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The Meaning and Function of Norwegian Tags

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The project and the particles
Teaching materials for L2 learners
Particles across dialects

There are hardly any words as vague, polysemous and hard to describe as tag particles. Norwegian has a lot of tag particles with each their subtle meaning. Here are some examples:


       Du kjem tebake i morgon, e’von?                                Je like itte fisk, je a’ma.  

        ‘You come back tomorrow, [it is hope]’                                 ‘I don’t like fish, [then must know]


       Æ kjæm tebake i morra, sjø.                                      Godt jeg kom hjem sent, da

        ‘I come back tomorrow, [you see]’                                       ‘Good that I came home late, [then]’


In this project, we study the meaning and function of a set of so far unexplored tag particles in various dialects of Norwegian. An interesting feature of Norwegian particles is that some of these, e.g. da, can also occur in sentence internal position, however with a slightly different meaning:


       Det er da ytringsfrihet her i landet!  

       ‘There is freedom of speech in this country, [you actually knew this]'


The project therefore also investigates how the position of the particle within the sentence affects its interpretation.


In addition to descriptions and theoretical analyses of the semantics (“stable” meaning) and pragmatics (context dependent meaning) of a selected set of particles, the project contributes to the development and discussion of methods specifically aimed at revealing the meaning and function of particles. Moreover, we integrate sociolinguistic aspects of tag particles into a semantic and pragmatic description of the words.

The project is funded by:

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