Utomhusporträtt David Karlander

Photo: Jesper Ahlin Marceta/YAS

About David's research

I am a linguist working on linguistic thought, that is to say, on people’s ideas, views and theories of language and linguistic matters. My research takes interest in people’s engagement with small and relatively marginalized languages, such as Övdalsk, Meänkieli and Esperanto. I have studied how and why lay linguists, professional scholars and language advocates have attempted to theorize, document, revive or, sometimes, even created languages. In doing so, I’m attempting to understand what is at stake in the linguistic practices of these people, not least in relation to the methods and ideals of academic linguistics. I have grappled with these questions in studies of the Övdalsk language revitalization movement, of Esperantist philosophies of language, and of the importance of the Tornedalen area for research on multilingualism in Sweden. A better understanding of these matters, I think, may yield a better understanding of the intricate relationship between linguistics and society at large.

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Photo: Jesper Ahlin Marceta

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I think it is important that researchers push themselves out of the bunkers of their disciplines and talk to colleagues in other areas. Not least the humanities have much to gain – and much to contribute – in a discussion across discipline boundaries. I hope that I can contribute to such a development during my membership period in the Young Academy of Sweden.

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