This autumn I signed a fresh new contract with Routledge for a book on the role of English in the Nordic countries. I wish I could lay claim to the idea of the book -- it's a great topic -- but it was actually the brain child of a (former) acquisitions editor for Routledge's New York office.
The Routledge editor approached me with his idea for the book early last spring, and I ran with it. I approached Kristy Beers Fägersten, a linguist based in Sweden, to help with the project. Together we came up with a proposal which was reviewed by 14 external reviewers. That's a lot of reviewers! But the feedback was extremely encouraging and helpful. It turns out the theme of this book is, as they say, timely, and it is of potential interest to a wide range of readers.
Here is the editorial description we came up with for the proposal:
"People in the Nordic states – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland – rank per capita as among the most proficient speakers of English in the world. In this unique volume, international experts explore how this came to be, and what English usage and integration looks like in different spheres of society and the economy in these countries. The volume explores the implications of this linguistic phenomenon for language attitudes and identity, for the region at large, and for English in Europe and around the world. Led by Elizabeth Peterson and Kristy Beers Fägersten, the contributors provide a historical overview to the subject, synthesize the latest research, illustrate the roles of English with original case studies from diverse communities and everyday settings, as well as offering transnational insights critically and in conversation with the situation in other Nordic states. This comprehensive text is the first book of its kind and will be of interest to advanced students and researchers of World/Global Englishes and English as a lingua franca, language contact and dialect studies/language varieties, language policy, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, and Nordic/Scandinavian & European studies."
The project is coming together nicely with an excellent range of contributing authors. I will post updates here on my blog as we proceed with the work.
In the meantime, this autumn I recorded a keynote speech for the DiscourseNet Congress 4, hosted in Budapest. It was disappointing to not be able to visit Budapest and attend the congress in person, of course, but an upside is that now I am able to share the keynote freely. In the keynote, I discuss many of the themes that will be included in our upcoming book, although I narrow my focus quite a lot to the specific context of my home country, Finland. Here is the talk; it lasts about 45 minutes. Let me know what you think!