General information

Course type EPICUR
Module title Language landscape in Scandinavia
Language English
Module lecturer dr Mikołaj Sobkowiak, dr Paulina Horbowicz, dr Alicja Piotrowska
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant Professor
Faculty Faculty of Modern Languages and Literatures
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 09-LLIS-PIE-11


2 classes per week for 15 weeks. 30 hours of classes in total.

Module aim (aims)

This course is designed to introduce students to the linguistic situation in Scandinavia. The topics covered in class include, among others, language policy, language norms, dialects, minority languages, multilingualism and Scandinavian languages as second and foreign languages.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Sufficient knowledge of English (B2 or higher). Any knowledge of Danish, Swedish or Norwegian is an advantage.


Week 1: Scandinavian languages among the world’s languages.

Week 2: Historical development of Scandinavian languages.

Week 3: Language contact in Scandinavia.

Week 4: Mutual comprehensibility and intergroup communication in Scandinavia.

Week 5: Language policy and plain language.

Week 6: Language norm in Scandinavian languages.         

Week 7: Dialectal variety in Scandinavia. 

Week 8: Multiethnolects in Scandinavia.   

Week 9: Minority languages in Scandinavia.         

Week 10: Language and dialect revitalization in Scandinavia.

Week 11: Multilingualism and Scandinavian languages as second languages.

Week 12: The impact of English on Scandinavian languages.

Week 13: Scandinavian heritage languages.

Week 14: The future of Scandinavian languages.

Week 15: Course summary.          

Reading list

Bandle, O. et al. (eds). (2005). The Nordic languages. An international handbook of the history of the North Germanic languages. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.

Björklund, M., S. Björklund & K. Sjöholm (2013). Multilingual Policies and Multilingual Education in the Nordic Countries. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 6(1), 1-22.

Braunmüller, K. (2002). Semicommunication and accommodation: Observations from the linguistic situation in Scandinavia. International journal of applied linguistics, 12(1), 1-23.

Dahl, Ö. (2001). The origin of the Scandinavian languages. The Circum-Baltic languages, 1, 215-236.

Gooskens, C. (2020). The North Germanic Dialect Continuum. The Cambridge handbook of Germanic linguistics, 761-782.

Haugen, E. (2013). Language conflict and language planning. Harvard University Press.

Heikkilä, R. (2010). The language situation in Sweden: the relationship between the main language and the national minority languages. Sens public

Hjorth, E. et al. (eds.) (2021). Dansk i samspil (=Dansk sproghistorie. Bind 5). København/Aarhus: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab & Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

Hjorth, E. et al. (eds.) (2020). Dansk i brug (=Dansk sproghistorie. Bind 4). København/Aarhus: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab & Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

Huss, L. (2008). Scandinavian minority language policies in transition. Sustaining linguistic diversity. Endangered and minority languages and language varieties, 129-143.

Johannessen, J. B. (2018). Factors of variation, maintenance and change in Scandinavian heritage languages. International Journal of Bilingualism, 22(4), 447-465.

Johannessen, J. B. & J. Salmons (eds.) (2015). Germanic heritage languages in North America: Acquisition, attrition and change. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Kristiansen, T. (2021). Destandardization. In: W. Ayres-Bennett, & J. Bellamy (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Language Standardization: Part V: Standardization in Late Modernity (s. 667-690).

Kristiansen, T. (2000). Den danske sprogsituation ved årtusindskiftet - status og udviklingslinjer. I "Speider over hav mot Danmark" Landskonferansen for norsklærere i lærerutdanninga Schæffergården 12.-14. mai 2000. Konferanserapport (s. 43-81). Høgskolen i Nord-Trøndelag, Avdeling Levanger.

Kristiansen, T. (2017). Intergroup Communication: Scandinavia. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication.

Kristiansen, T. & N. Coupland (eds.) (2011). Standard languages and language standards in a changing Europe, 119-126. Oslo: Novus.

Kristiansen, T., & A. Holmen (eds.) (2021). Sprogs status i rigsfællesskabet 2031. Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet. Københavnerstudier i Tosprogethed.

Nordiska Ministerrådet (2007). Deklaration om nordisk språkpolitik. Köpenhamn.

O’Dowd, M. (2015). The Sámi people in Scandinavia: Government policies for indigenous language recognition and support in the formal education system. Indigenous education: Language, culture and identity, 187-205.

Quist, P. & B. A. Svendsen (eds.) (2010). Multilingual urban Scandinavia: New linguistic practices. Multilingual Matters.

Rutten, G. J., & K. Horner (eds.) (2016). Metalinguistic Perspectives on Germanic Languages: European Case Studies from Past to Present. Peter Lang.

Sundberg, G. (2013). Language Policy and Multilingual Identity in Sweden Through the Lens of Generation Y. Scandinavian Studies Vol. 85, No. 2, 205–232.

Trudgill, P. (1998). Norwegian as a Normal Language. Language contact and language conflict, 151-158.

READING LIST (for home assignments)

 To be announced.