Language and Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century: Nynorsk and Scots in Comparative Context

Jens Johan Hyvik, Robert McColl Millar, Andrew G. Newby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Analyses of nationalism in nineteenth-century Europe have demonstrated the
importance of language in crystallising group identity. The century witnessed a
continent-wide growth in the idea that language – especially regional linguistic
differences from a hegemonic or imperial state language – could form the basis of a
strong regional, or, latterly, national identity. This article explores the divergent
trajectories which the language question took in Norway and Scotland during this
period, and argues that differences in national identity, caused partly by the two nations’ different constitutional histories, had a considerable impact on the development of Scots and Nynorsk in their respective national contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-42
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016



  • Scots
  • Nyorsk
  • Scotland
  • Norway
  • Class
  • Nationalism

Cite this