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Morphological borrowing from English to Norwegian: The enigmatic non-possessive -s

  • Gisle Andersen (a1) and Anne-Line Graedler (a2)


With increased lexical influence and general English competence among Norwegian language users, the association of the suffix -s with the category of plural appears to be expanding. This article explores the occurrence and productivity of non-possessive -s in contemporary Norwegian, a feature which incorporates several phenomena. Our aim is to chart the lexico-grammatical categories instantiated by this morpho-phonological segment in light of the previous literature on Anglicisms in Norwegian and on the basis of empirical evidence from present-day language use. The article presents a corpus-based survey of categories where non-possessive -s occurs (i) as the plural marker of Anglicisms, e.g. drinks; (ii) in colloquialisms such as dritings ‘dead drunk’ – a combination of a domestic noun and English (or Norwegian) -ing + non-possessive -s reanalysed into an adjectival stem; (iii) in nouns like en caps ‘a (baseball) cap’, where it has lost its plurality marking function and become part of the lexical stem; and (iv) sporadically as a plurality marker of domestic or non-English words, e.g. temas. The variability in presence vs. absence of -s is further explored in four case studies dedicated to different stages of borrowing.


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Morphological borrowing from English to Norwegian: The enigmatic non-possessive -s

  • Gisle Andersen (a1) and Anne-Line Graedler (a2)


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