Welcome to the Language Council of Sweden
– the official language cultivation body of Sweden.
The Swedish word "språkvård" is a loan translation of the German word "Sprachpflege". Literally, språkvård means 'language care', but is often translated as language cultivation or language planning. This involves the making of handbooks, giving lectures and linguistic guidance and raising people's linguistic awareness, but also entails longer-term efforts to influence the language situation in the country.
The Language Council (Språkrådet, formerly known as Svenska språknämnden) is the primary institution for language cultivation in Sweden. It is a departement of the official language authority The Institute for Language and Folklore (Institutet för språk och folkminnen).
The Council's mission is to monitor the development of spoken and written Swedish and also to monitor the use and status of all other languages spoken in Sweden. Primarily, that means promoting the use of Swedish sign language and our five official minority languages, Finnish, Meänkieli, Sami, Romani and Yiddish. Yet another task is to strengthen Nordic language unity. The Council has about 20 employees. Similar language councils exist in the other Nordic countries.
The Council publishes books and handbooks and two journals, "Klarspråksbulletinen" and "Kieliviesti". We register new words and deal with fields such as terminology and language technology. We offer lectures as well as free consultation in linguistic matters. In the last two years, we have published several handbooks, e.g. a handbook on correct language use and a dictionary of phraseology and collocations.
A lot of our work is done in cooperation with other organisations, e.g. in The Nordic language council, The joint group for Swedish computer terminology, The group for media language, and The Council for Swedish place-names. The Swedish language cultivation organisations have no legal powers but fulfil their task through recommendations.
During the last decades, English has started to compete with Swedish in a growing number of fields in Swedish society – in large, international companies, in the educational system and in the media industry. This poses a threat to democratic values as many Swedes have insufficient knowledge of English.
In December 2005, riksdagen (the Swedish chamber) decided on a new language policy for Sweden, with four comprehensive goals:
The fact that Swedish is the majority language in Sweden means for example that safety instructions, operating instructions, product information, machine translation systems etc. must be available in Swedish. The language used in the educational system should normally be Swedish. And the necessary resources must be made available for the teaching of Swedish as a second language.
The origin of this language policy is a programme drawn up by the Swedish Language Council in 1998.