"Jai er en ærlich Jude". Språklig stilisering av "jødiskhet" i norsk offentlighet frem til 1940


  • Stian Hårstad Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)



språklig stilisering, minoritetsspråk, jødiskhet, jødisk historie, karikaturer


The article examines the history, form, and function of the linguistic stylization characteristic of what Bauman (1998) has called "the abstract Jew" in Norwegian literature and press until 1940. A particular speech style has been a key semiotic feature of "the Jew" as a characterological figure (Agha 2003; 2007) for several centuries, and this study indicates that the Norwegian variety is to a large degree a continuation of a long European tradition of anti-Semitic (or allo-Semitic) depictions of the stereotypical "Jew". The stylization is predominantly founded on hybridity conjoining a wide range of semiotic traits that accentuate deviation from a linguistic normality, i.e., standard norms. Most of the stylistic strategies in the Norwegian texts that have been examined show parallels in similar publications from other countries, and, not surprisingly, the influence from the Danish tradition becomes very apparent. The Norwegian authors also pursue the Danish style in the sense that they employ linguistic elements with no clear connection to actual Jewish language practices. This study concludes that the Norwegian "Jew’s accent" is basically a figment based on common – and salient – learner language errors in addition to numerous features that index "Germanness" – and thereby "foreignness". This includes a multitude of eye-dialect elements, i.e., various respellings that do not reflect factual phonological distinctions. The immense linguistic hybridity involved may be linked to the efforts of portraying "the Jew" as a threat to cultural homogeneity within the nation state, especially from the latter decades of the 1800s. The hybrid "non-language” assigned to "the Jew" can be seen as a symptom of a non-identity, based on the anti-Semitic idea that the Jews belong to an "in-between-category” with no place in the "normal” nation. In that sense, the stylized "Jew’s accent" contributes to highlighting otherness and aberrance.

Biografie auteur

Stian Hårstad, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Stian Hårstad (Rennebu / Norway, 1977) is Professor of Scandinavian linguistics at the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He completed his PhD in linguistics at NTNU in 2010. Previously, he has worked in teacher education, focussing on language didactics and sociolinguistic topics. In his recent position (since 2015) he has been doing research on language variation and change, language history, and the history of science. His main research interests are the social history of language, minority languages, the relation between speech and writing, language didactics, and the sociolinguistics of place.