Kungliga Akademien i Åbo och den ortografiska standardiseringen ‒ var Åbo kulturellt isolerat?


  • Anders Stendahl


In this article, I discuss the development of a standardized Swedish orthography in the Royal Academy of Turku (Swedish: Åbo). The Academy was located in the main city of the eastern part of Sweden, i.e. in Turku in Finland, before it was moved to Helsinki in 1828 during the Russian era. The Swedish orthography was standardized in the 18th century, with the final codification in 1801, and Stockholm acted as the center of the process. The focus of this study is the relation between the orthographic development at the Royal Academy of Turku and the orthographic development in Swedish in general, as this relation is seen as an indicator of the density of the contacts between the intellectual elites in Stockholm and Turku. The perspective of this article forms a contribution to the debates concerning the period in which the Finland-Swedish linguistic features emerged, as their existence has previously been explained by researchers such as Nordenstreng (1902) with reference to Finland being a culturally isolated area during the Swedish era. The material consists of excerpts of 500 words from 44 dissertations, promotional poems and religious texts printed by the university printing house from 1723 to 1828. From these texts, 22 orthographic variables that cover all major orthographic processes during the period are analyzed. The main results are that the texts from the 19th century are written with the standardized orthography of its day, and that the standardization process during the 18th century followed the same pattern in Turku as in Swedish in general. This indicates that the contacts between the intellectual elites in Stockholm and Turku were close in the 18th and early 19th century. However, it does not rule out the possibility that local Finland-Swedish linguistic features emerged at the same time.

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