About the LANCHART Centre
The LANCHART Centre was established by Frans Gregersen in 2005 and funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. It was founded as a basic research centre, and the results from the first decade are available in the annual reports from DGCSS. The Centre was embedded in the University of Copenhagen in 2015 – first as part of the Nordic Research Institute and then, following a merger, as part of the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.
The LANCHART Centre studies language change in Denmark. Our objective is to chart changes in spoken Danish since 1900, with a particular focus on the period from the 1970s to the present. Although there are several highly accurate dialect records from the years before 1900, there are no actual recordings, which makes it difficult to study spoken Danish during that period. However, between 1974 and the 1990s, several well-documented speech and language surveys were conducted, the data from which constitutes our basic material.
We replicate previously conducted studies of spoken language and process the findings of dialectologists and language historians. We supplement previous studies with new data from the same individuals, from new generations living in the same locations and from new sites. The previous study locations are: Vinderup, Odder, Vissenbjerg, Næstved, Køge and Copenhagen. We compare language use between generations in each site, by the same people at 20–30-year intervals and between the different sites. This provides us with solid knowledge of variations and changes in spoken Danish. We regularly add new study locations, with the most comprehensive recent material coming from Tinglev, Bylderup, Hirtshals, Nexø and Odense, and we also look at “emigrant Danish” in the USA and Argentina.
LANCHART also incorporates new and supplementary data types, e.g. from social media. This form of communication did not exist when the older studies were conducted. However, as social media now plays a crucial part in many people’s everyday communication, it is a crucial resource for studies of modern language use.
Our transcribed speech corpus currently stands at 11 million words and counting, with hundreds of recordings yet to be transcribed and new recordings constantly added.
We believe that Denmark represents an excellent example of language change processes. We already possess extensive historical, sociological and linguistic knowledge of the Danish language community. This enables us to both determine special characteristics and detect more general trends when comparing Danish with other languages. Ultimately, the Centre’s work will lead to new insights into how and why spoken language is changing.
More about the LANCHART Centre
Centre director, associate Professor Marie Maegaard.
Deputy Center Director, associate Professor Torben Juel Jensen.