Stockholm university

Catrin Norrby

About me

My research interests are in sociolinguistics, conversation analysis, intercultural and cross-cultural communication, language policy and Swedish as a second language.

During 2013–2020 I was director of the research programme  Interaction and Variation in Pluricentric Languages. Communicative patterns in Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish (IVIP), a collaboration between four institutions: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsinki and Turku. While this project is concluded financially, our research group continues to collaborate and publications are still appearing on interactional patterns and pragmatic routines in the two national varieties of Swedish.

My most recent research focuses on how humans interact with social robots, in particular robot-assisted learning for students who speak Swedish as a second language. The collaborative research project Interaction with social robots for education: Robot-assisted learning for students with diverse language backgrounds started in 2023 and will run for three years. In this project I collaborate with colleagues in Education at Stockholm and Linköping Universities, and in Speech Communication at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. 

I am also engaged in long-standing collaborative work with colleagues in RUMACCC (The Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-Cultural Communication) at the University of Melbourne. In particular, we have investigated address and introductions in initial encounters with speakers of English as L1 and L2. Most recently, we have turned our focus to corporate address practices in large multinational companies, such as IKEA.

Together with long-standing research collaborator Gisela Håkansson, Linnaeus University and Lund University, I have explored grammatical, lexical and pragmatic aspects of Swedish as a second language, comparing learners in Sweden with those who live and study abroad. In another project, we investigated perceptions of language, norms and language ideology, based on an empirical study of attitudes to language constructions among high-school students and their teachers.


I supervise PhD stundents and teach in sociolingusitics, interaction analysis and intercultural pragmatics, in particular at postgraduate levels and in the doctoral programme. 

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Multilingualism and Pluricentricity: A Tale of Many Cities

    2023. John Hajek (et al.).


    This volume explores linguistic diversity and complexity in a range of urban contexts,

    a number of which have been subject to relatively little or no sociolinguistic

    inquiry, especially in English. It seeks to diversify the sites under investigation in

    urban multilingualism studies, and advocates an exploration of multilingual practices

    that is not restricted to the large-scale contemporary Western metropolis. A

    novel mixture of cities from around the world is therefore studied, from megacities

    and lesser-known communities within well-researched cities to smaller cities on

    the national periphery, representing diverse types, sizes, contexts and languages. 

    All chapters of this volume address multilingual and/or pluricentric aspects of

    linguistic diversity in urban areas, with the majority focusing on one urban centre.

    Six contributions investigate cities in Europe, while the remaining six focus on cities

    located on five other continents, namely Africa, Asia, North America, Oceania

    and South America.

    Read more about Multilingualism and Pluricentricity
  • Introduction: Exploring multilingualism and pluricentricity in diverse urban settings

    2023. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Multilingualism and Pluricentricity, 1-23


    This volume explores linguistic diversity and complexity in a range of urban contexts,

    a number of which have been subject to relatively little or no sociolinguistic

    inquiry, especially in English. It seeks to diversify the sites under investigation in

    urban multilingualism studies, and advocates an exploration of multilingual practices

    that is not restricted to the large-scale contemporary Western metropolis. A

    novel mixture of cities from around the world is therefore studied, from megacities

    and lesser-known communities within well-researched cities to smaller cities on

    the national periphery, representing diverse types, sizes, contexts and languages.

    Read more about Introduction
  • Conclusion: Looking back and looking forward

    2023. Heinz L. Kretzenbacher (et al.). Multilingualism and Pluricentricity, 321-332


    The chapters in this volume, grouped into three thematic parts, present a broad

    picture of the diversity of multilingual cities across the world in the 21st century.

    They explore cities of vastly different size, ranging from megacities such as Jakarta

    down to small cities such as Fribourg/Freiburg, and cities situated in the

    Global North as well as in the Global South.

    This concluding chapter has the task of taking stock of the research presented

    in the twelve chapters as well as opening up avenues for further research. It opens

    with a discussion on how two types of linguistic diversity – multilingualism and

    pluricentricity – are interrelated in general, and more specifically, how some of the

    chapters make use of both to account for the linguistic diversity and interaction

    encountered in a particular urban site. In section 2, we direct our attention to linguistic

    landscape studies, more recently also known as semiotic landscape studies

    (Jaworski and Thurlow 2010). We discuss how the field has developed over time,

    and show how fruitful such an approach can be when applied in different contexts.

    In the third section, we give a concluding survey of each of the three parts – Multilingual

    policies in practice, Attitudes and identities, and Language across time and

    space – to demonstrate ways in which research in these fields can go forward in

    the future.

    Read more about Conclusion
  • Nominal address and introductions in three national varieties of German: Intralinguistic variation and pragmatic transfer to English

    2023. Doris Schüpbach (et al.). It’s different with you, 245-271


    Using a large-scale survey, we explore reported nominal address and introduction routines in first encounters at international academic conferences. Our focus is on variation in such routines among respondents originating in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in their first language (L1) German and in English (L2 English, their second or further language). In L1 German, introduction by first name and last name tends to be the unmarked choice, with some national variation present. Similar national variation exists in L2 English, albeit to a lesser extent, showing some pragmatic transfer from the respondents’ L1 German variety to L2 English. In comparison to the results for L1 speakers of three national varieties of English, the German L1 speakers’ emulated behaviour diverges from their L1 behaviour without necessarily reflecting English L1 behaviour in most cases.

    Read more about Nominal address and introductions in three national varieties of German
  • On the verge of (in)directness: Managing complaints in service interactions

    2023. Klara Skogmyr Marian (et al.). Journal of Pragmatics 213, 126-144


    In this conversation analytic study, we investigate how customers and staff members manage complaints in Swedish-speaking service interactions in Sweden and Finland. Prior research on complaining has typically distinguished between so-called direct and indirect complaints and studied one of these types. We re-examine this distinction in the context of our data and identify sequences that might better be referred to as hybridcomplaints, which share features with both direct and indirect complaints. The hybrid complaints start off as indirect complaints but are oriented to as possibly assigning blame and responsibility for the complainable situation to the recipient. We illustrate the interactional work participants undertake to suppress the ‘directness’ of such complaints and how they transform them into indirect ones. We also document features that are either common or distinct of the different types of complaints, pertaining to the placement and emergence of complaints, interactional resources used in complaining, and responses to complaints. The findings contribute to a better understanding of different types of complaints and of the management of complaining in institutional interactions.

    Read more about On the verge of (in)directness: Managing complaints in service interactions
  • Managing Turn-Taking in Human-Robot Interactions: The Case of Projections and Overlaps, and the Anticipation of Turn Design by Human Participants

    2023. Ali Reza Majlesi (et al.). Social interaction: video-based studies of human sociality 6 (1)


    This study deals with turn-taking in human-robot interactions (HRI). Based on 15 sessions ofvideo-recorded interactions between pairs of human participants and a social robot called Furhat, we explore how human participants orient to violations of the normative order of turn-taking in social interaction and how they handle those violations. As a case in point, we present sequences of HRI to show particular features of turn-taking with the robot and also how the robot may fail to respond to the human participants’ bid to take a turn. In these sequences, the participants either complete the turn in progress and ignore the overlap caused by the robot’s continuation of its turn, or they cut short their own turn and restart in the next possible turn-transition place. In all cases in our data, the overlaps and failed smooth turn-transitions are oriented to as accountable and in some sense interactionally problematic. The results of the study point not only to improvables in robot engineering, but also to routine practices of projection and the ways in which human subjects orient toward normative expectations of ordinary social interactions, even whenconversing with a robot.

    Read more about Managing Turn-Taking in Human-Robot Interactions
  • Kontrastiva studier

    2023. Catrin Norrby. Att analysera interaktion, 227-243


    I det här kapitlet presenteras ett kontrastivt arbetssätt där kommunikation och språkbruk jämförs mellan olika kulturer. Ett vanligt arbetssätt är att jämföra hur olika sociala handlingar, som t.ex. att hälsa, tilltala, tacka eller be om något uttrycks i olika kulturella sammanhang. I kapitlet undersöks tilltalspraktiker i de två nationella varieteterna av svenska, sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska med fokus på servicesamtal mellan kunder och personal.

    Read more about Kontrastiva studier
  • Duande eller niande?: Uppfattningar om tilltal på svenska i Finland

    2022. Camilla Wide, Catrin Norrby. Svenskan i Finland 19, 361-374


    Jämfört med många andra länder framstår Finland som ett klart du-land. Niandet har ändå bevarats som en språklig resurs i vissa situationer både på finska och svenska. Det är också ett av de områden där svenskan i Finland skiljer sig från svenskan i Sverige. Samtidigt förekommer niande i förhållandevis få sammanhang i Finland, och uppfattningarna går isär om hur och när man överhuvudtaget kan eller ska nia. Att denna variation förekommer har noterats av tidigare forskning (t.ex. Clyne m.fl. 2009), men hur den ser ut i dag har inte undersökts närmare. Syftet med vår studie är att bidra till forskningen kring svenskt tilltal på denna punkt. 

    För att kartlägga vilka uppfattningar det finns om tilltalet på svenska i Finland, genomfördes en frågelista vid Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland (SLS) hösten 2019. Vår analys bygger på svaren på denna frågelista. Resultaten visar bl.a. att vilket tilltal man väljer i rätt hög grad handlar om personliga val: hur man själv förhåller sig till social närhet eller distans. För många är valet förknippat med starka personliga preferenser och både duande och niande väcker starka och ibland diametralt motsatta uppfattningar.

    Read more about Duande eller niande?
  • Pragmatic variation across geographical and social space

    2022. Jenny Nilsson (et al.). Pragmatics of Space, 611-636


    This chapter examines how pragmatic variation interfaces with several dimensions of space, not only geographical space but also social space. We approach space from a variational pragmatics perspective and conceive it as a layered phenomenon with local, regional, and national levels that are intertwined with one another as well as with social dimensions of space. We present an empirical study of greeting behavior in Swedish service encounters to illustrate how these layers of space interact and are relevant for pragmatic variation. Qualitative observations of greeting sequences combined with statistical analyses of several co-variables are used to unravel connections between the choice of a greeting form and spatial and social factors. We show that the levels of nation and region (i. e., data from a certain country and town) can account for a certain degree of variation in the choice of greeting forms, but the local levels of space (i. e., interactions in specific venues) and social variables like the speaker’s age and gender also have an explanatory force. Spaces can also bear recognizable cultural meanings to the people who interact in them, triggering certain kinds of social behavior that is symbolically represented in language use.

    Read more about Pragmatic variation across geographical and social space
  • När Östersjön skiljer oss åt.: Om likheter och skillnader i dödsannonsens uttryck i Dagens Nyheter och Hufvudstadsbladet.

    2022. Lena Rogström, Catrin Norrby.


    Syftet med undersökningen är dels att undersöka språkbrukarnas uppfattningar om dödsannonsernas symbolbruk relaterat till respektive land, dels beskriva likheter och skillnader i faktiska dödsannonser publicerade i svenskspråkiga tidningar i de båda länderna. Vi har därför genomfört två delundersökningar. Den första är en enkätundersökning om svenskars respektive finländares uppfattningar om förekomsten av symboler i dödsannonser i två rikstäckande dagstidningar från Sverige (Dagens Nyheter och Svenska Dagbladet) samt två finländska (Helsingin Sanomat och Hufvudstadsbladet). Den andra är en multimodal analys av dödsannonser från Dagens Nyheter (DN) och Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL). Resultaten relateras till skiftande språkbruk mellan de båda länderna och diskuteras mot bakgrund av tidigare forskning om pluricentriska språk, dvs. språk som talas som officiellt eller nationellt språk i mer än ett land. 

    Read more about När Östersjön skiljer oss åt.
  • Tankar som styr kroppen: Instruktioner med verbet ’tänka’ vid personlig träning.

    2022. Martina Huhtamäki (et al.). Svenskan i Finland 19, 118-132


     I tidigare undersökningar av personlig träning på svenska i Finland och Sverige har vi funnit att många verbala instruktioner är korta och frasformade (se Huhtamäki m.fl. 2019). Instruktioner kan dock vara längre och mer komplexa, till exempel bestå av en uppmaning och en motivering, såsom "tänk på att du kan ha bollen ännu mer så att du får ännu mer rotation" (Lindström m.fl. 2020). Här står uppmaningen i imperativ och följs av en förklarande, konsekutiv sats. En detalj som Lindström med flera (2020) upptäckte i denna kontext var att instruktioner som innehöll sekvensen 'tänk på att' var vanligare i det sverigesvenska delmaterialet än i det finlandssvenska. Detta föranledde då frågan vad tränarna gör med denna och en del andra konstruktionstyper innehållande verbet tänka: i vilka situationskontexter används de och i vilket interaktionellt syfte? 

    Fokus för den här undersökningen ligger således på instruktioner som uttalas av den personliga tränaren och riktar sig till motionären och som innehåller verbet tänka i någon form. Vi studerar med vilka verbala, prosodiska och kroppsliga drag PT:n realiserar instruktionerna samt jämför ett finlandssvenskt och ett sverigesvenskt delmaterial. 

    Read more about Tankar som styr kroppen
  • Sociolinguistica vol. 35

    2021. .

    Book (ed)

    The current collection of articles, entitled New perspectives on pluricentricity, is devoted to the dissemination of theoretical, methodological and empirical-based discussions of the concept of pluricentricity and its suitability for accounting for linguistic variation in the 21st century 

    Read more about Sociolinguistica vol. 35
  • New Perspectives on Pluricentricity

    2021. Camilla Wide, Catrin Norrby, Leigh Oakes. Sociolinguistica 35 (1), 1-7


    The current collection of articles, entitled New perspectives on pluricentricity, is devoted to the dissemination of theoretical, methodological and empirical-based discussions of the concept of pluricentricity and its suitability for accounting for linguistic variation in the 21st century. 

    Read more about New Perspectives on Pluricentricity
  • Interaction and Variation in Pluricentric Languages

    2021. Catrin Norrby. Sociolinguistica 35 (1), 267-276


    Interaction and Variation in Pluricentric Languages (IVIP) is a research programme which was funded for eight years (2013–2020) by the Swedish research foundation Riksbankens Jubileumsfond for the Advancement of the Humanities and Social Sciences.1 The overall purpose of the Riksbanken programme grant scheme is to provide funding for “joint, well-integrated research assignments in the social sciences and humanities carried out over relatively long periods by groups of merited researchers connected with Sweden”.2 While there is a requirement for active involvement of Swedish-based researchers, or a Swedish research institution, the participation of researchers from other countries is also encouraged. The IVIP programme was a binational collaboration between researchers in Sweden and Finland. It was led and administered from Stockholm University with Catrin Norrby as the researcher in charge of the overall programme. The other senior participants were Jenny Nilsson at the Institute of Language and Folklore in Gothenburg, Jan Lindström at Helsinki University and Camilla Wide at Turku University. Together these four researchers formed the programme executive. 

    The main purpose of this report is to give an overview of the research programme’s objectives and overall design, its theoretical and methodological approach, and empirical data. The programme findings have, to date, resulted in some sixty publications; for details the reader is directed to the list of publications available at the IVIP homepage.

    Read more about Interaction and Variation in Pluricentric Languages
  • Approaches to the study of address in pluricentric languages

    2021. Doris Schüpbach (et al.). Sociolinguistica 35 (1), 165-188


    While research on pluricentricity has traditionally focused on phonological, lexical and grammatical variation across national varieties, pluricentric languages also provide a rich laboratory for the exploration of pragmatic variation, and potentially new insights into the complexities of both pragmatics and pluricentricity. Pluricentric pragmatics remains a developing field and determining appropriate methodologies and strategies for data collection remains open to evaluation and assessment. Methodological considerations pertaining to address research in pluricentric languages are made from a range of perspectives, which are typically interconnected and will depend on the intended research focus. In this contribution we present a critical reflection on methodological aspects of pragmatic research, based on our own experiences investigating address in several pluricentric languages (in particular German and English). After a brief overview of the pluricentric languages considered and their address systems we provide an outline of the research projects reviewed. We then discuss in detail issues regarding data types and data collection (in particular questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and various online data) and consider further methodological aspects such as the choice of research framework, context and type of address investigated, quantitative and/or qualitative approaches taken and whether the research focus is on actual use, reported use and/or perceptions. We conclude with some suggestions for further research directions. 

    Read more about Approaches to the study of address in pluricentric languages
  • Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk

    2021. Catrin Norrby (et al.).


    Boken är en sammanfattande slutrapport över de viktigaste empiriska resultaten från forskningsprogrammet "Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk. Kommunikativa mönster i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska" finansierat av Riksbankens jubileumsfond 2013–2020. Boken innehåller tre avdelningar: I Utgångspunkter, II Resultat och III Samtalen i sitt sammanhang. I del I redovisas programmets teoretiska och metodiska utgångspunkter, tidigare forskning om pluricentriska språk och det empiriska samtalsmaterialet från tre domäner: service, lärande och vård. I del II meddelas resultaten av interaktionella analyser av hälsningsbeteende, samtalsöppningar, ärendepresentation, tilltalspraktiker, råd och instruktioner, värderingar, samtalsavslutningar och tackande samt analys av föremåls betydelse och deltagarnas förkroppsligande beteenden. I del III diskuteras resultaten i ett större sammanhang där mikroanalyserna av interaktionellt beteende kopplas till deltagarroller och deltagarrelationer, aktivitetens betydelse, samtalens fysiska förutsättningar, den kulturella kontexten, formalitet och informalitet, distans och närhet. Slutligen tolkas resultaten i en större samhällskontext och diskuteras med utgångspunkt i de relationer som råder mellan språkbruk, kultur och nation i syfte att därigenom också bidra till den teoretiska diskussionen av pluricentricitet mer generellt.

    Read more about Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk
  • Att interagera på finlandssvenska och sverigesvenska. Hur hänger språkbruk, kultur och nation ihop?

    2020. Catrin Norrby. Svenskan i Finland 18, 6-25


    I forskningsprogrammet Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk. Kommunikativa mönster i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska (IVIP) jämförs interaktionella och pragmatiska mönster i de två nationella varieteterna av svenska.2 Analyserna utgår från institutionella samtal som samlats in från tre domäner: service, lärande och vård. Syftet med föreliggande artikel är att presentera resultat från empiriska delundersökningar av pragmatiska och interaktionella fenomen, främst från servicedomänen, men även i jämförelse med resultat från de andra domänerna. Ytterligare ett syfte är att belysa hur nationell variation i svenska kommer till utryck i samtalens mikrokontext samt att diskutera hur denna nationella variation kan relateras till övergripande kulturella förväntningar som rör relationerna mellan individer, sociala institutioner och de sociala roller som därmed aktualiseras.

    Read more about Att interagera på finlandssvenska och sverigesvenska. Hur hänger språkbruk, kultur och nation ihop?
  • Om att presentera sitt ärende. En jämförandestudie av servicesamtal på sverigesvenska, finlandssvenska och finska

    2020. Jan Lindström (et al.). Svenskan i Finland 18, 149-163


    Inom forskningsprogrammet Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk (IVIP) utforskas kommunikativa mönster i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska i tre typer av institutionella samtal: servicesamtal, lärandesamtal och vårdsamtal (se t.ex. Norrby m.fl. 2014; Wide 2016). I denna artikel fokuserar vi på servicesamtalen, i vilka deltagarna har bestämda roller (kund–personal) och i regel inte känner varandra från tidigare. Servicesamtalen är starkt rutinartade och inriktade på ärendet, dvs. köp av biljetter, och ärendepresentationen är sålunda en central social praktik i samtalen som är anpassad till situationen och identifierbar för deltagarna. Syftet med artikeln är att redogöra för de vanligaste presentationsformerna i servicesamtalen och jämföra distributionen av dem mellan varieteterna och språken.

    Read more about Om att presentera sitt ärende. En jämförandestudie av servicesamtal på sverigesvenska, finlandssvenska och finska
  • Pluricentric Languages

    2020. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Handbook of Pragmatics, 201-220


    The article gives an account of research into the relationships that exist between varities of pluricentric languages, introducing central concepts and theoretical underpinnings of pluricentric research, covering power relationships, expressions of identity and attitudes as well as the debate on pluricentricity vis-à-vis pluriareality. The article surveys foundational work in the field concerning linguistic structural differences between varieties as well as more recent work on pragmatic  and interactional variation in pluricentric languages.

    Read more about Pluricentric Languages
  • Språk, artefakter och fysiska handlingar

    2020. Jan Lindström, Catrin Norrby. Multimodal interaktionsanalys, 359-377


    Språkvetenskapen har traditionellt undersökt det verbala språket, dess lexikon och grammatik. Exempel som konstruerats eller hämtats från skrivna texter fick länge stå för språket. Senare har talat språk studerats i sekvenser av initiativ och responser, men ofta med fokus på språkliga handlingar. Multimodal interaktionsanalys har inte bara gjort oss medvetna om att sociala handlingar kan bestå av annat än språk, utan den visar också hur språkliga uttryck konstrueras i ett samspel med andra betydelseskapande element och att deras närvaro påverkar den språkliga formen.

    Read more about Språk, artefakter och fysiska handlingar
  • Social deixis at international conferences

    2020. Heinz L. Kretzenbacher (et al.). Journal of Pragmatics 169, 100-119


    Based on a qualitative and quantitative survey of introduction and address and naming behaviour of Austrian academics at international conferences in linguistics and language studies, we compare reported strategies in Austrian German and in English as a lingua franca (ELF). The scenarios asked about are self-introduction, introduction of others and when being introduced by others. Overall, the qualitative data demonstrate that Austrian academics are well aware of the social and linguistic complexities of introductions at international conferences as well as of cross-cultural differences in introduction and address conventions in academia. Quantitative results show important differences across scenarios and between the two languages of communication. Elements of the cohort's L1 introduction behaviour, such as high frequency of title use when introducing others, confirm previous studies. To determine if there are any transfer effects from their L1, the ELF introduction behaviour of the Austrian German L1 speakers is also compared to the L1 behaviour of speakers of US English. The frequency of reported first name use in ELF introductions by our Austrian respondents is similar to that reported by their American counterparts. However, title use by Austrians in ELF scenarios is consistently higher than among US English L1 speakers, indicating pragmatic transfer.

    Read more about Social deixis at international conferences
  • Svenskar och svenskan i världen

    2020. Catrin Norrby. Svensklärarföreningens årsskrift 2019, 13-30


    I det följande ska vi först göra några nedslag i svenskans utbredning i världen, både i nutid och historiskt. Det aktualiserar svenskans roll i relation till andra språk i en kontaktsituation och förhållanden mellan majoritets-och minoritetsspråk samt vilka möjligheter som finns för svensktalande att använda språket utanför det egna hemmets väggar. I artikelns senare del går vi in på ett mikroperspektiv och undersöker genom en fallstudie användning av och attityder till svenska i en lokalt formad gemenskap i Spanien. 

    Read more about Svenskar och svenskan i världen
  • What is in a greeting? The social meaning of greetings in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish service encounters

    2020. Jenny Nilsson (et al.). Journal of Pragmatics 168


    This study investigates the use of greetings in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish service encounters and the social meaning of different greeting forms. Situated within the framework of variational pragmatics, the study explores Swedish as a pluricentric language and investigates with interactional and statistical analyses to what extent the variable nation affect variation in greeting forms. While nation indeed is an important factor, the study also illustrates how social variables such as age, gender and participant roles as well as situational variables such as medium, region and venue impact the greeting choices participants make. Further, by applying an interactional analytical perspective the study contributes to the methodological development of variational pragmatics. This analysis shows how the sequential position of a greeting plays a part in the choice of greetings, and demonstrates that pragmatic variation emerges in interaction. The article suggests that greetings can be a resource for indexing the degree of social distance between interlocutors, and thereby manifest recurring cultural patterns.

    Read more about What is in a greeting? The social meaning of greetings in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish service encounters
  • ”Åh det var så roligt” – berättelser om våra egna erfarenheter

    2019. Catrin Norrby. Sånt vi bara gör, 217-219


    Sånt vi bara gör handlar om olika kulturellt och socialt betingade vardagshandlingar. Volymen bjuder på 91 korta, koncentrerade texter skrivna av forskare inom humaniora. Utifrån egen och andras forskning berättar de engagerat och lättillgängligt om sånt vi bara gör. Varje text kompletteras med en faktaruta med lästips för den vetgirige.

    Sånt vi bara gör kan läsas för nöjes skull, men boken passar också utmärkt som diskussionsunderlag i studiecirklar liksom i gymnasie- och högskolans undervisning med kultur och språk i fokus.

    Read more about ”Åh det var så roligt” – berättelser om våra egna erfarenheter
  • Variation in address practices across languages and nations

    2019. Camilla Wide (et al.). Pragmatics 29 (4), 595-621


    This article compares variation in the use of address practices across languages (Swedish, Finnish) and national varieties (Sweden Swedish, Finland Swedish). It undertakes quantitative and qualitative analyses of three sets of transcribed medical consultations. In Sweden Swedish, address pronouns which lower social distance overwhelmingly dominate. In Finnish, both address forms reducing social distance and practices maintaining greater distance are found, with age and level of acquaintance revealed as the most salient factors. Finland Swedish is located somewhere between Sweden Swedish and Finnish, displaying a stronger tendency than Finnish to use informal direct address forms to reduce social distance, but also showing similarities with Finnish in the use of direct formal address and indirect address. The differences can be related to larger socio-cultural patterns which, however, form a continuum rather than a fixed set keeping the two languages and countries completely apart.

    Read more about Variation in address practices across languages and nations
  • Task-Completing Assessments in Service Encounters

    2019. Jan Lindström (et al.). Research on Language and Social Interaction 52 (2), 85-103


    This study examines positive low- and high-grade assessments in service encounters between customers and salespersons conducted in Swedish and recorded in Sweden and Finland. The assessments occur in a regular sequential pattern as third-turn moves that complete request-delivery sequences, longer coherent requesting sections, or request sequences in a pre-closing context. The positive valence of the assessments coheres with the satisfactory outcome of task completion, but their function is primarily pragmatic, used for segmenting the flow of task-oriented institutional interaction. The assessments stand as lexical TCUs, and their delivery is characterized by downgraded prosody and the speaker's embodied shift away from the other. The analysis reveals distributional differences in the interactional practice: Customers produce task-completing assessments more often than the salespersons, and high-grade assessments are more frequent in the data from Sweden than from Finland. The data are in Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish with English translations.

    Read more about Task-Completing Assessments in Service Encounters
  • När det privata blir offentligt

    2019. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Svenskans beskrivning 36, 207-218


    Vid teaterkassor och bokningscentraler utspelar sig dagligen en mängd korta möten mellan kund och personal. Kunden kommer för att hämta eller köpa biljetter och det är personalens uppgift att försöka uppfylla önskemålen. Dessa institutionella samtal är målinriktade, effektiva och förs vanligen mellan personer som inte känner varandra. Samtalen följer en typisk struktur: kunden framställer sitt ärende, personalen genomför det, kunden betalar och parterna tar avsked. Ofta sker allt detta inom loppet av ett par, tre minuter. Mot den bakgrunden kan det verka osannolikt att deltagarna skulle ta upp ämnen av privat karaktär, till exempel tala om familjemedlemmar, men i vårt arbete med 1 000 servicesamtal vid biljettkassor runtom i Sverige och Svenskfinland har vi noterat att det trots allt förekommer. Syftet med föreliggande artikel är att undersöka referens till icke-närvarande familjemedlemmar i servicesamtal. Först ger vi en bakgrund till forskning om personreferens och beskriver de teoretiska utgångspunkterna för studien. Därefter redogör vi för material och metod innan vi presenterar våra resultat och diskuterar dem.

    Read more about När det privata blir offentligt
  • Introductions at international academic conferences

    2019. Catrin Norrby (et al.). It’s not all about you, 376-395


    This chapter investigates preferred introduction routines in first encounters in the context of international academic conferences where English is used as the conference language. We focus on reported use of first and last names as well as titles in introductions in American, Australian and British English based on a large-scale survey of reported introduction in three scenarios: introduction of self, of others and expected introduction of self by others. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data the results demonstrate that while use of first and last name is the unmarked choice, there is also significant variation among speakers of different national varieties, different scenarios and age groups. The results also show the importance of situational factors, seniority and hierarchy for introductions.

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  • Frasformade instruktioner med uppföljningar under personlig träning

    2019. Martina Huhtamäki (et al.). Språk och stil 29, 9-40


    Personal training is a new form of institutional interaction that has not been considerably studied as regards language. Still, alongside embodied interaction, language is central in this activity. In this paper, phrasal utterances are studied as a resource for instructing in personal training. The data consist of 7 h 23 min of video recordings of training sessions with Swedish-speaking participants from Finland and Sweden, which are supplemented with field notes. The theoretical–methodological framework includes interactional linguistics, ethnography of communication, and variational pragmatics. Results show that participants use all semiotic information at hand when they produce and understand phrasal instructions during personal training. This process involves the overall activity, the participants’ institutional roles as trainer and client, their body positions and movements, and trajectories of earlier interaction and embodied elements of the instructions themselves. Phrasal instructions are short; thus, they are focused and easily integrated into the ongoing physical activity. Certain differences are observed between the data from Finland and from Sweden, e.g., Finnish data have more phrasal instructions, whereas the Swedish data have more third-turn follow-ups, which may indicate cultural differences in this domain. The article concludes that phrasal utterances are not only useful as instructions in personal training but also well-suited for the activity type. 

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  • Positioning through address practice in Finland-Swedish and Sweden-Swedish service encounters

    2018. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Positioning the Self and Others, 19-49


    This chapter investigates social positioning through the use (or non-use) of address pronouns in Finland-Swedish and Sweden-Swedish service encounters recorded at theatre and event booking venues in Finland and Sweden. The results demonstrate some compelling variation in address practices which can be attributed to participant roles (customer or staff), national variety (Finland-Swedish or Sweden-Swedish), age (younger or older speaker and addressee) and situational circumstances, such as type of venue and type of transaction, as well as micro-situational aspects which occur during the course of the interaction (complications, problems or topics treated as sensitive). The study highlights that different forms of address cannot be associated a priori with a certain level of formality, but should be interpreted in their micro and macro contexts in order to understand existing cultural norms for appropriate address.

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  • Samtal om svenska

    2018. Catrin Norrby, Gisela Håkansson.


    Vilka uppfattningar om språkbruk ligger bak­om omdömen som ”bra” och ”dåligt” språk? Det har Catrin Norrby och Gisela Håkansson undersökt i en studie där elever och lärar besvarat en enkät och värderat ett an­tal autentiska exempel på samtida svenska och resonerat om dem i fokusgrupper. I boken studeras inte bara vad gruppdeltagarna säger, utan också hur de säger det. I det senare fallet har Norrby & Håkansson anlagt ett samtalsanalytiskt perspektiv och ger därmed också en introduktion till samtalsanalysens arbetssätt där deltagarperspektivet är centralt. I boken visar de hur gruppdeltagarna förhandlar om språket och positionerar sig i olika språkfrågor.

    Genom att få mer kunskap om hur elevers och lärares uppfattningar skiljer sig åt kan lärare få pedagogiska redskap för att diskutera språk­frågor i klassrummet med utgångspunkt i det eleverna vet, kan, tror eller tycker.

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  • Kivasvenska och kanonsvenska

    2018. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Svenskan i Finland 17, 107-117


    Syftet med  studien  är att undersöka förekomst och vilka funktioner sekvensavslutande värderande responser fyller i servicesamtal mellan kund och personal vid teaterkassor, bokningscentraler och likande runtom i Svenskfinland och i Sverige. Vi ställer oss följande frågor:

    1. Enligt vilka interaktionella mönster förekommer positiva värderande responser i servicesamtalen?

    2. Vad bidrar de med i interaktionens sekventiella flöde?

    3. Vilka slags värderande uttryck förekommer?

    4. Finns det skillnader i bruket mellan svenskan i Finland och svenskan i Sverige på någon av punkterna ovan, och vad kan eventuella skillnader tänkas bero på?

    Undersökningen är en delstudie inom forskningsprogrammet Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk: kommunikativa mönster i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska (IVIP) som undersöker språk och social interaktion inom tre domäner: service, lärande och vård i Sverige och Finland.

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  • Hej, hej, hemskt mycket hej 2.0

    2017. Catrin Norrby, Jenny Nilsson. Svenskans beskrivning 35, 229-242


    Alla samtal måste börja på något sätt, och det vanligaste sättet att inleda är att

    utbyta hälsningsfraser. I den här artikeln undersöker vi bruket av hälsningsfraser

    i finlandssvenska och sverigesvenska servicesamtal.* Inom forskningsprogrammet

    Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk (IVIP) har vi samlat

    in ett omfattande videomaterial i servicesituationer i Sverige och Finland (se

    t.ex. Norrby m.fl. 2015). Syftet här är att kartlägga bruket av hälsningsfraser i

    finlandssvenska och sverigesvenska utifrån 260 av dessa samtal vid teaterkassor

    och bokningscentraler. Mer specifikt vill vi undersöka:

    1. Hur ser hälsandets lexikon ut i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska?

    2. Hur varierar hälsningsfras med talarens ålder, kön och interaktionella


    3. Vilka eventuella anpassningar gör deltagarna i sitt hälsningsbeteende?

    Artikelns titel anspelar på en studie av Lars-Gunnar Andersson från 1996, nämligen

    Hej, hej, hemskt mycket hej, där han undersökte hälsningsmönster i olika

    servicesituationer. Genom att låta 60 studenter vid Göteborgs universitet göra

    etnografiska observationer i sammanlagt över 150 timmar kunde Andersson

    beskriva svenskans hälsningsmönster. Hans studenter noterade också att vissa

    individer tog efter andras hälsningsbeteende. I den här studien jämför vi våra

    resultat med Anderssons (1996) och därigenom kan vi också jämföra etnografiska

    observationer med videoinspelningar.

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  • Imperatives in Swedish medical consultations

    2017. Jan Lindström (et al.). Imperative Turns at Talk, 299-324


    This chapter investigates the use of imperative-formatted directives in Swedish medical consultations. The specific focus of the chapter is the division of labor between straight, non-modulated imperative turns and imperative turns which are modulated with a discourse particle or some other verbal mitigating device. The results show that non-modulated imperative turns are embedded in diagnostic work, nominating subsequent actions in a series. Orientations to projected trajectories of action and the other participant’s expectations are clearly present when modulated imperative turns are produced; they are also frequent in the opening and closing routines of the consultations. Thus, there is a link between routinized and projectable actions and the use of imperatives with a pragmatic modulating element.

    Read more about Imperatives in Swedish medical consultations
  • Intersubjectivity at the counter

    2017. Jan K. Lindström (et al.). Journal of Pragmatics 108, 81-97


    The present study investigates the interplay between language, material and embodied resources in one specific type of service encounters: interactions at theatre box offices. The data consist of video recorded interactions in Swedish at three box offices, two in Sweden and one in Finland. Cases representative of the interactions are selected for a multimodal micro-analysis of the customer--seller interactions involving artefacts from the institutional and personal domain. The study specifically aims at advancing our understanding of the role of artefacts for structuring and facilitating communicative events in (institutional) interaction. In this way, it contributes to the growing research interest in the interactional importance of the material world. Our results show that mutual interactional focus is reached through mutual gaze in strategic moments, such as formulation of the reason for the visit. Artefacts are central in enhancing intersubjectivity and mutual focus in that they effectively invite the participants for negotiation, for example, about a seating plan which can be made visually accessible in different ways. Verbal language can be sparse and deictic in these moments while gaze and pointing to an artefact does more specific referential work. Artefacts are also a resource for signalling interactional inaccessibility, the seller orienting to the computer in order to progress a request and the customer orienting to a personal belonging (like a bag) to mirror and accept such a temporary non-accessibility. We also observe that speech can be paced to match the deployment of an artefact so that a focal verbal item is produced without competing, simultaneous physical activity.

    Read more about Intersubjectivity at the counter
  • Hälsningsfrasers sociala värde i sverigesvenskt och finlandssvenskt talspråk

    2016. Jenny Nilsson (et al.). Svenska landsmål och svenskt folkliv 139, 137-167


    Swedish is a pluricentric language and has official status in both Sweden and Finland. Until recently, most studies on such languages have focused on differences and similarities in grammar and lexicon, but less on pragmatic variation. We suggest that a pragmatic perspective aids in understanding the relationship between national varieties, and in this study, we investigate greetings in Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish. Previous comparisons of the two varieties suggest that Sweden Swedish is less formal than Finland Swedish, and in this article we problematize the concept of formality, and discuss whether formality may explain any differences in the use of greetings.

    We use three datasets from Finland and Sweden respectively: video recorded service encounters from box offices and information desks, recorded focus groups as well as experiments. Combined, the data suggest that the Finland Swedish greeting repertoire is larger than the Sweden Swedish one, and that Finland Swedes therefore are more sensitive to social distance than Sweden Swedes. At the same time, the study highlights the complexity in the use of greetings, and that variables such as gender, age, context and level of acquaintance all play an important part in the use of greetings in both Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish. 

    Read more about Hälsningsfrasers sociala värde i sverigesvenskt och finlandssvenskt talspråk
  • Address and Interpersonal Relationships in Finland–Swedish and Sweden–Swedish Service Encounters

    2015. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Address Practice as Social Action, 75-96


    The chapter investigates address practices in 318 audio and video recorded service encounters at theatre box offices and other booking venues equally distributed across the two national varieties of Swedish, Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish. The results demonstrate compelling variation in address choices, which can be linked to participant roles (customer–staff), generation (below and above 50 years) and national variety. Overall informal address with T (du) is the most common address form in both varieties, and is particularly salient among older customers in Sweden. There are few occurrences of V address in the data, and most are found among younger Finland-Swedish staff.

    Read more about Address and Interpersonal Relationships in Finland–Swedish and Sweden–Swedish Service Encounters
  • Att dela språk men inte samtalsmönster

    2015. Marie Nelson (et al.). Folkmålsstudier 53, 141-166


    Sharing language but not communicative patterns: Feedback in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish academic counselling interaction

    In this article, we present a study of oral feedback (back-channels and responsive turns) given in academic counselling meetings between an essay supervisor and one or two students. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss and improve an academic text written by the students. Our data consist of naturally occurring Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish institutional interactions at the university level. The overall aim of the study is to compare feedback patterns in the Sweden-Swedish and the Finland- Swedish data and to contribute to the field of variational pragmatics. A detailed analysis of the recorded interactions reveals overt differences in the frequency, intensity and distribution of feedback in the two varieties of Swedish. In the Sweden-Swedish data, there is a preference for relational work, evidenced, for instance, by students praising the advice given by the supervisor. In the Finland-Swedish data, an orientation towards clarity is prominent and corrective advice, for instance, is usually uttered in a straightforward way. Our results support previous findings on communicative patterns in Sweden and Finland. These findings highlight the dialogic nature of institutional communication in Sweden, on the one hand, and the orientation to the task and its result in comparable situations in Finland, on the other. The outcome of this study adds to the understanding of the communicative patterns of Sweden- Swedish and Finland-Swedish with a detailed analysis of the oral feedback occurring in counselling meetings.

    Read more about Att dela språk men inte samtalsmönster
  • Interpersonal relationships in medical consultations

    2015. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Journal of Pragmatics 84, 121-138


    This article investigates how interpersonal relationships are expressed in medical consultations. In particular, we focus on how modes of address are used in the two national varieties of Swedish: Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish, with the aim to compare the pragmatic routines in the two varieties. Thus the study contributes to the field of variational pragmatics, where national varieties of pluricentric languages are recognised as important research objects.  Address practices are analysed in two comparable corpora of video recordings from Sweden and Finland using both a quantitative and a qualitative CA-inspired method. There are several differences between the data sets: the Sweden Swedish data are characterised by exclusive use of the informal T pronoun (du ‘you’) and an overall higher frequency of direct address compared to the Finland Swedish data. In some medical consultations in the latter Swedish data the formal V pronoun (ni) is used. The qualitative analysis confirms these differences and the tendency is that the Sweden-Swedish medical consultations are more informal than the Finland-Swedish ones, which are characterised by more formality and maintenance of social distance between the interlocutors. The different pragmatic orientations at the micro level of communication can also be related to socio-cultural preferences at the macro level in society – the development towards greater informality and intimate language is more pronounced in Sweden than in Finland. 

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  • Introduction

    2015. Catrin Norrby, Camilla Wide. Address Practice as Social Action, 1-12


    The introduction provides a brief overview of address research, particularly focusing on address practices in Europe. It also serves to contextualize the six chapters of the volume, all of which present up-to-date empirical research of address and social relations in a variety of contexts and languages including Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Italian and Swedish.

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  • Le Suédois en Finlande – et en Suède

    2015. Jan Lindström (et al.). Singularités, pluralités, 47-62


    Swedish is a pluricentric language in the sense that it has official status in more than one nation. Swedish is the main language of Sweden but spoken by a minority of 5.4% in Finland. Because of national differentiation, the varieties of Swedish differ from each other in certain respects. Variation in pronunciation, lexis and syntax are well documented. However, differences in pragmatic aspects of language use, such as expressions of politeness, intimacy and formality, have not been researched systematically to date. This paper has its background in a project which aims to fill this research gap. It presents the general societal background for Swedish in Finland and some of its characteristic differences from the Swedish standard. In addition, two studies which explore the pragmatic differences are presented: a study of speaker attitudes to forms of address and a conversation analytic study of expressions of criticism in teacher-student encounters.

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  • You and I in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish supervision meetings

    2015. Sofie Henricson (et al.). Pluricentric languages, 127-139


    This paper presents a study of pronouns used in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish supervision meetings. In both countries, supervisors use similar sets of pronouns when commenting on an academic essay written by a student. Often, the supervisor addresses the student directly, e.g. but you could write x, or uses an indefinite pronoun, e.g. perhaps one could simply write x. Sometimes, the supervisor makes suggestions while referring to herself as a writer, e.g. I would write x. The supervisor may also use an inclusive we-authorship, e.g. well we cannot write x. This use of we is predominantly found in the Sweden-Swedish data. In relation to politeness strategies, our analysis indicates that pronouns appear in a more direct and clear-cut way (cf. respect strategies) in Finland-Swedish, and with a stronger focus on creating common ground and fostering group membership (cf. solidarity strategies) in Sweden-Swedish. Throughout, we point to differences and similarities between the dominant and the non-dominant variety of Swedish.

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  • Finns det nationella svenska kommunikationsmönster?

    2014. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Svenskans beskrivning, 343-352


    Många av världens språk är s.k. pluricentriska språk, dvs. språk som talas i fler länder än ett. Bara i Europa finns en rad exempel på sådana språk, till exempel engelska, franska, tyska och svenska. Men samtalar man på samma sätt i olika länder bara för att man talar samma språk? Eller ser de kommunikativa mönstren olika ut? Programmet ”Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk” (finansierat av Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2013-2020) undersöker och jämför kommunikationen i samma typer av samtal i liknande miljöer i Sverige och Finland, med fokus på domänerna service, lärande och vård. Syftet är att identifiera skillnader och likheter i hur man utformar sociala handlingar som tilltal, signalerar samtycke och oenighet eller formulerar kritik och beröm i finlandssvenska och sverigesvenska.


    I vår presentation tar vi fasta på interpersonella orienteringar i läkare-patientsamtal inspelade i Sverige och Finland. Dels studerar vi förekomsten av tilltalsformer, dels studerar vi hur råd och direktiv formuleras i dessa interaktioner. Våra resultat visar att det finns klara tendenser till ett mindre formellt tilltal i de sverigesvenska samtalen. Samtidigt kan inte tilltalsstrategierna beskrivas enbart som mer formella i Finland, utan man utnyttjar speciellt i de finlandssvenska samtalen olika slags tekniker för undvikande av direkt tilltal. Tilltalsstrategierna hänger vidare ihop med hur råd och direktiv formuleras, dvs. hur pass direkt eller indirekt de riktar sig till den andra parten.


    Forskningsprogrammet syftar till att bidra till den internationella teoriutvecklingen inom forskningen om pluricentriska språk. Genom att använda teorier och metoder som samtalsanalys och kommunikationsetnografi kan programmet belysa och förklara pluricentriska språkfenomen som tidigare forskning inte riktigt kunnat komma åt. På så vis bidrar programmet till att utveckla den s.k. variationspragmatiken samtidigt som vi får ny kunskap om vad som är unikt för finlandssvenska respektive sverigesvenska samtal.

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  • Fint språk = Good Language

    2014. Karin Helgesson (et al.).

    Book (ed)

    Festskrift till Lars-Gunnar Andersson med anledning av hans 65-årsdag. Boken innehåller 20 artiklar om språk av följande författare: Karin Aijmer, Sture Allén, Gunnar Bergh & Sölve Ohlander, Elisabet Engdahl, Catharina Grünbaum, Olle Josephson, Fred Karlsson, Lars Lindvall & Mårten Ramnäs, Per Linell & Kerstin Norén, Magnus Ljung, Sven-Göran Malmgren, Bengt Nordberg, Christer Platzack, Bo Ralph, Lena Rogström, Eva Sundgren, Ulf Teleman, Mats Thelander & Björn Melander, Peter Trudgill samt Jan-Ola Östman. 

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  • Meet and Greet

    2014. Heinz L. Kretzenbacher (et al.). Challenging the Monolingual Mindset, 78-96


    The way we address one another – nominal address such as first names, last names and titles, or pronominal address, the use of informal (T) vs. formal (V) second-person pronouns such as French tu and vous ‘you’ respectively – is fundamental in marking social relations and encodes human relationships. This chapter examines nominal address in intercultural communication among academics, focussing specifically on address and introduction practices at international conferences. Address here encompasses use of titles, first names, last names, and combinations of these in the introduction of self and others.

    The results highlight the potential - amongst non-native speakers of English - for English-language routines and patterns to be influenced by differing cultural norms operating in other languages and cultural areas. At the same time, our results also show sensitivity to English L1 norms - particularly the heightened use of first name only address, when academics from different cultural backgrounds meet at international conferences.  Finally, regardless of language, age is seen to be a useful marker of relative status between interlocutors as expressed through address patterns: oldest respondents, most likely to achieve higher academic standing over an extended career, are least likely to use FN only but most likely to use and expect formal titles.

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  • Samtalsanalys

    2014. Catrin Norrby.


    Den här boken är avsedd som en första introduktion till det tvärvetenskapliga forskningsområdet som brukar kallas samtalsanalys och diskursanalys. Inför den tredje upplagan har författaren tillfört resultaten från det senaste decenniets samtalsforskning. I synnerhet har kapitlet om samtalsforskning på svenskt språkområde utökats rejält för att bättre återspegla de forskningsinsatser som  gjorts där. Boken består av två huvudavdelningar. I den första delen presenterar och jämför författaren några skolbildningar som har haft betydelse för samtalsanalysens utveckling, förklarar centrala termer och begrepp samt ger en översikt av samtalsforskningen i Sverige och Finland (på svenska). Uppläggningen syftar till att öka läsarens insikter om att skilda teoretiska och metodiska utgångspunkter kan resultera i olika analysmodeller. Den andra delen är mer praktiskt inriktad på konkreta fenomen i samtal. Diskussionen belyses genomgånede med hjälp av en mängd autentiska exempel. I slutet av boken ges ett antal litteraturtips som kan tjäna som utgångspunkt för fördjupade studier. Boken vänder sig till högskolestuderande på grundnivå, i första hand inom språkvetenskap, kommunikation och socialt beteende, menär också av intresse för alla som i sin yrkesutövning ägnar sig åt samtal och kommunikation.

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  • Svenskan i världen

    2014. Catrin Norrby. Svenskans beskrivning, 1-15


    Man kan anlägga ett flertal perspektiv på svenskan i världen. En utgångspunkt kan vara att se på svenskans utbredning historiskt och geografiskt. Det knyter an till konferensens tema om svenskan som pluricentriskt språk och svenskans villkor i två nationer. Tar vi steget utanför svenskans kärnområde så är utvandringsvågen runt förra sekelskiftet och den emigrantsvenska som tog form i de nya invandrarmiljöerna ett tydligt exempel på svenskans spridning i världen. Ytterligare ett perspektiv är att mäta svenska språkets totala välbefinnande i förhållande till andra språk – utifrån faktorer som antal talare, språkets status och funktionsduglighet i diverse sammanhang. Man kan också ställa sig frågor om svenskans position gentemot andra språk i en kontaktssituation, i vilken omfattning man kan lära sig svenska i skolan och vilken sorts svenskspråkiga resurser utlandssvenskar har tillgång till på olika håll i världen.


    Beskrivningarna ovan utgår från ett övergripande perspektiv, men säger inte så mycket om hur svenskan används i praktiken på olika håll i världen, i sinsemellan heterogena verksamheter och av språkbrukare som kan ha mycket olika motivation och attityder till att använda svenska. Ett sådant mikroperspektiv fokuserar på hur svenskan används och uppfattas av grupper och individer i lokalt formade gemenskaper. Konkret kan det röra sig om hur en svenskspråkig identitet förhandlas och skapas i samtal och i olika kommunikativa verksamheter – alltifrån nybörjarklassrummen på universitet runtom i världen till svenska pensionärers vardag på Solkusten eller hur svenska används på företag med svensk anknytning.


    Ett språk kan ha en relativt obetydlig position utanför sitt kärnområde, men samtidigt stå starkt i mycket lokalt förankrade praktikgemenskaper på vitt skilda håll i världen. Ny och billigare teknik, tillgång på en global arbets- och studiemarknad samt sociala mediers allt större betydelse i vår vardag gör det möjligt för språkanvändare att agera globalt och lokalt på samma gång. Det är en utveckling som kan tänkas främja minoritetsspråk i allmänhet och därmed också svenskan i världen.


    I föredraget uppmärksammar jag både makro- och mikroperspektiv och ger exempel från olika studier av svenskan i världen och kopplar diskussionen till begreppen globalisering och glokalisering. I det sammanhanget berör jag även en särskild aspekt av ämnet – nämligen hur svenska pragmatiska rutiner går på export genom multinationella företag som IKEA. Det kan tyckas vara en marginell företeelse, men är principiellt att jämställa med hur angloamerikanska samtalsmönster sprids över världen, till exempel genom direktiv om hur kunden ska bemötas inom den globala serviceindustrin. De processer som utmärker svenskan i världen är alltså inte unika utan kan ses som exempel på mer generella globaliserings- och glokaliseringsprocesser.

    Read more about Svenskan i världen
  • “Om att säga grejer baklänges”

    2014. Catrin Norrby, Gisela Håkansson. Svenskans beskrivning, 151-161



    Inom projektet God svenska. Språkliga attityder hos gymnasieelever och gymnasielärare i ett mångspråkigt Sverige undersöker vi hur ungdomar bedömer och diskuterar språk utifrån en lista med autentiska exempel. Exemplen illustrerar olika sorters svenska: vardagligt talspråk, ungdomsspråk, formellt skriftspråk och andraspråkssvenska. I föredraget presenterar vi material från fokusgruppssamtal med elever som läser svenska på gymnasieprogram i Sverige, Belgien och Spanien.

    Vi analyserar hur ungdomarna resonerar kring och försöker förklara språkbruket i exemplen. Resultaten pekar på att ungdomarna är mycket engagerade i språkliga frågor. Förklaringarna som de ger kan delas in i tre huvudtyper där ungdomarna:

    1)                  skapar egna språkbruksregler (t.ex. att valet av sina eller deras skulle vara beroende av objektets numerus)

    2)                  tar till andra språk för att förklara exemplen (t.ex. genom att relatera ”äldre än mig” till ”older than me”)

    3)                  skapar egna termer för att benämna det de ser (t.ex. genom att förklara avvikande ordföljd som ”uppbyggnadsfel”)


    Studien anknyter till det område inom lingvistiken som kallas folklingvistik (Preston & Niedzielski 2000) där man studerar hur ”vanligt folk” resonerar om språk. Genom denna metod kan språkvetare få en mer fullständig bild av språk och språkbruk hos olika grupper. I vår studie belyser vi hur en grupp, nämligen ungdomar i gymnasieåldern, går tillväga när de vill beskriva språkliga regelbundenheter och avvikelser. 

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  • Address and introductions across two pluricentric languages in intercultural communication

    2013. Heinz L. Kretzenbacher, John Hajek, Catrin Norrby. Exploring Linguistic Standards in Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages, 259-274


    This study explores how speakers introduce themselves and others in a particular intercultural setting – international conferences. Such first encounters involve several important choices where speakers need to decide how to address one another and how to refer to themselves – e.g. by first name or by title and last name. In a previous study, we found marked differences in reported address and introduction patterns depending on the language background of the speaker. In this study we focus specifically on such variation across two pluricentric languages, drawing on different national varieties of English and German. Our results, based on questionnaire data collected at eight international conferences, indicate that address and introduction practices vary not only due to the first language of the speaker, but also depend on which national variety he or she is a speaker of.

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  • God Svenska! Attityder till språkliga konstruktioner bland gymnasister och deras lärare

    2013. Catrin Norrby, Gisela Håkansson. Svenskans beskrivning: 32, Förhandlingar vid trettioandra sammankomsten för svenskans beskrivning, 234-243


    I projektet God svenska! Språkliga attityder hos gymnasieungdomar och gymnasielärare i ett mångspråkigt Sverige intresserar vi oss för språkliga attityder som kommer till uttryck inom ett specifikt verksamhetsområde: skolan. Vi vill ta reda på hur å ena sidan olika elevgrupper, å andra sidan lärare överensstämmer eller skiljer sig åt i sin uppfattning om vad som är god svenska. I det sammanhanget vill vi också undersöka om det finns någon skillnad mellan normuppfattning och rapporterat språkbruk. Genom att studera eventuella skillnader i normuppfattning mellan de två grupperna, men även inom grupperna, hoppas vi kunna bidra till en diskussion om språkförändring och om svenskan i ett utvecklingsperspektiv.Material har samlats in genom enkäter och fokusgruppssamtal. I enkäten ska man ta ställning till 14 autentiska språkexempel som representerar ett brett spektrum från ungdomsspråk och ”invandrarsvenska” till språkvårdsörhängen och ”byråkratsvenska”. Fokusgruppssamtalen utgår från samma exempel, men ger möjlighet till en djupare diskussion.I föredraget presenterar vi resultat från enkätundersökningen. Den har besvarats av 1000 gymnasister och ett 60-tal lärare runtom i Sverige. Vårt mål har varit att få god geografisk spridning och materialet kommer från 15 skolor på 12 olika orter – från Kiruna och Jokkmokk i norr till Lund och Landskrona i söder.Resultaten pekar på att det finns tydliga skillnader i normuppfattning mellan elever och lärare. Klassiska språkvårdsexempel som ”Han är längre än mig” rankas högt bland eleverna, både i fråga om positiv attityd och rapporterat bruk. Lärarna ställer sig dock mer tveksamma till denna struktur. Liknande tendenser kan beläggas för flera av exempelmeningarna.

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  • Language acquisition and use in multilingual contexts

    2013. Anna Flyman Mattsson, Catrin Norrby.

    Book (ed)

    This volume brings together current linguistic research in a range of predominantly multilingual contexts. The authors draw on data from different languages and speech communities around the world, and together the chapters offer a broad picture of language acquisition, development and use – among both children and adults. While this is a valuable undertaking in its own right, the main reason for this collection is to pay tribute to Gisela Håkansson on her 65th birthday. Throughout her career Gisela Håkansson has made, and continues to make, a very significant contribution to the field of linguistics, in particular through her research in first and second language acquisition, multilingualism and language impairment. 

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  • National variation of address in pluricentric languages

    2013. Catrin Norrby, Heinz L. Kretzenbacher. Pluricentricity, 243-270


    This study contributes to the pragmatic dimension of pluricentric languages, an aspect that to date has been studied to a lesser extent than their lexis, morphosyntax and phonology. It compares patterns of address and perceptions of what constitutes “appropriate” address in Swedish and German, two pluricentric languages each with a clearly dominant variety. German and Swedish data were collected at five urban locations (Gothenburg in Sweden, Vasa/Vaasa in Finland, Mannheim and Leipzig in Germany and Vienna in Austria) with focus group meetings and questionnaire-based network interviews. Also, a modified questionnaire was posted in Internet forums in Swedish and German that had discussion threads on address form usage.

    The data for German show that native speakers perceive distinct differences between Austrian and German standards of address and related phenomena such as greeting formulas. In Germany, variation in address practices also raises the question of what effect the division of the country from 1949 to 1989 had on the pragmatics of address.

    In Sweden Swedish, the V form was virtually abandoned in the 1960s. With very few exceptions, such as addressing elderly people in service encounters, universal T is now the default address. However, in Finland Swedish, V is still employed to express status and formality, reflecting conservatism and the influence of the Finnish language. This means that controversy as to whether V is exclusionary in Sweden is not relevant in Finnish Swedish.

    Address in pluricentric languages underlines the importance of societal and sociocultural developments. Our study of German and Swedish not only shows different address practices between national centres, but also emphasizes that knowledge of address in the others’ varieties is largely stereotypical. 

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  • Address Practices and Social Relationships in European Languages

    2012. Catrin Norrby, Jane Warren. Language and Linguistics Compass 6 (4), 225-235


    Address practices – the way people use second-person pronouns, first names, last names and titles, and other terms to address one another – are fundamental to expressing social relationships. They reflect cultural values and can tell us a great deal about social structures and change. This article gives an overview of recent research on address practices, focusing on three European languages – French, German and Swedish. It follows theoretical developments in the study of address from the 1960s onwards, and examines how address practices have evolved in French, German and Swedish since the socio-political upheavals of that decade. It is argued that the notions of social distance and common ground are central to an understanding of address choice in these languages.

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  • Finland Swedish as a non-dominant variety of Swedish – extending the scope to pragmatic and interactional aspects.

    2012. Catrin Norrby (et al.). Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages. Getting the Picture, 49-60


    This chapter gives an overview of Finland Swedish as a non-dominant variety of Swedish. The first part outlines the status and position of Swedish in Finland and documents research on Finland Swedish. We present this body of work with reference to work on Finland-Swedish status- and corpus planning. While there is an impressive body of work on the phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic characteristics of Finland Swedish, much less attention has been paid to the pragmatic and interactional aspects of Finland Swedish vis-à-vis Sweden Swedish. With the exception of a few studies on politeness strategies, address and greeting practices, no systematic investigation of communicative patterns in the two Swedish varieties has been undertaken. The second part presents our methodological framework for such an investigation, and present preliminary results from a pilot study on openings in institutional telephone conversations in the respective national variety. These results suggest that there are systematic differences which warrant further investigation.

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  • Address in pluricentric languages

    2011. Michael Clyne, Catrin Norrby. Línguas Pluricêntricas Pluricentric Languages, 147-160


    This article focuses on address practices in German and Swedish, which bring out contrasts in address in the national varieties. It draws mainly on a large-scale project on address in a number of languages in Europe (Clyne, Norrby, Warren 2009). Data were collected in key localities of the national varieties in focus groups, interviews, chat groups and through participant observation. The results demonstrate that the dominant variation between address in the German and Austrian national varieties of German is the much greater use of titles in Austria and the much more widespread use of T in the workplace, both to superiors and at the same level of seniority. There is also variation within Germany, which highlights the issue of whether East and West German were separate national varieties during the division of Germany. In Sweden-Swedish, the V form was virtually abandoned in the 1960s and is now restricted to addressing especially very old and frail people in service encounters. In Finland Swedish, V is still employed in a way that has been abandoned in Sweden – expressing status and formality, reflecting conservatism and the influence of the Finnish language. This means that controversy as to whether V is exclusionary in Sweden is not relevant in Finland-Swedish. Our study of German and Swedish also demonstrates that knowledge of address in others’ varieties is largely stereotypical.

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  • Business the IKEA way

    2011. Catrin Norrby, Jane Warren, John Hajek. The Linguist 50 (5), 14-15


    Regulating language use is not the sole domain of countries or states. Large private companies can also be involved in making language policy. One way they do this is through formal or informal guidelines on how staff use language with one another and with customers. This article focuses on one such multinational company, IKEA, and how its promotion of informal address practices on its local websites, can be viewed as a means of building a global company identity while at the same time negotiating diversity at the local level.

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  • Language Policy in Practice

    2011. Catrin Norrby, John Hajek. University and Diversity in Language Policy, 242-257


    This article examines the impact of language policies and their implementation in the corporate world in an increasingly globalised economy. More specifically, the article draws on examples from two large multinationals of Swedish origin: the furniture retailer  IKEA and the clothing company H&M. Both companies dictate linguistic behaviour, albeit to different extents, by promoting Swedish-style informal 'you' and related address practices, both internally among employees and externally in customer-related interactions, even in countries where such informality is not the traditional norm. The chapter documents how such practices are implemented and public reactions to them in a range of linguistic contexts and in different countries. It underlines the importance of who has the position of power in a particular situation and discusses the tension between global and local concerns in building a corporate identity.

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  • Uniformity and Diversity in Language Policy

    2011. Catrin Norrby, John Hajek.

    Book (ed)

    This book brings together current research by leading international scholars on the often contentious nature of language policies and their practical outcomes in North America, Australia and Europe. It presents a range of perspectives from which to engage with a variety of pressing issues raised by multilingualism, multiculturalism, immigration, exclusion, and identity.

    A recurrent theme is that of tension and conflict: between uniformity and diversity, between official policies and real day-to-day life experiences, but also between policies in schools and the corporate world and their implementation.

    Several chapters present research about language policy issues that has previously not been fully or easily available to an English-language audience. Many of the chapters also provide up-to-date analyses of language policy issues in particular regions or countries, focusing on recent developments.

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  • Environmental influence on language acquisition

    2010. Gisela Håkansson, Catrin Norrby. Language learning 60 (3), 628-650


    This article explores the influence of the learning environment on the second language acquisition of Swedish. Data were collected longitudinally over 1 year from 35 university students studying Swedish in Malmö, Sweden, and in Melbourne, Australia. Three areas were investigated: grammar, pragmatics, and lexicon. The development of grammar was analyzed within the framework of Processability Theory (Pienemann, 1998, 2005). For the pragmatic analysis, the learners’ production in a gap-filling task was measured against answers from 100 native speakers. A scoring system was devised to enable comparisons between learners and native speakers. The lexical analysis was based on a word association test. The results show that the grammar developed similarly in the two groups, whereas differences between the groups were found in pragmatics and lexicon. This variation is explained by differences in target language exposure.

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  • Introduktion till sociolingvistik

    2010. Catrin Norrby, Gisela Håkansson.


    Introduktion till sociolingvistik är en introduktionsbok till ämnet sociolingvistik, även kallat språksociologi på svenska. Boken vänder sig i första hand till högskolestudenter och syftar till att ge en lättfattlig och övergripande introduktion till den sociolingvistiska forskningens huvudområden. Boken består av åtta huvudkapitel och ett kort avslutningskapitel. I kapitel 1 ges en historik över ämnets framväxt och utveckling. Kapitlet beskriver även sociolingvistikens metoder och presenterar grundläggande termer och begrepp. I de påföljande kapitlen behandlas regional och social variation, språk och kön, ungdomsspråk, språk och etnicitet, flerspråkiga samhällen samt tvärkulturell kommunikation. I slutet av boken finns ett register med centrala termer.

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  • Svenska här och där

    2010. Catrin Norrby, Gisela Håkansson. Bo65, 269-278


    Syftet är att undersöka gymnasieelevers språkliga attityder och uppfattning om språknormer i svenska utifrån ett antal autentiska meningar. Fyra grupper med gymnasister ingår: elever som har svenska som förstaspråk och bor i Sverige, elever som har svenska som förstaspråk och bor utomlands samt elever som har svenska som andraspråk och bor i Sverige. Resultaten pekar på tydliga skillnader mellan grupperna där de elever som bott länge utomlands är mest normativa, eleverna i Sverige mer accepterande och elever med andraspråksbakgrund är mest fokuserade på innehållet i exemplen och inte språket.

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  • Language and Human Relations

    2009. Michael Clyne, Catrin Norrby, Jane Warren.


    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.

    • A revealing investigation into the different ways people choose to address each other • Data is derived from multiple sources, such as focus groups, interviews and participant observation • Explores address practices in a variety of situations including the family, school and the workplace

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Show all publications by Catrin Norrby at Stockholm University