Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gutnish? (aka "Center and Periphery")

So we're checking in from Gotland off the Swedish coast, where they like to think they are not quite part of Sweden and that the language is not quite Swedish.  I was chatting with a long-timer (lifer?) and I asked:  When you do to Stockholm, do they know where you are from the moment you open your mouth.  His response
Well, you know, language changes in the center a lot faster than it does at the periphery.  What we speak here is closer to Old Norse, more or less what they still speak in Iceland.  When I go to Stockholm, I speak English.
Apparently there is a recognized local language, though whether that was what my host had in mind is perhaps a moot point. But that stuff about center and periphery--is it true, I wonder? Perhaps it is a corollary to the proposition that fringe populations are more severe in the politics than those at the center because they find themselves by a beleaguered frontier spirit.


Jimbo said...

You may be correct if you are talking about an interior border, e.g. India-Pakistan or France-Germany or, for that matter, Sweden-Finland in days of yore. However that is most definitely not true of coastal (periphery) and interior parts of a country even within the same culture. Coastal peoples are almost always far more cosmopolitan and more progressive than their interior counterparts simply because they are exposed to so many different cultures, languages technologies, etc. We have only to look at our own country as a prime example.

marcel said...

"We have only to look at our own country ..."


How parochial. According to your own statement, you must be from the interior of the country.