Language Standardisation as Frozen Mediated Actions
This chapter addresses the role of social actors in the standardisation of Kven, a Finnic minority language in Northern Norway. Kven was formerly seen as a dialect of Finnish but got recognised as a language in 2005. Influenced by the global focus on language revitalisation, the new status of Sámi and minority languages in neighbouring countries many Kven wish to reclaim their language, and currently, a written standard is being developed.
In this chapter, the material outcomes of standardisation are brought to the fore through an analysis of the recent standardisation of Kven. Drawing on her experiences as a new speaker of Kven and participation in Kven language planning (Lane 2016), she approaches the standardisation of Kven as chains of social actions (Scollon 2001; Norris 2004), suggesting that the material outcomes of standardisation may be understood as frozen actions (Norris 20045). The chapter addresses the acceptance of the standard (Haugen 1972) by analysing the reception of standardised texts by social actors when they read texts written in Kven.
By focusing on the material outcome of some of the linguistic choices made by the actors involved in the standardisation process and how potential users relate to the standard, we see how users are configured through the standardisation process and also how they, in turn, may influence and shape standardisation processes, through embracing, resisting and even rejecting (aspects of) standardisation.