Language and Society

The research group Language and Society works with the role of language in social group formation and how social categories and processes affect language. In particular, we examine language and language users in Danish society.

The methods are quantitative, qualitative, experimental and ethnographic, often in combination with each other. The researchers draw on different theoretical perspectives, both in terms of understandings of what 'language' is and understandings of what 'society' is but share a view that society is created not least through language.

In Denmark, Danish, English, and a host of other languages are used. Furthermore, the variation within these languages is characterized by great variety. The research group looks at different forms of diversity – within and across language users and languages. The research group thus examines language as both an ideological phenomenon, an interactional phenomenon and in the form of variable linguistic features. All three of these dimensions are relevant to the formation of social groups and to the construction of social meaning.

The group brings together researchers with a background in dialectology, multilingualism research, gender research, functional linguistics, language psychology.


Linguistic structure, variation and change

Under the heading Linguistic structure, variation and change we examine pronunciation and grammar, primarily in Danish, for instance how phonological and grammatical structures vary with social, demographic and geographic factors, and how grammar and pronunciation changes over time. We study both new and old ’dialects’, and we examine how language is used in urban and peripheral areas.

Language, languaging and socialisation

Language, languaging and socialisation focuses on what happens when individuals experience and internalise evaluations and behavior through interaction with the surrounding world, e.g. with regard to what counts as ’correct’ and ’incorrect’ language. Language socialisation are processes whereby individuals come to learn about expectations, repertoires, and requirements through language. The concept of languaging points to the creative use of language resources commonly thought to belong to different languages.

Language and media

When we examine Language and media, we carry out linguistic/semiotic analyses of how people use and understand media. This concerns traditional printed or broadcast media as well as modern digital social media. We also look at the role of the media in language socialisation and in language use, language change and the creation of different communication cultures.

Linguistic ideology, stereotypes and norms

Within the area Linguistic ideology, stereotypes and norms, we look at how linguistic ideologies and norms emerge, and how they affect individuals, groups and society. People regulate their own and others' language use, and stereotypical perceptions are created and maintained in social groups and through linguistic interaction. This has consequences for linguistic norms and for perceptions of people based on linguistic differences.

Language, nation and globalization

The connection between language and nation is a strong ideological construct. Within the area Language, nation and globalization we focus on how this ideology is on the one hand destabilized by globalization processes and on the other hand strengthened through national ideologies. We also look at the significance of nation-building and globalization for language use, linguistic ideologies and language policy in both Danish and post-colonial contexts.

Language, place and mobility

The research area Language, place and mobility has gained new relevance as a result of globalization. We explore, for example, how new understandings of dialect and linguistic variation can be described and understood in globalized contexts, where individuals' historical and contemporary attachment to places exists in parallel with migration and geographical and social mobility.

Linguistic diversity in Denmark

The ideology of one-people/one-language-/one-nation is strong in Denmark. At the same time, most Danes are multilingual to some extent, and hundreds of languages are spoken in addition to Danish. We study, for example, the role of other languages than Danish, how these languages are handled institutionally, and how multilingual Danes use their languages.





Name Title Phone E-mail
Ag, Astrid Associate Professor +4535328486 E-mail
Diderichsen, Philip Special Consultant +4535324189 E-mail
Jensen, Torben Juel Associate Professor +4535328495 E-mail
Jørgensen, Anna Kai PhD Fellow +4535326242 E-mail
Karrebæk, Martha Sif Professor +4535329400 E-mail
Kirilova, Marta Associate Professor +4535330329 E-mail
Larsen, Anne PhD Fellow +4535324837 E-mail
Madsen, Lian Malai Professor +4535328319 E-mail
Maegaard, Marie Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535328496 E-mail
Monka, Malene Associate Professor +4535323254 E-mail
Mortensen, Kristine Køhler Associate professor, Head of Studies +4535328270 E-mail
Møller, Janus Spindler Associate Professor +4535335742 E-mail
Nilsson, Hanna Birkelund PhD Fellow +4535326229 E-mail
Pharao, Nicolai Associate Professor +4535328647 E-mail
Quist, Pia Professor +4535328513 E-mail
Scheuer, Jann Associate Professor +4535328502 E-mail
Stæhr, Andreas Candefors Associate Professor +4535335747 E-mail
Thøgersen, Jacob Associate Professor +4535335749 E-mail

Affiliated researchers

  • Lillelund-Holst, Aleksandra Culap 

Head of research group