Tracking Swedish - American English
A Longitudinal Study of Linguistic Variation & Identity

By Angela Karstadt
December 2003
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-554-5793-2
277 pages, 6 " x 9 "
$57.50 Paper Original


This is a Ph.D. dissertation. This study investigates the connection between language variation and ethnic identity among older bilingual Swedish Americans. The study traces how factors relating to Swedish immigration to America, starting in the mid- 1800s and continuing well into the 1900s, and the resulting strong social networks established in Swedish-American communities have created and maintained Swedish-American English, a hybrid language variety.

Socio-historical dimensions of two communities, one urban (Minneapolis, Minnesota) and one rural (Lindsborg, Kansas), receive special attention. The linguistic material examined in this book comes from more than seventy life-history interviews recorded in the Midwest over three decades: 1960s, 1980s and 1990s.

The book explores three sociolinguistic phenomena: the effects of long-term language contact on syntax (specifically relative clause constructions); how some Swedish Americans use pragmatic particles (items such as ja, you know, 'denn'/then/da, and 'dere'/there/dar); and the role that Swedish-American English plays in presenting ethnic identity. About the Author: Angela Karstadt received her Ph.D. in the Department of English at the University of Minnesota in 1999 and is now senior lecturer of English linguistics at Gavle University College in Gavle, Sweden. The present volume is an expansion of her doctoral dissertation, defended at the University of Minnesota.

Language Studies
Studia Multiethnica Upsaliensia, No. 16

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