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Linguistics Colloquium Talk – Peterson

December 6, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

From the magic word to the f-word: how English pragmatic borrowings become part of everyday Finnish

Elizabeth Peterson, University of Helsinki


In recent years, a number of scholars have contributed to the so-called “pragmatic turn” (Andersen et al, 2017) in language contact research. Some of this research focuses on pragmatic borrowings from English, for example discourse markers, interjections and exclamations. My research on contemporary spoken Finnish has focused on two types of English pragmatic borrowings: the lexical politeness marker pliis ‘please,’ which varies with Finnish kiitos (see Peterson & Vaattovaaara 2014) and the English expletives shit, fuck, damn and oh my god. Using data from large-scale attitude and grammatical acceptability tests, corpora and matched guise techniques, I offer an overview of some of the localized social and pragmatic meanings of these borrowed forms in today’s Finnish, as well as how some of these forms have been grammatically adapted.

Gisle Andersen, Cristiano Furiassi and Biljana Mišić Ilić, eds. 2017. The Pragmatics of Borrowing. Special issue of Journal of Pragmatics 113

Elizabeth Peterson and Johanna Vaattovaara. 2014. Kiitos and pliis: the relationship of native and borrowed politeness markers in Finnish. Journal of Politeness Research 10:2, 247–269.


December 6, 2018
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


367 Van Hise