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Institute for the Languages of Finland

What is language planning?

‘Language planning’ refers to various ways of influencing the way a language is used. It comprises corpus planning, text analysis and status planning. Language planning aims to describe and issue appropriate guidelines on standard language usage. Because conventions vary with the style and function of any text, language planning provides detailed information on how language is used in specific contexts and how it is changing, as well as issuing related guidelines.

Corpus planning is the analysis and steering of literary and standard usage, grammar, vocabulary and proper names. This is done with the aid of expert newsletters, manuals, advisory articles, dictionaries and lectures.

Text analysis focuses on language usage in specific contexts. It aims to improve written texts for optimal fluency in their particular contexts. The main tools used for this purpose are education, language consultation and text revision.

Status planning analyses and monitors the evolution and functions of language within society. It strives to influence public attitudes within the linguistic community by taking a stand on language policy issues. It also aims to promote linguistic purism and the exclusion of foreign words in key areas of discourse.

The Institute for the Languages of Finland is responsible for language planning for Finnish, Swedish, Saami, Finnish sign language and Romany. The expert bodies in charge of this work are statutory Language Boards, who issue decisions-in-principle and general guidelines on standard usage within each linguistic community.

Language is a resource that belongs to us all. The Institute thus strives to issue guidelines that are as clear, simple and easy to apply as possible for all members of the linguistic community in any given context.

Updated 02 January 2012

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