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Language contact research in Northern Scandinavia

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Language contact research in Northern Scandinavia

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The situation of the northernmost minorities in Scandinavia, the Sámis and the Finns, is the topic of this article. Contact‐linguistic research on these ethnic groups north of the 64th latitude is summarised, whereby the monolingual view of northern Scandinavian languages in the past is complemented with a multilingual perspective of the interaction between minority and larger languages. The monolingual ethnocentric view was a result of colonial ideology and intolerance during the nationalistic period. Liberation from this linguistic intolerance has been too recent to result in an overall open linguistic attitude in all domains. However, thanks to pertinent criticism the state powers have been forced to yield in their overly nationalistic language policy; the need of foreign labour in the southern industries cleared the way also for linguistic tolerance in the north.Different contact patterns are discussed: North Germanic—Sámi and Finnish—Sámi. Also the rise of Europe's only pidgin (Russe Norsk) is an example of language contact in the north: Norwegian—Russian— Sámi—Finnish—Swedish and an international trade jargon.

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