Striden mellom de som ønsket å bygge et felles standardisert språk i Flandern og de som ikke ville det, har mange paralleller til kampen mellom bokmål og nynorsk. Els Belsack har sammenlignet språkdebattene i sin doktoravhandling.
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«Det finst galne maalmenn i alle land!» - Een transnationale analyse van het taalstandaardiseringsdebat in Vlandern en Noorwegen in tijden van natievorming (1760 – 1917) er tittelen på ph.d.-avhandlingen som hun disputerer med både ved UiA og Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).
Avhandlingen er skrevet på nederlandsk, og disputasen foregår på engelsk. Ved UiA har hun fulgt doktorgradsprogrammet ved Fakultet for humaniora og pedagogikk, med spesialisering i språkvitenskap.
Els Belsack har levert ph.d.- avhandlingen etter Cotutelle-ordningen: En cotutelle-avtale er en avtale om felles veiledning som to institusjoner kan inngå for å regulere rammene, som opptak, bedømmelse og vitnemål. Fellesgraden kan dokumenteres i form av ett felles vitnemål fra institusjonene eller et vitnemål fra hver av institusjonene, eventuelt begge deler. Les mer i universitetsstyresak Ssak 97/10: Retningslinjer for fellesgrader og cotutelle (felles veiledning).
Nederland har mange fellestrekk med Norge med hensyn til at det fins en rekke geografiske områder med egen dialekt - og sterke følelser knyttet til dem. Skriftspråket er likt. Flamsk er dialekten i den nederlandske provinsen Holland og belgiske Flandern.
Språkstriden mellom fransk og flamsk er velkjent. Her er det parallelle trekk til språkstriden i Norge i samme tidsperiode mellom bokmål og utviklingen av nynorsk. Avhandlingen er en komparativ analyse av disse diskusjonene.
"Els Belsack is currently working as a PhD student at the VUB (in cooperation with the University of Agder, Norway) on a comparative analysis of the language planning processes of Southern Dutch and Norwegian during the long 19th century (1794-1917).
The problematic selection and codification of the standard language and more specifically the competition between the integrationist and particularist movement in Flanders vs. the Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk supporters are the main focus of her investigation."
The starting point of Els Belsack's research was a comparative analysis of the language conflicts in nineteenth century Norway and Flanders on two different levels, in the footsteps of studies on language emancipation movements (Miroslav Hroch 1985) and language standardization processes (Einar Haugen 1966).
On a macrolevel the struggle of the Flemish Movement against the dominant language and culture of the French-speaking elite in Belgium showed some similarity to the struggle of the 'Norwegianness movement' as initiated by the Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland, reacting against the Danish culture and language.
On a second, internal/ microlevel Belsack described the norm selection debates on the standardization of the future Dutch and Norwegian written language in Flanders and Norway.
The starting point of the Flemish language integrationists and the precursors of the Riksmål (nowadays Bokmål) movement were closely linked to the language of the former 'oppressors' (the Dutchmen and the Danish), whereas the aim of the Flemish language particularists and of the Landsmål (nowadays Nynorsk) movement was to cultivate and promote a truly 'indigenous', national and thus separate written language without any connection to Northern Dutch or Danish.
The question to which extent one can emphasize or stretch this comparability of both cases on both levels, was one of the main questions of Belsack's dissertation.
After analyzing the nation state formation processes, the language standardization processes and the language debates themselves, Belsack had to conclude that many of these supposed similarities were only superficial.
As a matter of fact, there were several crucial differences as well: not only on the level of the nation state formation process, on the political recuperation of the language standardization debate or on the relationship in terms of linguistic distance between both languages or language varieties, but also on both the outcome and the codification strategies used in the standardization process, as well as on the nature of the conflict in general. After all, the language conflict in Norway was a sociopolitical struggle, in contrast to Flanders/Belgium, where the linguistic oppositions were closely related to ethnic and regional oppositions.
On the discursive level there were however some striking analogies.
It is remarkable to notice how both the Flemish and the Landsmål movement constructed a similar 'story' about the emancipation and cultivation of a 'small' language of the 'oppressed' people - even to such an extent that Landsmål actors recognized many elements of their domestic struggle in the Flemish language debate.
That is what the main title of Belsack's PhD refers to: "There are crazy language strugglers in all countries" refers to a quote of an early twentieth-century Landsmål supporter in the Norwegian language debate, who was trying to justify the language struggle in Norway by comparing it to similar movements in other European countries - like Belgium.
That's what Belsack's transnational analysis was concerned with: it analyzes to which extent nineteenth-century writers, linguists, politicians and journalists from Norway and Flanders were looking for foreign counterparts beyond the borders of their own nation state.
One of Belsack's main findings was how the language conflict in Flanders had awakened the interest of Norwegian language strugglers.
Not all of them however agreed on the question to which extent the situation and conflict in Flanders were actually similar to what was happening in Norway. Landsmål supporters (especially the writer and activist Arne Garborg) appeared to emphasize the similarities with the Flemish case, whereas Riksmål supporters (especially the famous writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson) would strongly challenge this idea of comparability and emphasize the differences between the domestic and the Flemish language issue.
Belsack's research has complemented earlier transnational studies focusing on the literary interest between Norwegian and Flemish actors.
Studies bij Diederik Grit (1991 & 1994), Bart Dooms (2001) and Els Biesemans (2013) revealed how the literary production in Norway from Landsmål as well as early Riksmål writers has served as an example and inspiration for the integrationist and particularist writers of the Flemish Movement at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twenteeth century.
When focusing on the linguistic rather than the literary debate, it became clear that both the integrationist and the particularist actors of the Flemish Movement have served as an example for the Norwegian Landsmål movement (1877-1914) - but definitely not for the Danish-minded actors and the early Riksmål movement.
Kandidaten: Els Belsack received her BA and MA in English and Dutch Linguistics and Literature (2004-2008) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and obtained a postgraduate in Scandinavistics at the Universiteit Gent (2008-2010).
Her main research interests can be summarized as Historical Sociolinguistics, Language Policy & Planning, Language & Nationalism, Linguistic Purism and Scandinavistics in general.
Prøveforelesning og disputas finner sted i Rom E2-009, Camilla Colletts hus, Campus Kristiansand.
Visedekan Helje Kringlebotn Sødal leder disputasen.
Avhandlingen er skrevet på nederlandsk, og disputasen foregår på engelsk.
Tid for disputas: Mandag 30. november 2015 kl 13:15
Tittel på avhandling: «Det finst galne maalmenn i alle land!» - Een transnationale analyse van het taalstandaardiseringsdebat in Vlandern en Noorwegen in tijden van natievorming (1760 – 1917). Søk etter avhandlingen i AURA - Agder University Research Archive, som er et digitalt arkiv for vitenskapelige artikler, avhandlinger og masteroppgaver fra ansatte og studenter ved Universitetet i Agder. AURA blir jevnlig oppdatert.
Førsteopponent: Professor Jeroen Darquennes, University of Namur, Belgium
Annenopponent: Pensjonert professor Arne Torp, UiO