Foreign loans in the Nordic multiethnolects
LINK | Young, N.J. (2021). ‘Benim’ – A new pronoun in Swedish. In H. Van de Velde, N. Haug Hilton, & Knooihuizen (Eds.), Studies in Language Variation: Selected Papers of ICLaVE10. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
LINK | Young, N.J. (2018). Copycats, ja dom shouf' - Using hip hop to compare lexical replications in Danish and Swedish multiethnolects. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 24(2), 174-184.
Funding body: Det gule hus (and self-financed)
Whereas prior research has examined lexical borrowing after the fact, the Nordic multiethnolects offer real-time data on the absorption of lexical material in contact scenarios. This is especially the case for multiethnolectal hip hop, a genre that stretches back to the late 1990s in Sweden and offers longitudinal data on (1) the entry of new loans and (2) the ethnic leveling of those loans. This project is focused on constructing and analyzing a comprehensive corpus of Nordic hip hop. The corpus currently contains over 1.7 million words.
A key output from this project is describing and explaining the emergence of the first-person personal pronoun "benim". A loan from Turkish, it is now a full-fledged first-personal pronoun in Stockholm's contemporary vernacular – used by young men and women, regardless of their actual ethnic heritage (Somali, Eritrean, Assyrian, etc.). In tracing the grammaticalization of "benim" in Swedish hip hop, I have uncovered evidence about its development that offers theoretical insights about the cognitive limits (and possibilities) of functional loans.
In ongoing work, I focus more broadly on the types of loans and their diachronic emergence in the corpus. My main focus is Swedish where the genre is the most mature, but I am also building a corpus of Danish hip hop to use in comparative light. Danish multiethnolect is newer than Swedish and is less rich as it pertains to lexical loans and the grammatical depth of those loans.