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Gisle Andersen

Sorry mine tusen skrivefeil! Phrasemic and syntactic integration of the borrowed apology marker sorry

The study of linguistic borrowing is a major topic within contact linguistics. In recent years this scientific field has sharpened it focus on items that are pragmatic and/or phraseological in nature, including the borrowing of multiword units and discourse-pragmatic items such as politeness formulae, greetings, expletives, etc. (Andersen, 2014, 2020, 2022; Andersen et al., 2017; Peterson, 2017; Peterson & Beers Fägersten, 2018; Terkourafi, 2011). This article focuses on a case of particular interest: the apologetic marker sorry. It has been documented that this English form has featured as a common borrowing in Norwegian, where it is used – alongside the domestic variants (jeg) beklager and unnskyld – with a speech act function of apologising for a (usually minor) offense (Andersen, 2022; Graedler, 1998). The Anglicism has a relatively long history in Norwegian (Görlach, 2001). This article aims to complement this research from a diachronic and a synchronic perspective. I look into a substantial amount of written data with a view to determining more precisely its date of emergence in the Norwegian language. This is facilitated by the compilation of the large text archive of the National Library of Norway. I will also explore the syntactic and phraseological properties of this uninflected form in contemporary Norwegian. This entails analysing usage data from the large, web-based NoTenTen17 corpus with a view to observing how this uninflected form functions not only as a stand-alone interjection (Sorry!) but also enters into phraseological and syntactic contexts (e.g. sorry at … ‘sorry that’). The study shows that the anglicism sorry has a longer history in Norwegian than what has been previously documented, being firmly established as adjective and interjection already in the 1940s. It also shows that its use in contemporary language is syntactically integrated in a remarkably wide variety of ways, including some contexts that lack an equivalent pattern in the source language.

Abstracts: Text

Martina Huhtamäki, Minna Levälahti, Elizabeth Peterson & Heidi Vepsäläinen

Comparison of response particles in Finland Swedish and Finnish: A project description and a pilot study

The aim of this project is to compare language contact and change in Finland Swedish and Finnish by investigating response particles, both native like joo/ja ‘yes’ and particles borrowed from English, like jess ‘yes’. We combine the approaches Discourse-Pragmatic Variation (Peterson et al 2022) and Interactional Linguistics (Couper-Kuhlen & Selting 2018) to study the variation of response particles, their users and contexts of use, and what kind of responses they are used for. The purpose of comparing Finland Swedish and Finnish is to observe contact phenomena concerning English; for example, we can observe whether borrowings from English to Finland Swedish filter first through Finnish (cf, Swedish filis ‘atmosphere’ → English feeling, Finnish fiilis) or if they come directly from English. 

Using transcripts from Swedish and Finnish podcasts as data, we analyze the use of heritage compared to borrowed response particles in the podcast conversations. The analysis makes use of conversation analysis methods and considers the social background of the participants. At present, the data consists of Swedish discussion from 7 people and 4–5 episodes of about 45 minutes each. We aim to acquire similar data from Finnish podcast discussions before the workshop. 

For this workshop, we focus on which response particles are used in sample portions of the podcast discussions, for example heritage Finnish (kyllä), heritage Swedish (jo), or borrowings from English (jess, jees, ool rait). For now, the analysis remains qualitative and centers around conversation analysis methods. In the future, we aim to explore prosodic aspects of the response particles as well as considering sociolinguistic variation. 


Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth & Selting, Margret, 2018. Interactional linguistics: An introduction to language in social interaction. Cambridge University Press. 

Peterson, Elizabeth, Turo Hiltunen & Kern, Joseph, eds. 2022. Discourse-pragmatic variation and change: Theory, innovations, contact. Cambridge University Press.

Abstracts: Text

Lars Gunnar Lundsten

The functions of þú veist / þúst / þst in Twitter: An outline for further discussion

The aim of this study is to discuss what (types of) functions the use of the discourse particle þú veist / þúst / þst in Icelandic twitter messaging can have, which is a translated, pragmatic loan from English/American 'you know'.

This study has its origin in a more comprehensive project around culturally hegemonic discursive patterns in public discourse in Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. The study as well as the project as whole rest heavily on Critical Discourse Analysis (Weiss & Wodak 2007) and Gramsci´s (Williams 2019) infuential theory of hegemonic power.

Historically, the phrase þú veist obviously was just an unmarked element of standard Icelandic, meaning literally 'you know'. In present-day oral Icelandic, as well as written discourse in social media, the phrase þú veist and particularly its abbreviated forms þúst and þst, has lost most of its traditional semantic value and taken several pragmatic functions.

Twitter was chosen as source of data since it relies more on language – and compact dialogue – than several other social media. In Icelandic society, Twitter has until recently been considered as something of an “elite” platform, for instance compared to Facebook.

In the light of my preliminary data, it seems that þúst/þst plays a role in establishing discursive power in an implicit struggle against traditional, purist and thereby supposedly archaic norms in Icelandic society.

For this workshop, the focus is on discussing what hegemonic structures in public discourse particular uses of the particle þú veist / þúst (þust) / þst can be said to challenge.


Williams, A. (2019). Political hegemony and social complexity: Mechanisms of power after Gramsci. Springer.

Weiss, G., & Wodak, R. (Eds.). (2007). Critical discourse analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Abstracts: Text

Susanna Karlsson, Marie Sörlin och Gustav Bockgård


I den här datasessionen undersöker vi några olika varianter av fuck (fucking, what the fuck) på svenska. Materialet är ett fritt tillgängligt Youtubeklipp från en populär Twitchstreamare som spelar Grand theft auto med en annan deltagare. Spelarna interagerar med varandra och kommenterar löpande vad som händer i spelet. Vem använder uttrycken, när och hur i interaktionen?

Abstracts: Text

Kristin Børde Elstrand, Universitetet i Oslo, Norge

«yes» på norsk

Som det fremgår på nettsiden, har de nordiske språkene tatt opp flere pragmatiske partikler fra engelsk inn i hverdagsspråket. En partikkel som jeg har tenkt mye over er «yes» i responsive turer på spørsmål på norsk. Her betyr ikke «yes» nødvendigvis «ja» slik som det gjør på engelsk i tilsvarende kontekster.

I denne sammenhengen syns jeg det er interessant å undersøke når «yes» opptrer som respons til «ja/nei»-spørsmål i de nordiske språkene – og hvilke betydninger partikkelen realiserer i disse turene. «yes» bærer gjerne mellommenneskelige funksjoner som viser talerens subjektive holdninger til innholdet. Dette kan vi se i vurderinger slik som i «Yes dette blir gøy!», eller i jubelbrøl etter at en fotballspiller har scoret et viktig mål «Yes!». Hvis man innleder responser til «ja/nei»-spørsmål med «yes» i stedet for «ja», lurer jeg på hvordan det modifiserer det kommende bidraget. I disse samtaleturene ønsker jeg å analysere om «yes» i større grad fungerer som en forsterker som viser affektiv betydning enn det «ja» gjør. Dette blir interessant å undersøke i tilfeller der «yes» opptrer med et utvidet bidrag (A: «Skal vi dra på stranda?», B: «Yes, det skal vi» vs. «Ja, det skal vi»), og når det forekommer alene (A: «fikk du levert oppgaven?», B: «yes» vs. «ja»). I begge tilfeller må intonasjon tas i betraktning.

Abstracts: Text

Johannes Widengren & Jukka Tyrkkö - Linnaeus University, Sweden

English swear words on Nordic Twitter: Regional characteristics of lexical repertoires and mixed-language forms 

Although the English language is not indigenous to any of the five Nordic countries, over the last several decades English has gained extensive ground in the region, becoming a de facto second or third language for much of the younger population (e.g. Peterson 2020). The widespread use of English has also resulted in extensive borrowing of English lexis into the national languages (see, e.g. Stålhammar 2004, Leppänen & Nikula 2007). In this paper, we introduce the Nordic Tweet Stream (NTS) corpus and present the results of a contrastive study of the use of English swear words in tweets posted in all five Nordic languages (see also Beers Fägersten 2017, Vaattovaara & Peterson 2019, Coats 2021).

The NTS corpus is a linguistic monitor corpus continuously compiled at Linnaeus University since 2015 (Laitinen et al. 2017, Tyrkkö et al. 2021). A representative random sample of tweets posted from within the entire Nordic region, the NTS dataset includes the full range of Twitter metadata, facilitating a wide range of linguistic and multimodal queries. Importantly, NTS also includes the geolocation data of all tweets, which allows the study of regional differences.

In the study, the forms and frequencies of the six English swear words fuck, shit, damn, ass, bitch, hell and variants thereof in the 2020-2021 material of the NTS were compared, showing stark differences between the Nordic languages. Contrary to expectations, the frequencies were far higher in Icelandic tweets compared to the other languages, while the words were also morphologically and orthographically adapted to a greater extent. The words were the least frequent in Finnish tweets, where they were also less adapted and appeared mostly in phrasemes and code-switches. With the exception of Norway, the English swear words were used significantly more by users tweeting primarily from large cities (100,000+ inhabitants), which supports Vaattovaara & Peterson’s (2019) claim that English-sourced borrowings carry social indices of urbanicity that promote their use in certain speaker groups.


Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2017. “FUCK CANCER, Fucking Åmål, Aldrig Fucka Upp: The Standardisation of FUCK in Swedish Media.” In Beers Fägersten, Kristy & Karyn Stapleton (eds.) Advances in Swearing Research: New Languages and New Contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 65–86.

Coats, Steven. 2021. 'Bad language' in the Nordics: profanity and gender in a social media corpus. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 53:1, 22–57

Laitinen, Mikko, Jonas Lundberg, Magnus Levin, Alexander Lakaw. 2017. Utilizing multilingual language data in (nearly) real time: the case of the Nordic Tweet Stream. Journal of Universal Computer Science 28:11, 1038–1056.

Leppänen, Sirpa & Tarja Nikula. 2007. Diverse uses of English in Finnish society: Discourse-pragmatic insights into media, educational and business contexts. Multilingua, 26, 333–380.

Peterson, Elizabeth. 2020. Making sense of bad English: An introduction to language attitudes and ideologies. London: Routledge.

Stålhammar, Mall. 2004. English influence on the Swedish vocabulary 1800-2000. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 3:2, 85–100.

Tyrkkö Jukka, Magnus Levin and Mikko Laitinen. 2021. ‘Actually’ in Nordic Tweets. In World Englishes, special issue on “Discourse Markers and World Englishes” by Rüdiger, Sofia & Sven Leuckert (eds.). 1-19.

Vaattovaara, Johanna & Elizabeth Peterson. 2019. Same old paska or new shit? On the stylistic boundaries and social meaning potentials of swearing loanwords in Finnish. Ampersand 6.

Abstracts: Text

Søren Sandager Sørensen, Aarhus University, Denmark

Fuck-syntax and fucking-syntax in Danish: Sequential variation in assessments

The word fuck and various forms of it have a large variety of uses in Danish, and is one of the most commonly used loanwords from English (Heidemann Andersen 2021). In my presentation, I will share my findings on the sequential properties of fuck and related forms, and how they perform assessing actions. The most frequent constructions are fuck as freestanding or prefacing and fucking embedded within another phrase, both of which can be used in more specific constructions. The data stem from Danish everyday conversations.

Generally, the embedded fucking is used in first assessments, often by a story-teller. It seems to point forward in the interaction, and it is also used in introducing new topics or making them ‘expandable’. The prefacing fuck is very common in the construction fuck hvor ADJ ‘fuck how ADJ’ and is used for delivering agreeing second assessments. However, this does not mean that it does not have projective properties. The prefacing fuck is also used with a following copula assessment clause, and I hope to be able to discuss which properties it shares with the hvor-construction, and how interactants draw the line between the prefacing and freestanding fuck.

These practices seem to be related but not identical to the practice of fuck-insertion for English as described by Hoey et al. (2021), and I will attempt to compare between English and Danish uses of fuck, and potentially other languages.


Heidemann Andersen, Margrethe. 2021. Fucking nice. Engelske lån i Ex on the Beach. In Yonatan Goldshtein, Inger Schoonderbeek Hansen & Tina Thode Hougaard (eds.), 18. Møde om Udforskningen af Dansk Sprog, 41–56. Århus: Nordisk - Institut for Kommunikation og Kultur.

Hoey, Elliott M., Paul Hömke, Emma Löfgren, Tayo Neumann, William L. Schuerman & Kobin H. Kendrick. 2021. Using expletive insertion to pursue and sanction in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics 25(1). 3–25.

Abstracts: Text
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