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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 post-war language struggle (1945–66) to counter the sociolinguistic experiment of 1938

The post-war language struggle (1945–66) to counter the sociolinguistic experiment of 1938

(p.127) Chapter 7 The post-war language struggle (1945–66) to counter the sociolinguistic experiment of 1938
Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

Ernst Håkon Jahr

Edinburgh University Press

The supporters of pre-1938-Bokmål could not accept that standard Bokmål no longer allowed every upper-class oral form (like it did before). They resented the political aims of the Labour party – to develop a pan-Norwegian standard through the promotion in writing of speech forms shared by a vast majority of the Norwegian people. The pre-1938-Bokmål supporters saw their struggle as a fight for linguistic freedom and for what they termed a ‘free language development’. The language struggle of the 1950s was intense. Even though the Riksmål (pre-1938-Bokmål) advocates at the time did not understand that their cause was steadily winning ground, the high level of activity and the vast resources employed by business and private persons paid off in the long run. The repeated attacks on the official language policy caused the party of government, the Labour party, gradually to see its identification with the pan-Norwegian policy as a negative factor. In the long run the sociolinguistic experiment of 1938 proved difficult to defend. An official ‘Language Peace Commission’ recommended 1966 that upper-class forms which were made non-standard in 1938 should again be part of standard Bokmål. This marked the end of the sociopolitical period of language planning (1917-66).

Keywords:   sociopolitical period, language struggle, ‘free language development’, Language Peace Commission, Pan-Norwegian, Pan-Norwegian policy, Riksmål

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