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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Winter 2022

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Pine, Judith M.S.

Second Advisor

Keppie, Christina

Third Advisor

Fisher, Josh.


Heritage language is a powerful register through which heritage as a political construct is created and an individual’s language and ethnic identity are thereby performed. Norwegian, the focus language of this thesis, has benefited from formal structural racism in the form of United States immigration laws as well as pervasive white privilege which places heritage languages of BIPOC groups at a significant disadvantage and marks speakers of those languages as deficient. Although Norwegian has, as a result of this privileged position, been less vulnerable to the language shift which affects many of the world’s languages, the language ideologies which Norwegian heritage speakers in the US engage with shape languages attitudes in ways that may be antithetical to language maintenance – the most paramount ideology in the present study being the Critical Norwegian Listening Subject created via stancetaking. Through qualitative data collected by participant observation and semi-structured interviews this thesis examines how Norwegian heritage language learners engage with their language and ethnic identities and sheds light on the factors that create discrepancies in how different HLs are treated in the US while also exploring the barriers that learners face.




linguistics, linguistic anthropology, language identity, heritage language, language ideology


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Heritage language speakers--United States; Anthropological linguistics--United States; Norwegian language--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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