Hittoako 'damn' tekee suomessa? Englannista lainatun voimasanan sosiaalisista ulottuvuuksista ja merkityspotentiaaleista osana suomea

Translated title of the contribution: What the hitto [heck] is 'damn' doing in Finnish discourse? : On the social meaning potentials of 'damn' in Finnish

Johanna Vaattovaara, Elizabeth Peterson

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This article investigates the self-reported use and social meaning potentials of the English loanword 'damn' in Finnish. This research is part of a larger project investigating social indexicality and meaning potentials of swearword loans from English, based on a nationwide survey data (N=445). Closed tasks as well as open-ended questions were used to investigate respondents’ orientation to using 'damn', particularly in relation to the closest domestic equivalent 'hitto'
and the most stereotypical Finnish swearword 'perkele', as as well as the perceived functions of the loanword as integrated into Finnish. The emphasis of the analysis is on the open-ended response data, focusing on metacommentary and the use and the descriptions of social meaning potentials of the loanword 'damn' . Moreover, the social distribution of the responses was analysed using multinominal logistic regression as a statistical method. Age group, gender, educational level as well as regional background (size of municipality) were used as independent social variables.
The results indicate that while in terms of emotional force and usability 'damn' to some extent corresponds to 'hitto', the social indexicality and functions of these swearwords are only partially overlapping. Compared to 'damn', 'hitto' appears old fashioned and childish, while 'damn' is perceived e.g. as more easygoing and as having more dynamic pragmatic functions. While 'damn' appears to share some of the same functions of 'hitto', 'damn' is also regarded to carry meanings attached to praise. In terms of social structures, gender appeared as the most statistically significant of the independent variables: female respondents tend to report using damn significantly more than male respondents, while male respondents deny their use of damn significantly more than female respondents. Age and size of municipality appeared as less significant variables. Nonetheless, it is justified to conclude based on the self-report data that the most active users of 'damn' are those under 30 years of age and living in the biggest cities in the country (with 100 000+ residents). Education appeared to have no significant effects in the reporting the use of 'damn'.

Translated title of the contributionWhat the hitto [heck] is 'damn' doing in Finnish discourse? : On the social meaning potentials of 'damn' in Finnish
Original languageFinnish
Pages (from-to)191-219
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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