The project investigates the borrowing of English-sourced swear words into Finnish. By investigating such corpora as Suomi24, and examining language awareness and attitudes with some experimental methods, the project seeks to gain insights into the (potentially new) social order that is constructed with the borrowing of particularly English swear words into Finnish. The hypothesis for the project is that the current borrowing of English-sourced swear words into Finnish is altering the social dynamics and indexical system of heritage swear words, and that young generations of Finnish speakers (L2 speakers of English) are creating their own system of swear words in terms of social value, constructed with multilingual resources, mainly using Finnish and English. Our former studies on “pliis” (please) in Finnish (Peterson & Vaattovaara 2014; Hiltunen, Peterson & Vaattovaara in preparation) encourages to hypothesize that albeit naturally context dependent choices (as evidenced in naturalistic corpus data), such swearwords as “shittiä~shittii” and “oumaigaad” ‘Oh my God’ are likely to gain social meaning potentials that index urban (particularly feminine) identity.

The project aims to publish research articles in both Finnish and international research journals and to participate the Nordic SwiSca network activities.



Johanna Vaattovaara (UTA)

Elizabeth Peterson (UH)

Saija Havukunnas (UH)



Forthcoming: The project is participating the colloquium Empirical investigations into the social meaning potential of loanwords organized by Eline Zenner (KU Leuven), Andreea Calude (University of Waikato, NZ) and Laura Rosseel (KU Leuven) in the Sociolinguistic Symposium (SS22) in Auckland, New Zealand.