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BOOK NOTICES 197 Magnus Ljung. Stockholm: Bokf örlaget Trevi, 1988. Pp. 193. This book is largely based on two studies of English borrowings in the Swedish print media carried out by the author in 1983-84 and 1985. The first of these was part of a larger investigation which also tested speakers' acceptance of particular English borrowings and their pronunciation of English loanwords. The investigations showed the computer field as the most receptive area (four to five times as many borrowings as any other field), followed by popular music and technical fields, with film, economics , 'general culture', etc., trailing far behind. L sampled two different computer magazines in the 1983-84 study but excluded computer publications from his later study in order to include other specialized areas of interest (music, film, and economics) as well as weeklies and other publications of more general interest. Predictably , his lists of the most frequent English loanwords in Swedish (99-101) reflect the categories of publications sampled, thus leaving open to doubt the degree to which his findings represent the overall state of affairs with respect to English influence in contemporary Swedish. L provides a conventional taxonomy of types of loans (60) around which the book is largely organized. The most significant aspect of this classification is the broad division into direct and indirect loans and L's discussion of construction loans as a subcategory of the latter. Among the more interesting of the English influences reported are those which show reanalysis ofEnglish forms and meanings. Examples include the loanword city used generically to mean 'city center, particularly of a big city' as in Stockholms city, and lama ankor 'lame ducks', which results from a partial loan translation and an extension in the meaning of the Swedish adjective lam, originally 'paralysed'. In construction loans L detects changes in Swedish syntax which follow English models. The verb innehâlla 'contain' (in the primary sense of holding something) now has the additional sense 'restrain, hold back', as in holjen som kan innehâlla en hardsmalta 'the shielding which can contain a meltdown'. Similarly, the verb sälja 'sell', which formerly had only a straightforward active meaning ('She sells books'), now also occurs in constructions with a middle sense, e.g. Boken scdjer bra 'the book is selling well.' Instances of the use of the second -person singular pronoun du in an impersonal sense (instead of usual Swedish man 'one') are also reported. Since Sweden is a country with a long history of sensitivity to foreign linguistic influences and of substantial receptivity to them as well, L is careful to point out that, although some fields may be very much affected by an influx of English borrowings, the effect on Swedish as a whole is not particularly great, the average level of borrowing for all texts sampled being only 0.05%. The greatest degree of receptivity to most borrowings is exhibited by younger speakers . In a section of his concluding chapter L attempts to reassure Swedish purists that the language is in no sense impaired by the loans and that there is no impending creolization or language death. The bulk of English borrowings in Swedish are, according to this study, indirect rather than direct loans. These more subtle influences do not disturb Swedish sensibilities with respect to orthography or pronunciation and are, for L, analogous to internal semantic changes in the language. The book consists of six chapters, notes, bibliography , and a listing ofmany ofthe loanwords identified in L's studies. The principal findings of L's research are reported in the chapters entitled 'English in Swedish' (56-85), 'How much English is there?' (86-101), and 'Who approves of English borrowings?' (102-135). L has produced a useful if somewhat selective study of English influence on Swedish in the past decade . This is a good example of a genre often seen in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe, a book about linguistic phenomena which is accessible both to specialists and to laypersons. The book is written in Swedish. [Ronald H. Southerland , The University of Calgary.] Historical English: On the occasion of Karl Brunner's 100th birthday. Ed. by Manfred Markus. (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, Anglistische Reihe...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 197-198
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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