University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


In the contact scenarios of late-modern urban Europe, a complex interplay of predictors determine each output in the variety. They include substrate inputs, superstrate structure, social conditions, diachrony, and more; they are elusive and hard to isolate. However, if one was to attempt to isolate them, the Nordic multiethnolects would be a befitting start point because their languages, social structures, and origins of their migrants are similar. Diachrony is where they differ most: Swedish represents a later-stage muliethnolect; Danish, earlier. In this study, I compare lexical replications in Danish and Swedish hip hop because it features multiethnolect in its most flamboyant style. Hip hop is a de facto empirical isolation of the upper limits of community-accepted replication. I analyzed a corpus of 22 Danish (13,086 words) and 34 (15,668) Swedish 'hit' rap songs and found that the Swedish artists use nearly double the number of foreign lexical replications than the Danish artists. Furthermore, a higher number of Swedish replications (32) were used by >10% of the artists than Danish replications (14). High-use Danish replications were solely nouns and exclamations/tags. High-use Swedish replications included nouns, exclamations/tags, adjectives, verbs, and the first-person pronoun 'benim.' After closer analysis, I define 'benim' as a first-person 'egohonorific' pronoun and offer an explanation on its origin and social-indexical function. I argue that Swedish multiethnolect is 'richer' than Danish multiethnolect both in terms of level of replication as well as types of replications. The study provides fresh insight on two neighboring multiethnolects that have formed under similar conditions save for diachrony.