U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

8. Miscellaneous: What else can be found about languages and minorities?

The Finnish-speaking community in Sweden doubt whether the implementation of the new system of local government will benefit their linguistic rights. The Finns are a long-established community in Sweden, though they are now scattered over certain areas of the country. This lack of geographical concentration prevents them from having such an important role in the new decentralized system. As a matter of fact, only five communities in the north, known as Tornedalian Finns, beneficiate from specific legal minority rights (schools, day-care for children, home for the elderly, etc.). Thus, according to National Association of Finns in Sweden, the only efficient action that could be undertaken should be at a national level. Their purpose is to keep working toward achievement of the same recognition as the Tornedalian Finns so they will be granted particular rights in the whole country.

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Updated (March 2006)


On 14 October 2006, the city of Östersund in Swedish Sámiland will host the one and only song contest for singers and bands that sing in European minority languages.

Liet-Lavlut 2006 is the follow-up of Liet Ynternasjonaal song festival, which took place in Friesland, the Netherlands in the previous years. The first three editions presented an interesting variety of artists from the Basque Country, Bretagne, Catalunya, Cornwall, Friûl, Galicia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Kashubia in Poland, Northfriesland in Germany, Occitania in France, Sámi from Scandinavia, Sorbs from Germany. Liet Ynternasjonaal has already proved itself as an excellent way of promoting minority languages and music to large audiences.

Liet – Lavlut 2006 is open to all the linguistic minorities in Europe. It is, however, not a platform for traditional music, but welcomes new music, which reflects cultural heritage and identity.

This kind of festival attracts a lot of international media attention and therefore helps bands that sing in a minority language to raise their profile. In the past, TV-stations such as BBC World, CNN, Nederland 1, NRK, Omrop Fryslân and S4C Wales reported on the song contest. This year’s edition will be aired live throughout Sweden by the SRK, and several other TV channels have already expressed their interest.

Liet – Lavlut 2006 aims to present twelve bands and twelve new songs, which represent the cultural diversity of Europe.

Source: Eurolang News, March 20, 2006 by Davyth Hicks http://www.eurolang.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2565&Itemid=1&lang=en

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Updated (November 2007)


The representatives of all national minorities’ educational and cultural bodies are establishing a network to better be able to communicate and support each other. The network is being established by the Centre for Finnish Language and Culture at the Mälardalen University by Professor Jarmo Lainio.

The project has been supported also by representatives from Uppsala Center for Multiethnic Reasearch, Linköping and Lund Universities, Roma Cultural Center in Stockholm, the Tornedalian Academy as well as by language professionals.

According to Mr. Lainio, this Swedish network of culture and language could be included in the newly launched EU project – European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity.

Source: Eurolang News, November 4, 2007 by Katriina Kilpi http://www.eurolang.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2977&Itemid=1&lang=en

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