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Variation in Faroese and the development of a spoken standard: In search of corpus evidence

  • Remco Knooihuizen (a1)

Although Faroese exhibits extensive linguistic variation and rapid social change, the language is near-uncharted territory in variationist sociolinguistics. This article discusses some recent social changes in Faroese society in connection with language change, focusing in particular on the development of a de facto spoken standard, Central Faroese. Demographic mobility, media and education may be contributing to this development in different ways. Two linguistic variables are analysed as a first step towards uncovering the respective roles of standardisation, dialect levelling and dialect spread as contributing processes in the formation of Central Faroese: morphological variation in -st endings and phonological variation in -ir and -ur endings. The analysis confirms previously described patterns of geographically constrained variation, but no generational or stylistic differences indicative of language change are found, nor are there clear signs that informants use Central Faroese. The results may in part be due to the structure of the corpus used.

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Hans-Olav Enger . 2013. Inflectional change, ‘sound laws’ and the autonomy of morphology: The case of Scandinavian case and gender reduction. Diachronica 30 (1), 126.

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Janne Bondi Johannessen . 2009. A corpus of spoken Faroese. Nordlyd 36 (2), 2535.

Paul Kerswill . 2003. Dialect levelling and geographical diffusion in British English. In David Britain & Jenny Cheshire (eds.), Social Dialectology: In Honour of Peter Trudgill, 223243. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Karoline H Kühl . 2011. Features of writtenness transferred: Faroe–Danish language of distance. In Svenja Kranich , Viktor Becher , Steffen Höder & Juliane House (eds.), Multilingual Discourse Production: Diachronic and Synchronic Perspectives, 183205. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Nordic Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0332-5865
  • EISSN: 1502-4717
  • URL: /core/journals/nordic-journal-of-linguistics
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