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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 11, 2010

“We did what we thought was best for our children”: a nexus analysis of language shift in a Kven community

Pia Lane
From the journal


The loss of intergenerational language transmission can be seen, in part, as a choice parents make, but in reality they do not always have a choice. Their actions are influenced by large-scale social factors such as language policies and attitudes toward minority languages. Issues related to these factors are addressed by an analysis of language shift in Bugønes, a Kven community in Northern Norway. Data come from recordings of conversations and sociolinguistic interviews addressing language choice. Fifteen hours were recorded and transcribed. In order to analyze language shift a theoretical and methodological framework which allows for a historical perspective is essential since people, objects, mediational means, and discourses are seen as having a history and projecting a future (de Saint Georges, From anticipation to performance: Sites of engagement as performance, Routledge, 2005). The framework used here is nexus analysis, which emphasizes that discourses and individual social actors have a history and therefore cannot be analyzed without reference to the past (Scollon and Scollon, Nexus analysis: Discourse and the emerging Internet, Routledge, 2004). Findings about language shift in Bugønes illustrate how large-scale discourses such as the language policies become internalized and later materialized in action through language choice.

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Published Online: 2010-03-11
Published in Print: 2010-March

© 2010 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York