1311.14 - Sociolinguistics and Purism (BA)

Course number
Sociolinguistics and Purism (BA)
Students must have completed the required core courses on the Bachelor Degree Programme in Faroese or have equivalent qualifications.
The purpose of the course can be separated into two components. One is a general introduction to the theories of sociolinguistics and purism and the interplay between them. The other focuses on the Faroese language community and examines Faroese purism based on the theory covered in the introduction.
The course is divided into a section on theory and a more practical section. The theory section will provide students with insight into selected topics such as language contact, multilingualism, language ecology, language planning and language death, which offer insight into sociolinguistic concepts that can be linked to linguistic purism. This gives students the opportunity to consider questions such as: Why is it necessary to defend languages, what exactly is being defended, what happens when languages enter into contact, what happens when languages die. The course will focus on Nordic purism. In the practical section purism will be discussed taking Faroese society as a starting point. Students will be asked how Faroese purism can be related to the general theories from the theory section, as well as what role purism plays in developing and preserving the Faroese language. The following topics will be examined: 1. What is sociolinguistics? A brief overview over current trends in sociolinguistics and a definition of purism 2. Information about purism in Scandinavia (first section). Two-part overview of purism in the past and now in Scandinavian countries 3. Continuation of point 2 4. Language contact (without language contact there would probably not be any grounds for purism). This section will partly examine conditions that foster purism and partly phenomena such as new dialects, adaptation, language shift, pidgin and creole. 5. Multilingualism the course will examine phenomena such as language contact, diglossia, code switching, register variation and language planning. The following question will be discussed: What is an official language and what does it mean? 6. Threatened languages, language death and language ecology. The course will focus on discussing threats and the process of language death. 7. Language planning and revival. This will include a brief overview of the theories of language planning and revival, which have had a significant impact on Faroese.
Learning and teaching approaches
Duration: Three hours a week for the spring semester of 2014. Teaching: Lectures and student presentations.
Learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete the course will have acquired fundamental insight into sociolinguistics with a particular focus on purism, as it is of special importance to the development of the Faroese language. The course does not span all areas of sociolinguistics, but aims to afford students an understanding of how certain sociolinguistic tools can be used to work with Faroese.
Assessment method
Six-hour written examination. Dictionaries and all course materials are allowed in the examination room.
Marking scale
Miriam Meyerhoff: Introducing sociolinguistics (2010) and other texts. Jógvan í Lon Jacobsen: Ærligt talt, who cares (Novus 2012) as well as articles.
Jógvan í Lon Jacobsen