The main outputs for the three-year project include publications, conference presentations, media contributions and social media content.

English in the Nordic Countries Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities

Edited by Elizabeth Peterson and Kristy Beers Fägersten

Poster presentation at the 2024 LSA Annual Meeting

For several decades, linguists – especially researchers in the field of sociolinguistics – have advanced the principle of debt incurred (Labov 1982), as well as (pro)active social engagement (Wolfram 2023) and a critical, activist stance against language injustice in various settings (Baugh 2018, Charity Hudley et al 2020, Flores & Rosa 2017).

This poster presents an overview of the Language Attitudes and Ideologies in Finland project, funded by the Kone Foundation (2023–2026). The project builds on decades of previous public outreach efforts concerning language and linguistics, focusing in this case on the setting of Finland. The project addresses current pressing (socio)linguistic issues in Finland, including perceived threats about the viability of the Finnish language in the face of English and globalization, contemporary multilingualism in Finland, and the role of migrants, their languages, and their role as second language speakers of Finnish. While the research primarily focuses on linguistic phenomena in the setting of Finland, it is both inspired by and draws heavily from research in other locations, especially the USA, and what has been called Fourth Wave Sociolinguistics.

There are two defining characteristics of the research project. First is its driving principle that engaging with the public about linguistic research necessitates navigating commonly held ideologies and attitudes about language (see, e.g., Milroy 2001). In short: informing the public about linguistic findings is not enough; mutual engagement is necessary. A second defining characteristic, related to the first, is the project’s dedicated aim of involving the public through citizen science methods, as well as including a professional communications expert as a member of the core working group. This communication expert works as a liaison between the general public and project researchers for the duration of the project. A key output at the project’s end will be a communication blueprint for linguists, available in English and Finnish, on interacting with the media and the general public. This poster presents the project’s main research outputs as of January 2024, which include a survey about migrant languages in Finland and a critical examination of public discourse about language, as well as an account of the public outreach involved in these studies.

Baugh, J. (2003). Linguistic profiling. In C. Makoni, G. Smitherman, A. F. Ball, & A. K. 

Spears (Eds.), Black linguis-tics: Language, society, and politics in Africa and the Americas

(pp. 155–168). Routledge.

Charity Hudley, A. H., Mallinson, C., & Bucholtz, M. (2020). Toward racial justice in

linguistics: Interdisciplinary insights into theorizing race in the discipline and diversifying the

discipline. Language, 96(4), e200– e235. (Wolfram, 2023)

Flores, N. & Rosa, J. (2017) Unsettling race and language: Toward a raciolinguistic

perspective Language in Society 46(5), 621– 647.


Labov, W. (1982). Objectivity and commitment in linguistic science. Language in Society,

11(2), 165– 201. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0047404500009192 

Milroy, James. 2001. Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization.

Journal of Sociolinguistics 5(4): 530–555.

Wolfram, W. (2023). The potential of sociolinguistic impact: Lessons from the first 50 years.

Language & Linguistics Compass, e12487. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12487