Metacommunication about words

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 1680000 SEK


We often make comments about words and expressions that we use: (Sw.) ´Curlingföräldrar´ är ett smittsamt och smart ord. (Eng.) ?Curling parents? is a contagious and smart word. (Sw.) Begreppet *skurkstater* är numera en del av den amerikanska utrikespolitiska retorik som ersatt det kalla krigets. (Eng.) The concept of ?rogue states? is now a part of the rhetorics of the American foreign policy which has replaced that of the cold war. These are called metacomments, since we use ordinary language to make comments about other parts of our language. Some words are commented upon more often than others, especially recently coined words. The aim of this project is to study the various ways in which words are commented upon, and how this affects the conventionalization process of these words. An earlier study showed that metacommented words were more familiar than other new words. But is this the general picture? And do metacomments affect the intuitions that language users have about the meanings and usage restrictions? This is to be studied in basically two ways. First, the metacommenting usage of various kinds of words are analyzed and compared through corpus-linguistic methods. Second, the intuitions of language users are investigated through different kinds of tests and compared to the the usage investigations to see if they can be correlated. The study will increase our knowledge of linguistic conventionalization processes, which have been largely neglected.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:56