Standardization of Swedish Place-Names Yesterday and Today
Since 2000, the Swedish Heritage Conservation Act (Swedish Kulturminneslagen) has included a section on ‘good place-name practice’, with an emphasis on the importance of preserving place-names as part of the nation’s cultural heritage. This marked the culmination of a trend that had been in progress for more than three decades. Around 1970 an animated debate on place-names began as a reaction to a parliamentary resolution to reorganize the Swedish real estate register, whereby a large number of Swedish village and farm names were in danger of disappearing from the register and the corresponding maps. Thanks to this debate, the decision was revised and the threat was averted. As a result, the scope of standardization of Swedish place-names was broadened from being an entirely linguistic task performed by place-name scholars to a question also of preserving and protecting place-names, and archaeologists and cultural historians became involved in the standardization process. My paper is a short summary of the early years and an account of the steps taken towards this new approach to standardization in Sweden, together with comments on the current legislation.