Making Sense of “Bad English”: An introduction to language attitudes and ideologies

This textbook is based on a course I have taught for several years at the University of Helsinki. The book is meant to offer students a perspective on some of the sociolinguistic issues inherent to varieties of English, including some of the language attitudes that go along with the major target varieties. The first chapters …

strong language in Finnish

Sometime in the winter of 2016/2017, my collaborator Johanna Vaattovaara and I turned our attention from the so-called “the magic word,” please, toward a more controversial collection of words, namely swear words. As with our work on please in Finnish, our main aim with this project is to try to find out why and how …

All about ja

I became interested in the affirmation particle ja when I noticed that the people I interviewed in Sanpete County, Utah, used it as an everyday affirmation marker. It also seems to work as a marker of local identity. It seems that this particular linguistic feature, which I choose to spell in the Scandinavian and German …

Dynamics and Innovations in Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change

I am co-editing this volume, to be published by Cambridge University Press, along with Turo Hiltunen and Joseph Kern. The idea for the volume came about based on a selection of papers that were presented at DiPVaC4 in Helsinki. The volume deals with three main themes: methodology and theoretical considerations within our field, under-researched discourse-pragmatic …

foreign language contact with English

Back when I was working on my PhD thesis (published in 2004), I noticed that a couple of people in my interview data used the English word please in the requests they made in Finnish. This raised a really interesting question: Why would people use the English word please in Finnish? This question eventually led …

Filling the Sociolinguistic Gap for English Speakers Worldwide

Poster presentation for the American Dialect Society, New York City, January 2019 If the PDF file does not download properly, you can try this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rd6blogh6z350el/ADS%20Peterson%202019.pdf?dl=0 The idea behind this presentation was to demonstrate to North American language scientists that their work is widely read throughout the world, and, as we already know, they tend …

Danes and Danish in Utah

I grew up in Utah, but it was only after moving to Finland and hearing Scandinavian used as a lingua franca that I started to become interested in the Scandinavian language history of Utah. When I heard Scandinavian being used around me in Helsinki, it made me think that a similar situation could have been …