”It is a huge wealth with languages and cultures” : Administrative Municipalities and Minority Languages in Sweden

University essay from Umeå universitet/Kulturgeografi

Author: Hampus Forsman; [2015]

Keywords: ;

Abstract:

This thesis will focus on the seven Swedish administrative municipalities that administer at least two of the three official minority languages in Sweden. Those languages are Finnish Meänkieli (Torne Valley Finnish) and Saami languages and all of these languages are territorially bound to the northernmost area in Sweden. The thesis depart from a new law (SFS 2009:724) that went into practice in 2010. The new law is based on new directives from the European Council to promote and protect regional- and minority languages which is part of a change of paradigm where the value of minority languages has been emerging. This will be investigated by using the ecology of languages-theory which is both described in a global setting and in the Swedish context as well. Language planning is also included to illustrate what is needed to increase status for minority languages. The data collection method for this thesis has been interviews where minority language officials from all seven municipalities included in this thesis are represented.

                      From this thesis it become evident that the language planning theory is important when studying this subject. To some extent also the ecology of language theory can be applied regarding these issues on minority languages in the Swedish setting. The respondents in this thesis only had positive opinions on the new legislation even though there are some things which could develop. For instance the respondents said that they could see minorities that have become more proud and willing to show their minority language and culture. Some of the most important conclusions from this thesis are that an overall perspective is important for the minority languages. Also, the majority population should get the opportunity to understand the minority situation and learn about their language and culture.

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