Planning: A Sociolinguistic Experiment

The Emergence Of A Socialist Theory Of Language Planning: A Sociolinguistic Experiment

(p.101) Chapter 6 The Emergence Of A Socialist Theory Of Language Planning: A Sociolinguistic Experiment
Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

Ernst Håkon Jahr

Edinburgh University Press

The social dimension of the conflict between Riksmål and Landsmål up to1917 was introduced and parallelled within Riksmål itself with the introduction, in the 1917 reform, of low-status dialect forms , which would be optional to the individual writer, into the standard. The political turmoil following the 1917 reforms made it obvious that the nationalist ideology of the previous period was insufficient as a basis for the development of one amalgamated written standard. What was needed was a theory of language planning aimed at crossing the sociolinguistic borderline between popular and upper-class speech. This theory was supplied by the Labour party, which promoted the ‘People’s Language’. This concept was meant to cover the core of all popular dialects, on which a pan-Norwegian (Samnorsk) standard could be based. If successful, this (future) standard would represent all varieties of spoken popular speech (but excluding upper-class speech). A demotion of upper-class speech was necessary for a new pan-Norwegian standard to emerge. This policy was carried through by the reforms of Bokmål and Nynorsk of 1938. A daring sociolinguistic experiment was inherent in the reform.

Keywords:   Bokmål, Nynorsk, People’s Language, sociolinguistic experiment, reform of 1938, Pan-Norwegian, Samnorsk

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