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Danish in the Faroe Islands: a post-colonial perspective

Mitchinson, J.; (2012) Danish in the Faroe Islands: a post-colonial perspective. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis examines from a post-colonial perspective the position of the Danish language in Faroese society. It aims to demonstrate that post-colonial theory, which originally emerged as a methodology for literary analysis in the 1970s, offers a framework by which very different post-colonial linguistic scenarios, such as those in the Faroes and Greenland, can be analysed, compared and contrasted. In addition to established ideas within post-colonialism, from scholars such as Althusser and Spivak, three new concepts – saming, language othering and linguistic autonomy – are developed and used in the analysis of linguistic developments that have taken place on the islands since Danish was introduced. It is argued that the colonial history of the Faroes provides the most rewarding perspective for such an examination. Recurrent themes in language research on the islands, both historical and contemporary, such as Gøtudanskt, are contextualised within the post-colonial framework. Similarly, topics which have received little academic attention, such as the role of the heavily Danish-influenced Suðuroy dialect, are also analysed from this perspective. A considerable part of the investigation stems from field research (predominantly questionnaires). The thesis suggests that the Faroes constitute an atypical case within post-colonial studies due to the common cultural/linguistic heritage of the coloniser and the colonised. However, the non-standard characteristics of post-colonial Faroese society can only be fully appreciated in comparison with a ‘typical’ post-colonial society, and Greenland is proposed as this standard example. The final chapter therefore provides a comparative study between the language situations in the two societies. In addition to the introductory and concluding sections, the thesis contains five chapters, which deal with the following: theory and methodology; colonisation and the cementing of Danish into Faroese society; the field research; decolonisation and the reassessment of the position of Danish in Faroese society; and the afore-mentioned comparative study.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Danish in the Faroe Islands: a post-colonial perspective
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright restricted material has been removed from the e-thesis.
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1348494
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