Section of Dialectology – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Nordic Research > About the department > Section of Dialectology

Section of Dialectology

Section of Dialectology's main task is research, education and communication within

  • dialects and regional languages in Denmark
  • language variation and change
  • the relationship between language, the individual and society

The section maintains and develops large data collections of Danish spoken language from older hand written notes to collections of modern, digital recordings.

Section of Dialectology produces new, societally relevant knowledge about languages and people in time space and of linguistic variation, form and meaning. Our vision is to promote understanding of linguistic diversity by documenting the relationships between language and culture throughout Denmark from the rural community of industrial society to the contemporary late-modern society.

We relate our research to larger contexts in order to contribute to the international research and developments in the fields of sociolinguistics and dialectology. It is central to our research to base empirical analyses and theory development.

It is our vision to contribute with our special expertise in sociolinguistics and dialectology to the creation of graduate programs in the field of language and society, and through research at a high international level form the basis of Scandinavia's most attractive training in sociolinguistics.

We are committed to sharing our knowledge and communicating it to the public, for example in the media, through lectures and on the website dialekt.dk (only available in Danish).

History of the section

The roots of the Section of Dialectology go back to 1909, when Foreningen Danmarks Folkeminder (The Danish Folklore Society) founded the Udvalg for Folkemål (Dialect Commission), which became an independent institution in 1922 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. In 1960, the institution became part of the University of Copenhagen under the name of Institute of Danish Dialect Research.

In 2003 Danish Dialect Research became part of the Department of Nordic Research, and since 2005 some of its members of staff have been involved in the LANCHART Centre