11 Dec. 2013
Norwegian Language and the Influence of Politics
Political movements occur for a need of change, and a lot of changes occur after a movement. Many things can cause a necessity for change, ranging from global issues to consequences as the result of single persons’ actions. On a personal level, language, ethnicity and religion can play a huge role in creating conflict. Often, at the end of a political movement, the newly gained freedom concludes in the separation of different languages that were previously considered as dialects.
The history of Norway displays the manner in which one country, on the journey to independence also gained their own language. The Norwegian language originally was categorized as a Danish dialect. Norway was under Danish rule up until 1814, however they were still not declared with freedom. Sweden was the ruler of Norway until May 17, 1905, when Norway was granted independence and obtained a separate Norwegian language. An author by the name of Stephen May has voiced his concern with the topic of language and politics, in that, “languages, and the status attached to them, are the product of wider historical, social and political forces” (May, 4). To relate, the fact that there is a defined Norwegian language is evidence of a prolonged struggle for independence. It is a symbol that over time of political discourse the Norwegians have gained the power to rule themselves. Although war was a possibility at points during Norway’s history, implications were resolved peacefully. Stuart Burch, an author published in History Today, mentioned that, “this flavours the present in the way that Norway seeks to promote itself as a world leader in conflict resolution” (Burch).
Ongoing patterns, similar to the one mentioned above, can be found throughout the history of many nations in their conquest of independence. Gaining and losing aspects of language, ethnicity, nationality, religion, culture and way of life are just a few changes that can cause and occur after political movements. In the case of Norway, they were able to gain recognition of freedom and language through political processes. This exemplifies that the political processes that gave Norway freedom, also lead to the separation of the Norwegian Language.
Edited by: Nathan Lee, Emily Flora and Jessica Silvestri
May, Stephen. “The Politics of Language.” Introduction. Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language. New York: Routledge, 2008. 4-5. Print.
Burch, Stuart. “Norway and 1905.” History Today. History Today, 2005. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.