The Dynamics of Foreign Language Values in Sweden: A Social History

  • Parvin Gheitasi Dalarna University, Sweden
  • Eva Lindgren Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Janet Enever Professor emerita, Umeå University, Sweden
Keywords: dynamic system, foreign language learning, foreign language values

Abstract

This paper gives an account of the history of foreign language values in Sweden from the seventeenth century to the present. The paper is informed by sociocultural standpoints on language and language learning according to which language is a dynamic tool that is appropriated by individuals to achieve particular purposes, and that dialogically creates and renews our social world(s).  Since the sixteenth century, three languages (German, French and English) have been taught in Sweden as foreign languages during particular eras. In this paper, we explore how language value can be understood as a system that evolves over time as a result of triggers such as power, trade and personal benefits. The impact of these variables on Swedish society’s efforts to invest in learning a particular language during specific eras is critically examined from the perspectives of nested systems.

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Published
2020-10-30