School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Language and Human Relations Styles of Address in Contemporary Language Introduction
    Clyne, M ; Norrby, C ; Warren, J (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2009)
    The way in which people address one another is crucial to expressing social relationships and is closely linked with cultural values. In English we call some people by their first names, and others 'Mr' or 'Ms', followed by their surname. In some other languages there are different ways of saying 'you' depending on the degree of social distance. Exploring practices in the family, school, university, the workplace and in letters, this book reveals patterns in the varied ways people choose to address one another, from pronouns to first names, from honorifics to titles and last names. Examples are taken from contemporary English, French, German and Swedish, using rich data from focus group research, interviews, chat groups, and participant observation.
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    Perceptions of variation and change in German and Swedish address
    German and Swedish speakers diverge in contemporary address practice. The Swedish T form has become unmarked, with V limited to very specific situations. Apart from some specific T or V contexts, German now has coexistent systems, one with T, the other with V as the unmarked form, with different speakers or networks preferring one or the other. In an ongoing project, focus groups and participant observation in Austria, (eastern and western) Germany and Sweden and with Swedish speakers in Finland have identified factors and contexts determining degree of social distance and hence address choice. First name use is more marked than T use in Swedish but the two are closely linked in German. National variation is more substantial in Swedish than in German. In both languages there is some reversal of liberalization and distaste for imposition of the address form.