Málbeiting og sambýli við ensku: Eigindleg rannsókn á what og ha í tölvuleikjum íslenskra grunnskóladrengja

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This article deals with pragmatic borrowing in Icelandic youth language, in
particular the response particle what which is compared to the native corresponding form ha. The aim of the study is twofold: to conduct an inventory of the pragmatic borrowings that are used during the conversation and to describe the use of what in comparison to the native form ha. The research questions are as follows: 1) What is the extent of pragmatic borrowing in the data and what are the main functions of the borrowed items? 2) What does a close analysis of what and ha tell us about pragmatic borrowing in modern Icelandic? The study is empirical and is based on 4 hours and 12 minutes of conversation between fifteen-year-old schoolboys who are playing computer games while communicating online. The method used is interactional linguistics.
The study shows that direct lexical borrowing from English is relatively frequent
in the material, or 3,3% of all running words in the data. The borrowings were
categorized into six classes: 1) politeness markers, 2) greetings and address terms, 3) swearing, 4) hortatives, 5) response particles, and 6) discourse markers. Furthermore, a comparison of what and ha indicates that the two words are used in different ways. While ha is used both as open repair initiator and as a non-aligning response to new information, what only belongs to the second category. In addition, what seems to be taking over as a non-aligning response (31 vs. 8 occurrences of ha as non-aligning responses). This indicates that the word-pair might be caught in a process of functional change which could lead to a clear division of labour between the two tokens. Thus, pragmatic borrowing does not only bring new lexical items to the receiving language. It also shapes the functions of native words, which in return may lead to new communicative patterns.
Original languageIcelandic
Title of host publicationFrændafundur 11
Subtitle of host publicationFyrirlestrar frá íslensk-færeyskri ráðstefnu í Reykjavík 16.-18. ágúst 2022
EditorsJóhannes Gísli Jónsson, Tóta Árnadóttir
Place of PublicationReykjavík
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-9935-25-505-1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2023

Cite this