SWEDISH AS A LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENT IN FINLAND Newspaper Advertisements by Stockmann’s Department Store in Helsinki during the 20th Century The advertising business is often said to favour a modern, innovative language use. This is a statement not easily verified. Newspaper ads are in fact the genre of written language that linguists have paid the least attention to. People writing texts for newspaper ads are individuals representing contemporary language use. Advertisements representing different periods therefore diverge not only regarding the change of style and form advertising undergoes over time, but changes in the language itself also reflect the continuous process of alteration in a speech community. In a multilingual society (such as Finland) these changes may also imply that the dominant relations between the various languages used in the society in question change, and that the natural interference between the respective languages, as it were, alter directions. The aim of the present project, in nuce, is to analyse how and when changes in standard Swedish emerge in advertisement texts in Swedish in Finland. The presence of specific Fenno-Swedish features will also be highlighted. The basic material for this project consists of advertisements for the Stockmann Departement Store in Helsinki from the entire 20th century. This material encompasses roughly 1,300 ads in Swedish. My comparative material includes advertisements from the Swedish Department Store Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm from the corresponding period. In course of the period covered by the advertising material, the linguistic development has resulted e.g. in standardized spelling, the abolishing of plural termination of verbs and a transition of the address form, from the formal Ni (cf. the German equivalent Sie and the French vous) to the more informal du (cf. the German du and the French tu). That conjunctives have vanished, that the comparison of adjectives has undergone a displacement and that the omission of the sign of the infinitive has become a permitted option may seem slight changes, but are nevertheless to be regarded as important in written usage, as they touch upon grammar. In addition to these factors may also be mentioned a shifting of the stylistic level towards a more colloquial usage, i.e. a convergence of the spoken and the written modes of expression. The internationalization of the language can be studied by means of observing words borrowed from various languages and adapted to Swedish in course of different periods. Advertisements and marketing material on the whole, are also read by many individuals who otherwise are not accustomed to reading at all. The marketing manager, the copywriter and the Art Director, in other words, produce texts that unconsciously function as language models. Changes are not created by, or urged on by linguistic expertise, but by ordinary users confronting other ordinary users. From a sociolinguistic perspective the widely diffused advertising language is therefore a most influential factor. My research project shall result in a monograph in Swedish.
|Effective start/end date
|01.01.2003 → 31.07.2011
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