Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Dr. David Karlander

Dr. David Karlander

The University of Hong Kong
School of English

External Junior Fellow (Marie S. Curie FCFP)
September 2021 - August 2022

Raum 02 011
Tel. +49 (0)761 - 203 97425


I am a linguist. I obtained an MPhil from Uppsala University in 2011 and PhD from Stockholm University in 2017, and have subsequently held positions at the University of Hong Kong (Society of Fellows in the Humanities), Stockholm University and Örebro University. My work focuses on systems of linguistic thought. I have researched, written and published on lay-linguistics, on the history of linguistics, on minority language politics in Scandinavia, as well as on graffiti and other forms of public writing. My current research deals with the social history of multilingualism and linguistic cosmopolitanism in twentieth century Sweden.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Karlander, D. 2021. Cities of sociolinguistics. Social Semiotics 31(1), 177–193.

  • Karlander, D. 2017.  Authentic Language. Stockholm: Dissertations in Bilingualism 28.

  • Karlander, D. 2018. The linguistic prerequisites for cultural analysis. Signs and Society 6(3), 504–530.

  • Karlander, D. 2020. Ideological indeterminacy: Worker Esperantism in 1920s Sweden. Language & Communication 71, 95–107.


Dreams of Unity: Language, Nation and Internationalism in the Swedish Workers’ Movement, 1900–1945.

My FRIAS project engages with multilingualism in early 20th century Sweden. I develop a two-pronged approach to my object of study. On the one hand, I analyze some of the most widespread beliefs and ideas about multilingualism and linguistic heterogeneity that circulated among the participants in the Swedish workers’ movement. On the other hand, I explore the practical use of multiple linguistic resources in the organizational and discursive practices of this movement. Through a detailed account of these dynamics, I likewise offer a historically grounded rejoinder to contemporary research on multilingualism in present-day Europe. The principal remit of the project is to expand the current understanding of the social history of multilingualism in Northern Europe. The project will also let me challenge the framing multilingualism as a recent phenomenon, singular to a period starting in the late 1960s. To this end, I investigate the construal of multilingualism as a strategy, goal, obstacle and threat in the Swedish workers’ movement. The project spans a selection of empirical cases, including international solidarity, Esperantism and popular education.