Simplification in 43 varieties of urban Norwegian
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Historical Sociolinguistics. 2022, 8 (1), 89-112. 10.1515/jhsl-2020-0030
This paper investigates the linguistic outcomes of contact situations in 43 Norwegian urban towns, comparing the urban varieties’ noun systems to those of the rural dialects surrounding each town. Two questions are explored: i) Is the morphology of the urban Norwegian varieties always more simplified, in terms of paradigmatic complexity and repertoire of inflectional suffixes, when compared to neighbouring rural varieties? ii) Can the noun morphology of urban Norwegian varieties best be explained as resulting from levelling and standardisation processes or as grammatical simplification between dialects in contact? We find that the urban varieties’ noun systems form a close, yet consistently simplified, match to their neighbouring rural varieties. The urban varieties can, however, not easily be placed on a scale between traditional rural dialects and standard language, indicating that the noun systems in the urban varieties of Norway are best understood as resulting from simplification rather than standardization.