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Language Education Policies and the Indigenous and Minority Languages of Northernmost Scandinavia and Finland

  • Leena Huss
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Language and Education book series (ELE)

Abstract

Three Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, share a very similar history as regards to language policies targeting their northernmost Indigenous and minority peoples. The Sámi in all three countries, the Tornedalians in Sweden, and the Kven in Norway all experienced an early history of a rather laissez-faire policy followed by a long period of forced assimilation, the main assimilative force being the public school system. Especially in Sweden and Norway, the speakers of these languages were also targets of social Darwinist theories, which labeled these peoples both physically and mentally inferior to the higher-standing Scandinavians. The 1970s finally marked the end of assimilation policies in the three Nordic countries. Schools in Sweden and Norway took the first steps of promoting the instruction of Finnish as an optional subject for Tornedalian and Kven pupils. The ethnopolitical Sámi movement had been gaining strength, and during the 1970s, the official view on the Indigenous Sámi and their languages had become more positive in all three countries. Securing the maintenance of Sámi language and culture became the responsibility of the compulsory school system. Today, official language acquisition planning in Norway, Sweden, and Finland includes explicit protection and promotion of Indigenous and minoritized languages, regarded as part of the national heritage of these countries. This chapter provides a brief description of previous and ongoing research on these issues as well as specific questions connected to this research and its policy implications.

Keywords

Sámi Meänkieli Kven Assimilation Revitalization 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uppsala University, Hugo Valentin CentreUppsalaSweden

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