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The Social Status of Languages in Finland and Lithuania

A Plurimethodological Empirical Survey on Language Climate Change

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Edited By Stephan Kessler and Marko Pantermöller

Finland and Lithuania stand for different ways of dealing with societal multilingualism and minority issues. However, in recent years, questions of language policy had been discussed more controversially in both countries. Thus our detailed surveys on Finland and Lithuania focused on how different population groups think about the lingual situation there. This publication presents the researchers’ results from between 2014 and 2016 regarding the attitudes towards the minority and majority languages. Key to the research was an especially developed methodological mixture, including the matched-guise technique. The surveys’ final reports to the German Research Foundation (DFG) are followed by contributions that give more details on the legal status of the languages in Finland and Lithuania or describe the specific features of urban multilingualism there.

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Series editor’s short introduction

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This is the eleventh volume in my book series on Language Competence and Language Awareness in Europe. I am happy that this volume highlights the ideologically and sociologically loaded topic area of language policy. The Baltic Scholar Kessler and the Finno-Ugrian Philologist Pantermöller study language contacts and conflicts within and across the borders of sparsely populated national cultures in Scandinavia (Sweden and Finland), and the Baltics (Lithuania, Estonia). These European Union member states who, according to Eurostat (May 2019), are the member states at the bottom line in population density of all 27 states, went through complex political and social histories during the last hundred years. As a consequence the population is faced with diverse language options within and across their national boundaries: Languages serve different functions, and have a variant status depending on who chooses which communicative code with whom, and in which communicative context. This fringe part of Europe is also of particular interest to systemic contact linguists since languages of different typologies clash into each other in this part of Europe (Indo-European/Germanic and Finno-Ugric/Finnic languages). On top of that we can encounter clashes between less and more demographically powerful national cum regional languages (Swedish versus Finnish; Latvian/Estonian/Lithuanian versus Russian), and modern, or even global versus ancestral languages that characterize the language hub (e.g. English and e.g. Sami).

The volume stem from a project that empirically, and critically researched language policy in the poly-lingual language cultures of Finland and Lithuania. At the core...

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