Constructions of bilingualism in Finnish Government programmes and a newspaper discussion site debate
Pöyhönen, S., & Saarinen, T. (2015). Constructions of bilingualism in Finnish Government programmes and a newspaper discussion site debate. Current Issues in Language Planning, 16 (4), 392-408. doi:10.1080/14664208.2014.979650
Published inCurrent Issues in Language Planning
© 2015.Taylor & Francis This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Taylor & Francis.
The concept of bilingualism in Finnish political discourse is predominantly used in the meaning of official or state bilingualism, focussing on the two constitutionally defined ‘national languages’; i.e. Finnish and Swedish. Legally, both Finnish and Swedish speakers have a right for public services, such as schooling or health care, in their first language. On the other hand, several language ideological debates have taken place in recent years, challenging especially the status of Swedish in administration and education. These debates have reshaped the discourses on what counts as bilingualism. This paper analyses on one hand the historical discursive development of the “official will” presented in the Finnish Government programmes on the concept of bilingualism and the current language ideological debates that take place in an Internet discussion site, offered by a Finnish newspaper, on the other. These two discourses seem to operate on separate fields and among different actors. We show that language policy discourses are essentially multi‐sited: they confirm, contest and challenge views that are produced by various stakeholders over time. ...