Multilingual speakers in a monolingual society

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The case of Iceland shows that linguistic variation and the formation of a multilingual community are not always seen as an enrichment for speakers that act in an increasingly globalized world, but sometimes suppressed by means of a rigid language policy. The negative attitude towards the use of a linguistic variety that does not conform to the established standard is intimately linked to the history of standardization and the social history of Iceland in general, both of which will be discussed in the present article. It will also be shown that language planning activities have not always been successful in suppressing linguistic variation and that the strictly monolingual policy that has been carried out in Iceland for centuries could not prevent the current development towards multilingual practices.


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