DNBC as an actor in language policy – University of Copenhagen

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The Danish National Broadcasting Corporation (DNBC) as an actor in language policy – Language change and language policy in the DNBC

As our contribution to the national LARM project we have investigated the role of the DNBC in language change in Denmark. Other of the centre's projects have shown that language change is closely linked to language attitudes. In this project we investigate the attitudes to language which are and were found in the DNBC, and how these are made visible in the language used in the DNBC.

By the introduction of the radio in the 1920s something new appeared. For the first time in history it was possible for 'every' Dane to hear the same piece of spoken language. It seemed obvious that the language thus disseminated hat to be 'the best' language. Therefore, if one look at the language of the DNBC, especially in so-called serious programs like news, one may claim to be looking at the language which, at this particular point in time, was considered 'the best'. If one expand one's look to include the breadth of Danish spoken language heard in the radio, one may be witnessing the perimeters of language being deemed 'good enough'.

In the project we have investigated:

  • News readings from the period 1936-2010, to tease out changing norms of 'the best language'
  • The phone-in program De ringer, Vi spiller from the period 1973-1996, to explore the breadth of pronunciation variation
  • Language policies and language manuals as well as language instructors, to document the official language policy as well as explicit (and sometimes implicit) norms of 'good language'
  • Attitudes to the language of the DNBC investigated through a national survey (in collaboration with the DNBC)

ca. 500 conversations from De ringer, Vi spiller, arranged accoding to the listeners’ home.
Read more.

Read more about the project
Heegård, Jan & Jacob Thøgersen (2012): ”Her er pressens radioavis”: - med det minimalt acceptable sjuskedansk, Danske Talesprog 12: 62-95.

Thøgersen, Jacob (in press): Danmarks Radio og ideen om det gode sprog, in E. Granly Jensen, J. Kreutzfeldt, M. Michelsen & E Svendsen (eds.), Radioverdener. Auditiv kultur, historie og arkiver.

Thøgersen, Jacob (2013): Det flade a i prestige og hverdagssprog, MUDS rapport 14: 423-438.

Thøgersen, Jacob (2013) ’Vil De prøve at sige A?: ”Fladt” a i radioavisen 1950-2010’, NyS 43: 101-132.

Thøgersen, Jacob (2011): Talesprog i radioavisen: Det kanoniserede talesprogs anatomi, Danske Talesprog 11: 185-224.

Thøgersen, Jacob & Martin Kristiansen (2013): Between ‘maintenance’ and ‘development’. Popular perceptions of the spoken language of the Danish National Broadcasting Corporation, J. Heegård & P. J. Henrichsen (eds.). 2013. New perspectives on Speech in Action. Proceedings of the 2nd  SJUSK Conference on Contemporary Speech Habits. [Copenhagen Studies in Language 43]. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur Press.

Thøgersen, Jacob & Nicolai Pharao (2013): Changing pronunciation but stable social evaluation? ‘Flat a’ in Danish radio news (1956-2010), Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 19.2: 191-201.

Thøgersen, Jacob & Martin Kristiansen (2013) Sproglig kvalitet i Danmarks Radio: En meningsmåling om sproget i DR. Copenhagen: Danish National Broadcasting Corporation (DR).