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Societal support for the educational provisions of Finnish in the Swedish school system in theory and practice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch, and German, Finnish.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9439-1230
2019 (English)In: Language Policy, ISSN 1568-4555, E-ISSN 1573-1863, Vol. 18, no 3, p. 363-385Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Language policy has an impact both on societies and on individuals, especially in contexts where negative ideologies toward minorities and minority languages may exist. A functional language policy protects a minority and allows it to develop its culture and language, while an ineffective policy might cause irreparable damage and lead to language attrition and even complete loss of language. The development of Finnish in Sweden from a language policy perspective has been fairly positive since the mid-1990s, especially when it comes to the establishment and strengthening of the legal and regulatory support in international conventions and domestic legislation. Despite these improvements there have been practical negative developments, which are symbolised in the closing down of a bilingual independent school in Gothenburg in 2016. The closing of the schools signal opposing tendencies in the treatment of Finnish in Sweden. In this paper I will examine how supranational and national language policies are implemented locally in Gothenburg and how this implementation reveals how well the policies function and what role ideologies play in the implementation. I discuss how different levels of policymaking and application contribute to the current status of the Sweden Finnish minority and Sweden Finnish as a minority language by employing Richard Ruiz’s three orientations to language planning (Ruiz 1984; Hult and Hornberger 2016) in tandem with Irvine & Gal’s concept of erasure and critical discourse analysis. I exemplify how the language policies work by studying interviews and media reporting from the field. I examine how the different discourses are in conflict with each other and what ramifications these discrepancies result in.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 18, no 3, p. 363-385
Keywords [en]
Language policy Critical discourse analysis, Language rights, Bilingual education, Sweden Finnish minority
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics; Language Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164448DOI: 10.1007/s10993-018-9491-5ISI: 000474385000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164448DiVA, id: diva2:1279353
Available from: 2019-01-16 Created: 2019-01-16 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved

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