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Lena Rogström

Senior Lecturer

Department of
+46 31-786 46 30
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Lena Rogström


Lexication behind the scenes

Seventeenth century Sweden was a country that was trying to establish a national identity. One of the most important parts of that struggle was the endeavour to elaborate the Swedish language, to be able to use it in all of the domains, which constitute a developed society. When in 1688 a legal commission was appointed to assemble all Swedish laws into a single codex for the whole nation, one particular challenge was to establish a Swedish vocabulary suitable in a Swedish law book. The work of the commission can be followed in the hand written protocols, which were edited by Wilhelm Sjögren 1900–1909. There you can follow quite a few discussions suggesting different solutions to solve linguistic problems, especially concerning the vocabulary.

The work of the legal commission could be seen as a part of language planning in the 17th and 18th century, and the aim of this project is to investigate in what way the commission worked in order to establish a suitable vocabulary for the Code of Law 1734, and in what way their work can be seen to interact with contemporary lexicography. The growth of Swedish lexicography is thoroughly described in the Lexicographic Tradition in Sweden project (Hannesdóttir & Ralph 1987). One of the important results of the project is that 18th century dictionaries played a major role in the elaboration of standardized Swedish grammar. The question is whether they also played an important role in the setting of a Swedish vocabulary?

Hopefully the results of the project will give us some more evidence as to the mechanisms behind language planning in the 18th century; it may also tell us more about the function and quality of bilingual dictionaries in regard to a language planning process.