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Pluricentric Languages and Non-Dominant Varieties Worldwide

Part I: Pluricentric Languages across Continents. Features and Usage


Edited By Rudolf Muhr

This is the first of two thematically arranged volumes with papers that were presented at the "World Conference of Pluricentric Languages and their non-dominant Varieties" (WCPCL). It comprises papers about 20 PCLs and 14 NDVs around the world. The second volume encompasses a further 17 papers about the pluricentricity of Portuguese and Spanish. The conference was held at the University of Graz (Austria) on July 8th-11th 2015. The papers fall into five categories: (1) Theoretical aspects of pluricentricity and the description of variation; (2) Different types of pluricentricity in differing environments; (3) African pluricentric languages and non-dominant varieties; (4) The pluricentricity of Arabic and Asian languages; (5) The pluricentricity of European languages inside Europe (Austrian German, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Hungarian, Belgium Dutch, French, Greek, Swedish, Russian).

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Swedish on the Åland islands: A non-dominant yet dominating variety



This paper examines the current language situation on the Åland islands. Åland is a Swedish-speaking autonomous province in Finland. Finland has two national languages: Finnish and Swedish. The Swedish-speaking population in Finland is about 291,000 or 5.3% of the total population (Statistics Finland, end-2014). In Åland, however, Swedish is spoken by 88% of the inhabitants (ÅSUB 2015a). This study discusses the language situation in Åland in terms of attitudes, identity, political circumstances and language use by drawing on existent research as well as the results of a written pilot questionnaire about the Åland residents’ everyday language use. The overall finding is that the citizens of Åland have a very strong Åland identity and that the Swedish language is a prominent factor contributing to this identity. The language situation on the Åland islands is rare in that a non-dominant variety, in a country with two national languages, is strikingly dominant.

1.   Introduction

The language situation on the Åland islands is rare and maybe even unique, especially from a pluricentric point of view. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the language conditions on the Åland islands through both a descriptive and an empirical part. The study is a sub-project within the research programme Interaction and Variation in Pluricentric Languages – Communicative Patterns in Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish (IVIP)1. Within the programme, researchers from Finland and Sweden explore Swedish as a pluricentric language, i.e. a language with national and/or official...

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