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The transience of American Swedish

Klintborg, Staffan LU (1999) In Lund Studies in English 98.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

"Dom säjer de - do - dopey Swedes - but I tell you that - dom e inte så dopia"



Avhandlingen beskriver språket som talas av den sista generationen svenska utvandrare till Nordamerika.



Inflytandet från engelskan gör sig gällande på olika sätt, t.ex. som codeswitching, där ord eller fraser från engelskan används oförändrade ("dopey Swedes", "but I tell you that"), eller som transfer, där formen anpassats till svenskan ("dopi(g)a"), eller där betydelsen eller konstruktionen visar spår av engelskan ("Han gick till Amerika i nitton tjugoett"). I avhandlingen hävdas dock att ingen skarp åtskillnad bör göras mellan dessa olika former av språkväxling.

... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

"Dom säjer de - do - dopey Swedes - but I tell you that - dom e inte så dopia"



Avhandlingen beskriver språket som talas av den sista generationen svenska utvandrare till Nordamerika.



Inflytandet från engelskan gör sig gällande på olika sätt, t.ex. som codeswitching, där ord eller fraser från engelskan används oförändrade ("dopey Swedes", "but I tell you that"), eller som transfer, där formen anpassats till svenskan ("dopi(g)a"), eller där betydelsen eller konstruktionen visar spår av engelskan ("Han gick till Amerika i nitton tjugoett"). I avhandlingen hävdas dock att ingen skarp åtskillnad bör göras mellan dessa olika former av språkväxling.



Många drag i Amerikasvenskan kan förklaras utifrån två motsatta processer: konvergens och divergens. Med divergens avses påståendet att denna variant alltmer avviker från Rikssvenskan. Konvergens däremot utmärker förhållandet mellan Amerikasvenskan och engelskan, som alltmer närmar sig varandra.



Avhandlingen visar att ingen del av språket är immun mot påverkan. Även ord som anses tillhöra de områden som är starkast befäst i ens första språk, såsom räkneord och pronomina, kan automatiseras i andra språket ("hon var eleven år"). Sådana drag liksom det ymniga bruket av s.k. pragmatiska partiklar ("and, well, you know") ger uttryck för en mycket hög grad av anpassning.till den amerikanska kulturen.



Trots att enstaka individer lyckats bevara sitt modersmål ganska oanfrätt, visar dessa rön, att svenskan i Amerika är ett utdöende språk, vilket också betonas i avhandlingens titel: "The transience of American Swedish". (Less)
Abstract
This thesis concerns two languages in contact: English and Swedish. It is based on interviews with Swedes who came to North America with the last major wave of emigration. The bilingual phenomena that appear in their speech, ranging from codeswitching to morphological, structural and semantic transfer, are considered as forming a continuum of language alternation.



The study explores the opposing forces of convergence and divergence. Divergence is another term for the gradual growing apart of Standard and American Swedish, whereas convergence characterizes the relation between American Swedish and English. The two forces operate on both grammar and lexicon.



Parallel ways of adopting English influences... (More)
This thesis concerns two languages in contact: English and Swedish. It is based on interviews with Swedes who came to North America with the last major wave of emigration. The bilingual phenomena that appear in their speech, ranging from codeswitching to morphological, structural and semantic transfer, are considered as forming a continuum of language alternation.



The study explores the opposing forces of convergence and divergence. Divergence is another term for the gradual growing apart of Standard and American Swedish, whereas convergence characterizes the relation between American Swedish and English. The two forces operate on both grammar and lexicon.



Parallel ways of adopting English influences are found in the two varieties of Swedish. For example, transferred open-class items tend to be assigned to the same ?unmarked? categories as regards the gender and plural of nouns and the conjugation of verbs.



Language alternation affects all aspects of language, including the closed word-class items which are usually alleged to remain unchanged in the first language despite strong second-language influences. Against that view, this study shows that even categories like numerals can become automatic in the second language. This indicates a high degree of acculturation, as does the frequent use in Swedish speech of English pragmatic markers.



These and other processes described in the study suggest various degrees of first language attrition and language death. Without denying the existence of individual cases of strong language maintenance, the overall evidence points to the transience of American Swedish. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Docent Boyd, Sally, Göteborg
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
transfer, pragmatic markers, nonce-borrowing, markedness, language loss, language death, language attrition, language alternation, divergence, convergence, continuum, contact linguistics, codeswitching, avoidance, American Swedish, automaticity, triggering, English language and literature, Engelska (språk och litteratur)
in
Lund Studies in English
volume
98
pages
171 pages
publisher
Lund University Press
defense location
Department of English Room 239
defense date
1999-06-04 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUHSDF/HSEN--99/1026 --SE+171
ISSN
0076-1451
ISBN
91-7966-574-8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9d2b3317-58a9-4d46-8f83-b169533ebe51 (old id 19228)
date added to LUP
2007-05-25 08:40:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:59
@phdthesis{9d2b3317-58a9-4d46-8f83-b169533ebe51,
  abstract     = {This thesis concerns two languages in contact: English and Swedish. It is based on interviews with Swedes who came to North America with the last major wave of emigration. The bilingual phenomena that appear in their speech, ranging from codeswitching to morphological, structural and semantic transfer, are considered as forming a continuum of language alternation.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The study explores the opposing forces of convergence and divergence. Divergence is another term for the gradual growing apart of Standard and American Swedish, whereas convergence characterizes the relation between American Swedish and English. The two forces operate on both grammar and lexicon.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Parallel ways of adopting English influences are found in the two varieties of Swedish. For example, transferred open-class items tend to be assigned to the same ?unmarked? categories as regards the gender and plural of nouns and the conjugation of verbs.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Language alternation affects all aspects of language, including the closed word-class items which are usually alleged to remain unchanged in the first language despite strong second-language influences. Against that view, this study shows that even categories like numerals can become automatic in the second language. This indicates a high degree of acculturation, as does the frequent use in Swedish speech of English pragmatic markers.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
These and other processes described in the study suggest various degrees of first language attrition and language death. Without denying the existence of individual cases of strong language maintenance, the overall evidence points to the transience of American Swedish.},
  author       = {Klintborg, Staffan},
  isbn         = {91-7966-574-8},
  issn         = {0076-1451},
  keyword      = {transfer,pragmatic markers,nonce-borrowing,markedness,language loss,language death,language attrition,language alternation,divergence,convergence,continuum,contact linguistics,codeswitching,avoidance,American Swedish,automaticity,triggering,English language and literature,Engelska (språk och litteratur)},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {171},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Studies in English},
  title        = {The transience of American Swedish},
  volume       = {98},
  year         = {1999},
}