From the late 1800s throughout the early 1900s, 1.3 million people emigrated from Sweden to America. This means that a large proportion of the Swedish-speaking world at that time were actually living in America, and even today many Swedes are moving to the United States. Despite this we know very little about both older and present-day American Swedish. There are plenty of 50 year-old recordings of American Swedish, but these have been studied very sparingly, and current Swedish in America has not been documented at all. The project Swedish in America is a study of the Swedish language in the United States today and aims to reveal how today's American Swedish differs from the varieties spoken 50 years ago. Our plan is to obtain recordings and other language studies with Swedish Americans of the first, second and third generation. We visited Minnesota in June 2011 for a first set of recordings, and in 2012 made recordings in Illinois.
One purpose for collecting this material is to create a solid database for researchers worldwide with an interest in the Swedish language. The new data provides the project participants and other researchers with the possibility to investigate for instance code-switching – in this case the switch between English and Swedish – and dialectal variation, and also to study how the speakers perceive their linguistic identity and how words and word order are influenced by language contact.
Please follow the project on Facebook and in the calendar.
Maia Andréasson, University of Gothenburg,
Karta: Wikimedia Commons
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