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ERIC Number: EJ914751
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1466-4208
Feminist Language Planning in Sweden
Milles, Karin
Current Issues in Language Planning, v12 n1 p21-33 Feb 2011
The international literature has often described linguistic authorities as being opposed to the idea of changing language in the name of feminism. However, in Sweden, many linguistic authorities have been active agents in adopting feminist language reforms. This is probably due to Sweden's long tradition of political feminist efforts and to the fact that Sweden is one of the world's most gender-equal countries, which makes feminist language planning in Sweden an interesting case to study. The article describes two types of feminist language reform. The first is a reform rooted in the political feminist movement, where the change--often the introduction of a newly coined word--serves the purpose of conveying a feminist message. The other is rooted in the official language-planning bodies and is integrated in the broader aim of making language as a whole a democratic tool for official communication. One example of the first type is the introduction of the word "snippa," a colloquial word for the female genitalia. "Snippa" was promoted by both feminist organizations and linguistic authorities and is now included in well-reputed dictionaries and children's books. Another example is the newly coined gender-neutral generic pronoun "hen," which is used among LGBT people and in feminist communities. A third example is a new Swedish word for "hymen." The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education has proposed that the traditional word "modomshinna" (literally "membrane of virginity") should be replaced by "slidkrans" ("vaginal corona"), which lacks connotations associated with the ideology of virginity and honour. The interest in feminist language planning among official language-planning bodies has also intensified in the last few years. The Language Council of Sweden prepared a new official language policy for the country, which included the goal to minimize sexist tendencies in official Swedish. The Council also helped produce a guide to gender-neutral language. The article ends with a discussion of what these language-planning projects demonstrate about the function of feminist language planning in the ongoing feminist project in Sweden as well as around the world.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden