Historiske processer som forklaringer på forandringer i virkelig tid: Danmark som eksempel

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

Frans Gregersen - Lecturer

  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics

In this paper, we want to focus on explanations. We take it as a fact that the Danish speech community has gone through a dialect levelling process during the previous century (Pedersen 2003) resulting in the present day situation where traditional local dialects have vanished while regional differences reside mainly in intonation. In spite of this apparent linguistic uniformity, Danes have no problem in recognizing a regional lect as witnessed by attitude tests from all over the country (Kristiansen 2006, 2003). Thus, what we have to explain are the following facts:

dialect levelling has resulted in minuscule differences between lectsattitude tests show a remarkable unity of opinion throughout the Danish speech community with Copenhagen speech rated as the most prestigious lect whenever subconscious attitudes are elicitedchanges in the speech community have uniformly been towards the spread of Copenhagen features

We propose that at least the following historical processes shaping the present Danish society are relevant:

urbanization and the historical dominance of Copenhagenthe special characteristics of industrialization in Denmarkchanges in socialization practices


The argument will involve two steps. First, we will demonstrate that a possible influence exists from the historical processes to the sociolinguistic facts, both language use and language attitudes. Next, we will by way of comparison with the other Nordic countries evaluate the proposal. If the Danish situation can be shown to be demonstrably different both as to specific historical processes and their suggested outcome, this is corroborating evidence.



Pedersen, Inge Lise: Traditional dialects of Danish and the de-dialectalization 1900-2000, International Journal of the Sociology of Language vol. 159: The Sociolinguistics of Danish, pp 9-28, 2003

Kristiansen, Tore: Language Attitudes and language politics in Denmark, International Journal of the Sociology of Language vol. 159: The Sociolinguistics of Danish, pp 57-72, 2003

8 Aug 2007

Event (Conference)

TitleInternational Conference of Historical Linguistics (ICHL)

ID: 4517300