Varieties in dialogue: Dialect use and change in rural Valdres, Norway
AuthorStrand, Thea Randina
Language in the media
Language variation and change
Committee ChairHill, Jane H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation is an investigation of the use, change, and status of the distinctive local dialect in rural Valdres, Norway. The Norwegian sociolinguistic situation has long been recognized as complicated by a protracted history of language planning and standardization, in which two competing written norms of Norwegian, called BokmÃ¥l and Nynorsk, are symbolically and ideologically associated with urban and rural identities, respectively. In addition, while Norwegians can choose from two written norms, no recognized standard exists for spoken Norwegian, and citizens are officially encouraged to use their native, local dialects. The present study approaches this situation through a case study of language use in Valdres today.In the summer of 2005, the distinctive dialect of the rural Valdres valley was voted "Norway's most popular dialect" on one of the country's most listened-to national radio programs, an event that both reflects and has contributed to a recent revaluation of the local dialect. Yet the results of previous dialectological research in Valdres have clearly pointed to long-term convergence toward what locals call "city language" -- the speech of nearby urban Oslo. While evidence of this decades-long trend is not contradicted by the findings of this dissertation research, the present study suggests that there may be more than one direction of dialect change in Valdres today. Despite ongoing changes in dialect morpho-lexis and phonology in the direction of urban regional speech, there is also a large number of relatively resistant dialect features in contemporary ValdresmÃ¥l, and, even more importantly, evidence of a re-expansion of the dialect among younger speakers, which appears to align with forms found in written Nynorsk, the alternative "rural" norm. The simultaneous sociolinguistic trends of dialect convergence, non-convergence, and divergence in the contemporary Valdres dialect vis-a-vis urban regional norms thus provide an interesting and complicated case of language variation and change.This dissertation combines methods from linguistic and cultural anthropology, ethnographic sociolinguistics, and acoustic phonetics to provide an illuminating analysis of the local relationships between standard and non-standard varieties, between written and spoken forms, and between contemporary language use and historically-rooted language ideologies.