K8: Variance in multilingualism on the Faroe Islands
Page in Danish
Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Kurt Braunmüller
Research assistant: Dr. Hjalmar P. Petersen, Dr. Karoline Kühl
Student assistants: Tine Stensbjerg (until 2007); Minja Rudolf, Jana Wittkugel, Helena Hansen, N.N.
- Höskuldur Þráinsson (Háskóli Íslands, Reykjavík)
- Michael P. Barnes (University College London)
- Helge Sandøy (Universitetet i Bergen)
- Jógvan í Lon Jacobsen
- Zakaris Svabo Hansen (Fróðskaparsetur Føroyar, Tórshavn)
General abstractThis research project is the first to be concerned with multilingualism on the Faroese Islands, which belong to Denmark. It was started in 2005 and is currently promoted in the second and last phase.
The object of our research is primarily the use of bilingual (spontaneous) oral language by the Faroese inhabitants. This is being analysed by means of samples from 60 test subjects, now coming from three generations, as opposed to the two generations investigated in the first promotion phase of the project. A sample analysis of written language development on the Faroese Islands is an additional aspect being taken up in the second promotion phase.
Research TopicAs before, morphosyntactical aspects of the Faroese-Danish multilingualism will be the main focus of the research project.
Research questionThe question: “What kind of bilingualism is the Faroese bilingualism?” already served as the starting point for the first application. The possibilities considered were:
(a) a balanced bilingualism
(b) a – historically based – diglossal-functional distributed multilingualism
(c) Danish as a foreign language in addition to Faroese as the mother tongue.
The results of the first promotion phase have shown without doubt that possibility (b) does not apply (anymore) and that (c) does not apply, either. Until now, all data and the results of their analysis point towards hypothesis (a).
The 18 islands in the Northern Atlantic that form the Faroese Islands have been part of the collective Danish state area since 1380. Faroese was established as the school language in 1937 and also became the language of the church one year later. Faroese has been the national language since 1948, when the Faroese Islands were conceded self-government. A thorough teaching of Danish is required in schools, however. Danish was the only written and oral language used in all important public domains such as school, administration and in the military until the 1950s.
In this source phase of the research project, the primary research questions will remain “What kind of bilingualism is the bilingualism on the Faroese Islands?” and “How is this shown in individual speech in three generations?” The following will be completed in the second promotion phase:
(a) Analysis of the language use by the middle generation
(b) Examination of the development of written language use in Faroese and Danish by means of samples consisting of different kinds of texts from several periods in the 20th century
(c) Quantitative longitudinal analysis of all (oral) data concerning the number of code switchings and the assorted types of transfer and convergence
To achieve these aims, interviews will again be performed, now with a total of 20 test subjects from the middle generation. The interviews will be carried out in the same way they were realized in the first promotion phase with the young and the old generation: as partially structured conversations in an informal setting, lasting about an hour. The topics covered will be situations in day to day life, the current situation on the Faroese Islands, international politics, education and work. The first interviews will be carried out in Faroese by a native speaker, with the test subjects being interviewed for a second time a couple of months later in Danish, also by a native speaker.
Additionally, written sources will be examined for the first time. These will consist of the Faroese Newspaper corpora, compiled from larger samples sorted by topic for Faroese written language use on the Faroese Islands on the one hand and the Newspapers Dimmalætting and Føroyingatíðindi - in extracts - for Danish on the other. The data will be evaluated (if possible) in unities made up by centuries. Based on the results of the analysis conducted in the first promotion phase of the research project, it is possible to look specifically for so-called vulnerable domains. The analysis of the written data will focus on the types of constructions salient in the interviews with the test subjects. These include phenomena of syntax (structure of subordinate clauses, especially positioning of sentence adverbs and negation, which – with few exceptions – cannot be parallel to the structure of main-clauses), morphosyntax (adoption of Danish valency patterns, suffixing of particles in interrogative compounds) and word creation (replication of Danish patterns).
- Braunmüller, K. (32007): Die skandinavischen Sprachen im Überblick. Tübingen, Basel.
- Petersen, Hj. P. (2006): ”Føroyskt-danskt málsamband: athall, tillaging, eingangstillaging og málbygging.” In: Fróðskaparrit 54, 8-20.
- Petersen, Hj. & Sandøj, H. (2007): "Tilpassing av importord i færøysk talemål", in Stuntman og andre importord i Norden. (Ed.) Pia Jarvad & Helge Sandøj, pp. 53-71.
- Petersen, Hj. P. (2008): “Væk af vejen, konge skrejen. Gøtudanskt or Dano-Faroese.” In: RASK. International Journal of Language and Communication.
- Petersen, Hj. P. (2008): "The Borrowing Scale and Faroese-Danish Language Contact". Fróðskaparrit 56: 97-115.
- Petersen, Hj. P. (2008): "Tann nýggi noktandi boðshátturin í føroyskum [The new negated imperative in Faroese] Íslenskt Mál, 30: 141-152.
- Petersen, Hj. (accepted): “Related languages, convergence and replication: Faroese-Danish”. In: International Journal of Bilingualism.
- Petersen, Hj. (handed in): “Faroese-Danish contact induced changes or drift?” In: Íslenskt mál og almenn málfræði.
- Petersen, Hj. (accepted): „Convergence in Dano-Faroese“. Arkiv för nordisk filologi.
- Petersen, Hj. (2009): Gender assignment in Modern Faroese. Phil. Dissertation Hamburg, Juli 2008 [Verlag dr. Kovac: Hamburg].