Volume 29, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



This article compares variation in the use of address practices across languages (Swedish, Finnish) and national varieties (Sweden Swedish, Finland Swedish). It undertakes quantitative and qualitative analyses of three sets of transcribed medical consultations. In Sweden Swedish, address pronouns which lower social distance overwhelmingly dominate. In Finnish, both address forms reducing social distance and practices maintaining greater distance are found, with age and level of acquaintance revealed as the most salient factors. Finland Swedish is located somewhere between Sweden Swedish and Finnish, displaying a stronger tendency than Finnish to use informal direct address forms to reduce social distance, but also showing similarities with Finnish in the use of direct formal address and indirect address. The differences can be related to larger socio-cultural patterns which, however, form a continuum rather than a fixed set keeping the two languages and countries completely apart.


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