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Introduction to Language and Culture in Northern Scandinavia, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Introduktion till språk och kultur i norra Skandinavien

This syllabus is valid: 2023-07-24 and until further notice

Course code: 1NS104

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: First cycle

Grading scale: Two-grade scale

Responsible department: Department of Language Studies

Established by: Faculty director of studies, Faculty of arts, 2023-03-30


This course offers an introduction to language and culture in Northern Scandinavia. Throughout four sub-courses, students will encounter literary works about and from the region and learn about the language situation both past and present. Students will read and discuss a contemporary work of fiction in its entirety and become acquainted with Icelandic sagas, Sami and Tornedalian authorship.

In addition to Nordic languages, an overview of minority languages in the area is provided, both in terms of present-day circumstances and how the language situation has evolved over time. The course highlights the multilingual landscapes of today and relates them to an earlier multilingualism in the region.

Overall, this course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the unique linguistic and cultural landscape of Northern Scandinavia. Through readings, discussions, and research, students will develop a nuanced understanding of language and culture in the region, and the complex interplay between the two. 

Expected learning outcomes

To be awarded a Pass grade, the student should be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding 

  • Account for a selection of significant literary works from Northern Scandinavia.
  • Describe the linguistic context in Northern Scandinavia today, as well as the area's multilingual history. 

Competence and skills

  • Analyze literary texts and, based on the analysis, describe cultural values and attitudes.
  • Discuss identity formation and the significance of place in cultural contexts.

Judgement and approach

  • Relate the current linguistic context in Northern Scandinavia, as well as the historical background, to current language policy issues. 

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements

Form of instruction

The course is entirely net-based. Teaching takes place in the form of recorded lectures, written instructions, quiz exercises and text-based seminars.

English is the medium of instruction in all modules. 

Examination modes

All examinations are conducted in English.

All four modules are examined through assessment of written contributions in online discussion groups and quizzes, and each module is assessed with either the grade Pass (P) or Fail (F).

The examiner can decide on deviations from the modes of examination in the syllabus for a student who has been determined eligible for pedagogical support due to a disability. Individual adjustments to the mode of examination will be made on the basis of the student's needs. The mode of examination will be adjusted in relation to the expected learning outcomes. Student in need of Individual adjustments to the mode of examination, should request this at the department no later than 10 days before the examination. The examiner makes a decision based on the request, and the decision is communicated to the student.

A student who has been awarded a Pass grade cannot be re-examined.

A student who has not received a Pass grade on an exam has the right to re-take the exam (a re-sit) on a course on which they have ever been registered. The first re-sit shall be offered no later than two months after the regular exam, but no earlier than ten working days after the result of that exam has been announced. For tests held in May or June, the first re-sit may be offered within three months of the regular exam. The date for the re-sit shall be announced no later than in conjunction with the regular exam. At least one more re-sit shall be offered within a year of the regular exam.

In cases where an exam cannot be repeated according to the rules in effect regarding re-sits, it will be replaced with another task. The scope and content of such a task should be reasonably proportionate to the missed exam.

An examiner may decide that a student who has not quite met the examination requirements, but is close to a Pass grade, be given the opportunity to take a supplementary examination to achieve the Pass grade. Such an examination shall be individually tailored to the goal(s) that the student has not met, and shall be arranged within two weeks after the result of the examination has been announced, but before the next examination session. 

Other regulations

The final date for the submission/completion of assignments falls on the last day of the semester, unless otherwise stated by the teacher. All assignments need to be completed or submitted within the time frame set by the teacher in order to be considered for examination, otherwise they must be completed over again. 

In the event of a decision that the course will no longer be offered, or if the syllabus has been revised, students are guaranteed at least three exams (including the regular one) based on the previous syllabus during a time of no more than two years after the previous syllabus ceased to apply or the decision was made that the course no longer be offered. 


Valid from: 2023 week 30

Ekman Kerstin
London : Vintage : 1996 : 444 s. :
ISBN: 0099521210
Search the University Library catalogue

Laestadius Ann-Helen
Simon & Schuster : 2023 : 400 sidor :
ISBN: 9781668007167
Search the University Library catalogue

Encyclopedia of the Barents Region. : Vol. 1 A-M
Olsson Mats-Olov, Backman Fredrick, Elenius Lars
Oslo : Pax : 2016 : 559 s. :
ISBN: 978-82-530-3858-2
Search the University Library catalogue

Encyclopedia of the Barents Region. : Vol. 2 N-Y
Olsson Mats-Olov, Backman Fredrick, Elenius Lars
Oslo : Pax : 2016 : 593 s. :
ISBN: 978-82-530-3859-9
Search the University Library catalogue

Gregersdotter Katarina
North actually: the meaning of place in Åsa Larsson’s crime novels about Rebecka Martinsson” I: Journal of Northern Studies, 15, 1, s. 25– 36.
Institutionen för språkstudier : 2021 :

Regulating multilingualism in the North Calotte: The Case of Kven, Meänkieli and Sámi Languages. I: Acta Borealia. A Nordic Journal of Cirmpolar Societies, s. 1–23.
Pietikäinen Sari, Huss Leena, Laihiala-Kankainen Sirkka, Aikio-Puoskari Ulla, Lane Pia
Acta Borealia : 2010 :

The past, present and future of the Pite Saami language: Sociological factors and revitalization efforts
Valijärvi Riitta-Liisa, Wilbur Joshua
Included in:
Nordic journal of linguistics [Elektronisk resurs]
1999- : 43 : pages 295-329 :

Sanders Ruth H.
languages of Scandinavia : seven sisters of the North [Elektronisk resurs]
2017 :
Online access for UMUB

Edlund Lars-Erik
Minority language place-names: a practice-oriented study of the establishment of the South Sami Kraapohke in Swedish Lapland
Included in:
Names [Elektronisk resurs]
2005-2007 : 66 : pages 156–165 :

”The working language is Norwegian. Not that this means anything, it seems”: when expectations meet the new multilingual reality. I: Acta Borealia. A Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies, s. 45–59.
Hiss Florian, Loppacher Anna
Institutionen för språkstudier : 2021 :