In rural Valdres, Norway, the traditional regional dialect, called Valdresmål, has become an important resource for popular style and local development projects. Stigmatized through much of the twentieth century for its association with poor, rural, “backward” farmers and culture, Valdresmål has been thoroughly revalorized, with particularly high status among local youth and those involved in business and tourism. While today’s parents and grandparents attest to historical pressures to adopt normative urban linguistic forms, many in Valdres now proclaim dialect pride and have re-embraced spoken Valdresmål in various forms of public, interdialectal communication. In addition, Valdres natives also make abundant and creative use of dialect on social media, the primary locus for written Valdresmål and for emergent orthographic norms representing local speech, including strategies of maximal sociolinguistic distinction. This innovative use of written Valdresmål has been taken up by local businesses as a marketing strategy in recent years, as well, further normalizing and legitimating nonstandard forms. In the ongoing revalorization of traditional Valdresmål, it is also, inevitably, transformed—linguistically, socially, and ideologically—as it enters and circulates within new and innovative cultural domains: while widespread written Valdresmål challenges the normal sociolinguistic order, in such a process the dialect is also refunctionalized and, perhaps, increasingly standardized.
Strand, Thea R.. Tradition as Innovation: Dialect Revalorization and Maximal Orthographic Distinction in Rural Norwegian Writing. Multilingua, 38, 1: 51-68, 2018. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Anthropology: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/multi-2018-0006
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