Sense of place and linguistic practice in a rural Danish community

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  • Astrid Ravn Skovse
This presentation sets out to explore the relationship between geographical orientation, everyday mobility and linguistic practice among young people in a rural area in Southern Denmark. The Danish speech community as a whole presents a case of rather extensive dialect levelling due to processes of centralization and standardization over the course of 500 years (e.g., Schøning and Pedersen 2009). In contemporary Denmark, prosodic features and especially intonational contour serve as the main geographic indicators (e.g. Grønnum 2007; Pharao, Kristiansen, Møller & Maegaard 2015), i.e. ”indexing the local” (cf. Johnstone 2010b). However, recent findings serve as a corrective to this general picture, as researchers from the project Language and Place in Urban and Rural Denmark have shown young people in Southern Jutland, more specifically in the village of Bylderup and surroundings, to speak the local dialect in their everyday (Monka and Hovmark, in press). There are, though, huge inter- as well as intraindividual differences among the participants in the study (28 young people aged 15-16 years at the time of the data collection). In general, boys use local features to a larger extent than girls, although some girls use a large amount of local features, and some boys use a small amount (ibid.). Drawing on data from individual interviews and focus group conversations, as well as data from methods inspired by insights from human geography and urban sociology, I ask whether (and if so, how) we can understand these patterns of variation in linguistic practice (i.e., in the employment of traditional dialect features) in light of participants’ geographical orientation and everyday mobility practices. More specifically, I focus on a number of participants on each end of the continuum between dialect and standard Danish, and seek out aspects of their sense of place that might help us understand their linguistic choices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date3 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016
EventMasterclass on Language and Place - Københavns Universitet, København, Denmark
Duration: 3 Nov 20164 Nov 2016


SeminarMasterclass on Language and Place
LocationKøbenhavns Universitet

ID: 172138211