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Does you mean I? : Generic du (‘you’) as a case of informalization and subjectification in Swedish

Skärlund, Sanna LU (2017) In Norsk Lingvistisk Tidsskrift 35(1). p.129-146
Abstract (Swedish)
In Swedish today, du (‘you’) is sometimes used with generic reference. This use of generic du is often claimed to be a new invention, triggered by English influence in the late 20th century. However, in this article an analysis of occurrences of du from the period 1225–2013 is presented that demonstrates that generic du was used even as early as the Old Swedish period (1225–1526), i.e. long before the English influence on Swedish began. Nevertheless, the analysis also reveals that the use of generic du has increased in newspapers during the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, and that examples of generic du from before and after the middle of the 20th century differ in several... (More)
In Swedish today, du (‘you’) is sometimes used with generic reference. This use of generic du is often claimed to be a new invention, triggered by English influence in the late 20th century. However, in this article an analysis of occurrences of du from the period 1225–2013 is presented that demonstrates that generic du was used even as early as the Old Swedish period (1225–1526), i.e. long before the English influence on Swedish began. Nevertheless, the analysis also reveals that the use of generic du has increased in newspapers during the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, and that examples of generic du from before and after the middle of the 20th century differ in several important aspects, the most important being that du in Swedish today often refers to the speaker him/herself. In this article it is argued that this development is best understood as a case of informalization (e.g. Fairclough 1995) and subjectification (e.g. Traugott 2010). (Less)
Abstract
In Swedish today, du (‘you’) is sometimes used with generic reference. This use of generic du is often claimed to be a new invention, triggered by English influence in the late 20th century. However, in this article an analy­sis of occurrences of du from the period 1225–2013 is presented that demonstrates that generic du was used even as early as the Old Swedish period (1225–1526), i.e. long before the English influence on Swedish began. Nevertheless, the analysis also reveals that the use of generic du has increased in newspapers during the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, and that examples of generic du from before and after the middle of the 20th century differ in several important aspects, the most important being that du in... (More)
In Swedish today, du (‘you’) is sometimes used with generic reference. This use of generic du is often claimed to be a new invention, triggered by English influence in the late 20th century. However, in this article an analy­sis of occurrences of du from the period 1225–2013 is presented that demonstrates that generic du was used even as early as the Old Swedish period (1225–1526), i.e. long before the English influence on Swedish began. Nevertheless, the analysis also reveals that the use of generic du has increased in newspapers during the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, and that examples of generic du from before and after the middle of the 20th century differ in several important aspects, the most important being that du in Swedish today often refers to the speaker him/herself. In this article it is argued that this development is best understood as a case of informalization (e.g. Fairclough 1995) and subjectification (e.g. Traugott 2010). (Less)
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author
organization
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
generic pronouns, du, you, Swedish, subjectification, informalization, language change, generic pronouns, du, you, Swedish, subjectification, informalization, language change
in
Norsk Lingvistisk Tidsskrift
volume
35
issue
1
pages
129 - 146
publisher
Novus Forlag
ISSN
0800-3076
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
13bb1c2c-6c78-46b8-b516-11095d52d95f
date added to LUP
2017-08-18 09:28:32
date last changed
2017-08-18 11:09:18
@article{13bb1c2c-6c78-46b8-b516-11095d52d95f,
  abstract     = {In Swedish today, du (‘you’) is sometimes used with generic reference. This use of generic du is often claimed to be a new invention, triggered by English influence in the late 20th century. However, in this article an analy­sis of occurrences of du from the period 1225–2013 is presented that demonstrates that generic du was used even as early as the Old Swedish period (1225–1526), i.e. long before the English influence on Swedish began. Nevertheless, the analysis also reveals that the use of generic du has increased in newspapers during the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, and that examples of generic du from before and after the middle of the 20th century differ in several important aspects, the most important being that du in Swedish today often refers to the speaker him/herself. In this article it is argued that this development is best understood as a case of informalization (e.g. Fairclough 1995) and subjectification (e.g. Traugott 2010).},
  author       = {Skärlund, Sanna},
  issn         = {0800-3076},
  keyword      = {generic pronouns, du, you, Swedish, subjectification, informalization, language change,generic pronouns,du,you,Swedish,subjectification,informalization,language change},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {129--146},
  publisher    = {Novus Forlag},
  series       = {Norsk Lingvistisk Tidsskrift},
  title        = {Does <em>you</em> mean <em>I</em>? : Generic <em>du</em> (‘you’) as a case of informalization and subjectification in Swedish},
  volume       = {35},
  year         = {2017},
}