Session 1: Insular Nordic prosody
Session 2: The left periphery in Scandinavian
Session 3: Information structuring and typology of question and answer pairs
Session 4: Experimental approaches to meaning and understanding across languages
Session 5: Swearing in the Nordic countries
Insular Nordic prosody
Nicole Dehé (Konstanz) & Michael Schäfer (Freiburg) & Allison Wetterlin (Oxford)
Research on the prosody of the Mainland Nordic languages began in the 20th century and has been quite prolific during the past decade, paying special attention to word accents in Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, both with regard to the phonological distribution of stød (Basbøll 2005) and lexical tones (Wetterlin 2010, Riad 2003) and variation in their phonetic realisation (Kristoffersen 2007, Riad 2006). The prosody of the closely related Insular Nordic languages, Icelandic and Faroese, has not received nearly as much attention. Like a few Norwegian and Swedish dialects, the Insular Nordic languages have no equivalent of lexical tones or stød. Instead, these languages are classified as pitch accent languages. Thus, research on Icelandic and Faroese does not have the same obvious targets as the other North Germanic languages with regard to word prosody and is more or less sparsely explored territory.
Word prosody research of the Insular Nordic languages has hitherto principally concentrated on the placement of primary and secondary stress, but with differing focal points in the two languages (e.g., Árnason 2011 on primary and secondary stress in Faroese, Árnason 1985, 2011 and Hayes 1995 on primary and secondary stress in Icelandic). To further the understanding of this language group and its prosodic development from Old Norse, there is a definite need for a comparative approach to ascertain the similarities and differences between the two languages. Primary stress placement in the Insular Nordic languages, for example, is predictably on the word initial syllable of native words, yet, Icelandic and Faroese differ in the stress of loanwords. Secondary stress assignment in these languages is also said to be similar, i.e. rhythmic, alternating every other syllable starting from the main stress. This has the consequence that secondary stress can even fall on inflectional suffixes, a claim, which is not common for Germanic, and has not remained undisputed (Gussmann 1985). However, there are exceptions to this generalisation when considering compounds and here is where the literature tells us that Icelandic and Faroese also differ.
Systematic research on the intonation of Icelandic and Faroese is also very much in its infancy, despite some relatively recent publications (Árnason 1998, Dehé 2009, 2010, all on Icelandic) and some earlier work. In particular, there is a need for systematic research based on carefully controlled experiments or on large-scale (semi-) spontaneous spoken language. Moreover, with very few exceptions, the relation between syntactic structure and sentence-level prosody (e.g., prosodic phrasing) has hardly been studied at all for either of the two languages.
The focus of the proposed thematic session is the prosody of the Insular Nordic languages, Icelandic and Faroese as seen from a comparative perspective, with the goal of spotlighting linguistic areas of these languages that have received little attention up to now. The session is an initiation of five researchers presently working on similar prosodic areas in Icelandic and/or Faroese: intonation, word stress, the interaction of word stress with intonation and influence of word stress on segments. These researchers propose to anchor the session with the talks listed below. Since the major goal of this thematic session is to bring together researchers working on prosody in the Insular Nordic languages and to promote an active exchange of ideas between them, all researchers interested in and working on Insular Nordic prosody are encouraged to submit abstracts.
– Árnason, Kristján. 1985. Icelandic word stress and metrical phonology. Studia Linguistica 39: 93–129.
– Árnason, Kristján. 1998. Toward an analysis of Icelandic intonation. In Nordic Prosody: 7th Conference, Joensuu 1996, Stefan Werner (ed.), Frankfurt/ Berlin/ New York: Peter Lang. 49–62.
– Árnason, Kristján. 2011. The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press.
– Basbøll, Hans. 2005. The Phonology of Danish. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press. Dehé, Nicole. 2009. Towards an intonational grammar for Icelandic. Nordic Journal of
Linguistics 32(1): 5–34.
– Dehé, Nicole. 2010. The nature and use of Icelandic prenuclear and nuclear pitch accents: Evidence from F0 alignment and syllable/segment duration. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 33(1): 1–35.
– Gussmann, Edmund. 1985. The morphology of a phonological rule: Icelandic vowel length. In Phono-Morphology: Studies in the Interaction of Phonology and Morphology, Edmund Gussmann (ed.), Lublin: RW KUL. 75–94.
– Hayes, Bruce. 1995. Metrical Stress Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
– Kristoffersen, Gjert. 2007. Dialect variation in East Norwegian tone. In Tones and Tunes: Typological Studies in Word and Sentence Prosody (Vol. 1), Tomas Riad & Carlos
– Gussenhoven (eds.), Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 91–111.
– Riad, Tomas. 2003. Diachrony of the Scandinavian accent typology. In Development in Prosodic Systems, Paula Fikkert & Haike Jacobs (eds.), Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 91–144.
– Riad, Tomas. 2006. Scandinavian accent typology. Sprachtypol. Univ. Forsch. (STUF) 59 (1): 36–55.
– Wetterlin, Allison. 2010. Tonal Accents in Norwegian: Phonology, Morphology and Lexical
Specification. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Shadowing adverb reduction in Icelandic – phonetic, phonological or morphological reduction?
A stress test for segmenthood – on the segmental status of preaspiration in Icelandic and Faroese
Michael Schäfer / Kristján Árnason
Prosodic structure and vowel lenght in Modern Icelandic
Secondary stress in Faroese compounds – a word game
Nicole Dehé / Allison Wetterlin
Phonological shifts in West-Nordic vowel systems and prosody
The left periphery in Scandinavian: a comparative perspective
Thórhallur Eythórsson (Reykjavík) & Jóhannes Gísli Jónsson (Reykjavík)
This workshop focuses on the syntax of the Left Periphery in Scandinavian, ranging from issues such as clause typing and root vs. embedded asymmetries to the architecture of the left periphery within the cartographic approach of Rizzi (1997) and much subsequent work. Building on work emerging in recent years, especially in the wake of the ScanDiaSyn and NORMS projects, we hope to address a host of issues pertaining to the Scandinavian Left Periphery such as the following:
– Question formation (wh-questions, yes/no-questions, the syntax of question particles) and verb raising to the Left Periphery (Westergaard and Vangsnes 2005).
– The contribution of discourse oriented elements to the illocutionary force of (embedded) V2 clauses (Wiklund 2009, Julien 2010).
– Topicalization in main and embedded contexts and Left-Dislocation (Wiklund, Bentzen, and Hrafnbjargarson 2009).
– Stylistic Fronting (Franco 2009, Ott 2009, Wood 2011, Egerland 2011).
– The syntax of exclamatives (Jónsson 2010, Vangsnes 2010, Delsing 2010).
– Null arguments and imperatives (Sigurðsson and Maling 2010).
– The så-Construction (Nordström 2010).
– The relevance of root vs. non-root contexts to phenomena such as V2/subject-verb inversion, illocutionary force, epistemic modality, and pro-drop.
We invite papers on particular topics in individual languages, papers comparing the phenomena across several Scandinavian varieties, as well as papers charting the clausal left edge in Scandinavian in comparison to other languages (e.g. West Germanic or Romance languages).
On the morpho-syntax of verb/adverb placement and fronting in embedded clauses in Faroese
Embedded main point of utterance and object shift
What makes a good relative particle
Ellen Brandner / Ires Bräuning
The rise and fall of V2
Optionality, variation, and change
On infinitival interrogatives in Scandinavian
Discourse particles and Icelandic exclamatives
Jóhannes Gísli Jónsson
Discourse triggered syntactic variation in the left periphery – the
case of Norwegian discourse ellipses
Object drop and the Empty Left Edge Condition (ELEC)
Halldór Sigurðsson / Joan Maling
Koffer dæm ikke sir det? – word order in wh-questions in North Norway
Information structuring and typology of question and answer pairs: Estonian and French compared with a few other languages
Helle Metslang (Tartu) & M. M. Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest (Paris)
Questions are divided into the three basic types: polar, content and alternative questions. Polar questions (e.g. Is he here?) ask for information on the truth of a proposition, requiring an affirmative or negative answer. Content questions are posed to clarify some component of a proposition (e.g. Where is he?) and alternative questions require the choice of the right answer from alternatives for a component of a proposition (e.g. Is he here or at home?). Asking questions is one of the basic speech acts, and languages have developed special sentence types for forming questions – interrogative sentences, which are categorised as polar, content and alternative interrogatives according to the question posed. In the communication questions can also function as statements, requests, proposals etc., answers can differ according to their actual function in discourse, and the information of both parts of the question and answer pairs can be structured in different ways. The workshop focuses on the functions and structures of the questions and answers and on the markers of interrogativity in Estonian, French and some other languages.
Socially sensitive answer prefaces in Estonian
Interrogative requests in Estonian, Russian and Finnish
Karl Pajusalu / Renate Pajusalu
Conjunctive markers of polar questions in Estonian
Helle Metslang / Karl Pajusalu / Külli Habicht
The information structure of questions and answers in oral Estonian: focus on polar questions
Responses to reversed polarity questions in Estonian everyday interaction
Polar questions as other-initiations of the repair in Estonian interaction
Olga Gerassimenko / Tiit Hennoste / Riina Kasterpalu / Kirsi Laanesoo / Krista Mihkels / Andriela Rääbis
Experimental approaches to meaning and understanding across languages
Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen (Oslo) & Barbara Schmiedtová (Heidelberg)
Our use of language is an everyday affair – but our understanding of how we construe meaning in and through language is still unclear: we do not have a clear picture of how we ‘encode’ complex thoughts into linguistic signals and how we interpret such signals in appropriate ways.
This theme session will address the following questions: (a) How do fundamental typological properties (e.g., word order, aspect, definiteness) interact with general cognitive/pragmatic factors governing the interpretation and generation of sentences in discourse (e.g., effects of complexity; Gricean principles); (b) How and to which extent do advanced second language speakers acquire the language-specific principles of information organization in texts. The focus will be on comparisons across Danish, Norwegian, English, German, as well as Czech, a contact language to German, on the one hand, and on the other hand on advanced learners of English or German having one of these languages as their first language.
Methodologically, the session comprises a variety of on- and off-line empirical methods, such as eye-tracking, acceptability judgments, translations. Some of the presentations combine several techniques; all investigations are based on larger participant groups. A major theoretical issue addressed in this theme session is the question of if and to what extent the availability of explicit means for expressing a linguistic function affect the interpretation of alternative forms, as entailed by the principles of Relevance and Quantity (Grice, 1975; Levinson, 2000). To this end, it will be relevant in how far these linguistic means are obligatory, whether they are grammaticalized, lexicalized, or fixed expressions. The theme session will address the question of whether these alternative linguistic means play the same role independent of the linguistic level they operate on.
Referring expressions in direct and indirect speech in Czech, English, German and Norwegian
Barbara Hemforth / Kaja Borthen / Barbara Schmiedtová / Bergljot Behrens / Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
Understanding coordinate clauses in Czech, English, German and Norwegian
Bergljot Behrens / Barbara Schmiedtová / Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen / Barbara Hemforth
Pairing form and meaning in English and Norwegian – Conjoined VPs or conjoined clauses?
Bergljot Behrens / Charles Clifton Jr. / Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen / Lyn Frazier
Crosslinguistic variation in explanatory discourse? – implicit causality of verbs in German and Norwegian
Oliver Bott / Torgrim Solstad
Language contact between German and Czech – a psycholinguistic perspective
Achieving written narrative competence in second language – comparing German and Norwegian learners of English
Barbara Schmiedtová / Bergljot Behrens
Swearing in the Nordic countries
Marianne Rathje (København)
Swearing research has traditionally suffered from neglect (cf. e.g. Battistella 2005, Gray 1993, Davis 1989). Perhaps, due to the controversial and taboo nature of such language use, linguists have not taken swearing seriously, resulting in a lack of academic research (Johnson et al. 1985, Rieber 1979). In recent years, however, as swear word usage has become recognized as a legitimate research area, more linguists have investigated the area. But this research has primarily been on swearing in the English speaking parts of the world (e.g. Murphy 2009, McEnery 2005, Jay 1992), whereas research on swearing in the Nordic languages is still sparse. There are, however, some researchers who have investigated swear words in the Nordic countries (cf. Rathje 2011, Stroh-Wollin 2008, Hasund 2005, Fjeld 2002, Andersson 1977), and the aim of this theme session, first and foremost, is to unify these Nordic researchers for the first time, and to jointly create an overview of Nordic swearing as a research theme. Another purpose with the theme session is to define patterns and variations in the use of swear words in the Nordic languages. Are there consistent conclusions and themes in the Nordic languages when it comes to swearing, and could this possibly create a basis for further and future joint Nordic research projects?
With a Nordic perspective, the contributors of this theme session will present research from sociolinguistic, social psychological, historical, and contrastive perspectives on the following subjects: Nordic attitudes to swearing, Nordic swearing in speech, Nordic swearing in writing, Nordic swearing and age, Nordic swearing and gender, the historical and future development in Nordic swearing, Nordic swear words compared to swear words in other languages, and Nordic swear words in translation. All subjects concern the main focus of the conference which is linguistic research on the Nordic languages (here Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish), the last two themes directly relate to the conference’s special focal topic on language contact (between Finnish and other languages and between Norwegian and English and Spanish).
More specific questions addressed by the contributors will include:
– How did Norwegian swear words develop historically?
– How does the “mother theme” in swearing manifest itself differently in Norwegian, English, and Spanish?
– Do Swedes use swear words according to their attitudes to swear words, or are there discrepancies between attitude and usage? And how do the attitudes to swearing reflect the development in the Swedish society?
– Do young Danes swear more often than elderly Danes, and do the generations use different swear words?
– Have Swedish men and women historically used different swear words?
– How did celestial and diabolic swear words develop historically in Sweden?
– How are the following Finnish swear words, perkele, hitto and vittu, used in fiction, and are there discrepancies between the original and the translated swear words in modern Finnish fiction?
– Andersson, L.-G., 1979: Varför är det fult att svära? En enkät om attityder til svordomar, Publication 16, Department of General Linguistics, University of Umeå.
– Battistella, E.L., 2005: Bad language. Are Some Words Better than Others? Oxford.
– Davis, H., 1989: “What makes bad language bad?” I: Language & Communication, 9, 1. S. 1–9.
– Fjeld, R.E. Vatvedt, 2002: ”Om banning og sverting”. I: Maal og Minne.
– Gray, P., 1993: “Oaths and laughter and indecent speech”. I: Language & Communication, 13, 4. S. 311–325.
– Hasund, I.K., 2005: Fy farao! Om nestenbanning og andre kraftuttrykk. Oslo.
– Jay, T., 1992: Cursing in America. A psycholinguistic study of dirty language in the courts, in the movies, in the schoolyards and on the streets. Philadelphia.
– Johnson, F.L. & M.G. Fine, 1985: Sex differences in uses and perceptions of obscenity. Women’s Studies in Communication 8. S. 11–2.
– McEnery, T., 2005: Swearing in English. Bad Language and Power from 1586 to the Present. London & New York: Routledge.
– Murphy, B., 2009: “She's a F**king ticket": the pragmatics of f**k in Irish English: an age and gender perspective”, Corpora 4(1). S. 85–106.
– Rathje, M. (2011): ”Fuck, fandme og for pokker. Danske bandeord i tre generationers talesprog”, I:
Språk och stil 21
– Rieber, R.W., C. Wiedemann & J. D’Amato, 1979: Obscenity: its frequency and context of usage as compared in males, nonfeminist females and feminist females. Journal of
Psycholinguistic Research 8 (3). S. 201–223.
– Stroh-Wollin, U., 2008: Dramernas svordomar – en lexikal och grammatisk studie i 300 års svensk dramatik. (Svensk dramadialog nr. 10, FUMS Rapport nr 224). Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet. Uppsala.
Do young people swear more often than other generations?
Your mum! – teenagers’ use of mother insults in English, Spanish and Norwegian
Kristina Hasund / Anna-Brita Stenström / Eli-Marie Drange
Perkele! – a look at the function and frequency of swearwords in original and translated Finnish fiction
With the devil and Our Lord through three centuries – men’s and women’s swearing in Swedish dramas
The vocabulary of Norwegian cursing – some of its history, meanings and function
Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld
Last update: April 15, 2012.