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From vernacular to national language: Language planning and the discourse of science in eighteenth-century Sweden

Chapter in book
Authors Anna Helga Hannesdottir
Published in Languages of Science in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. by Britt-Louise Gunnarsson. De Gruyter Mouton ISBN 978-3-11-025505-8
Pages 107-122
ISBN 3-11-025505-7
Publisher De Gruyter Mouton
Place of publication Berlin
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 107-122
Language en
Keywords Swedish, language history, language planning, standardization, Carl Linnaeus
Subject categories Swedish language


In this article a fresh approach is suggested to the problem of the transition from vernacular Swedish to a fully-developed medium of scientific discourse. It is argued that the sociolinguist Einar Haugen's notion of "language planning" can also serve as a model to analyse and explain language change from a sociolonguistic point of view. The author applies the four phases of this LP model, i.e. selection, codification, implementation and elaboration, to describe the progression which Swedish underwent, from a poorly codified vernacular to a developed, standardized language. With reference to these four phases, she elaborates on the role played by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. According to the author, Linnaeus supported the selection and implementation phases by promoting Swedish rather than Latin for the lectures and transactions of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Linnaeus also contributed directly to the elaboration and codification phases by creating a Swedish vocabulary appropriate to his scientific findings.

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