The paper investigates the use of the Danish approximative phrase mere eller mindre 'more or less' in Danish as spoken by immigrants in Argentina, Argentine Danish. Three corpora are examined: Corpus of South American Danish, the LANCHART corpus of modern Standard Danish, and the Corest corpus of traditional dialectal Danish. The analysis shows that compared to seven other adverbial approximative synonyms, mere eller mindre is used to a much larger degree in Argentine Danish than in modern Standard Danish and traditional dialectal Danish. The analysis further shows that it is in short replies as in ja, mere eller mindre 'yes, more or less' and as a modifier of measurable content such as numbers, weight, distances, etc., that mere eller mindre is used to a significantly greater extent in Argentine Danish than in Denmark Danish. As a modifier of adjectival and adverbial phrases, mere eller mindre is used to a significantly lower degree in Argentine Danish than in Denmark Danish (for example, han var mere eller mindre ligeglad 'he more or less did not care' and det gik mere eller mindre heldigt 'it went more or less well'). The paper suggests that further corpus studies of the relative distribution of mere eller mindre and its synonymous approximative adverbials in Danish are needed to draw firm conclusions with respect to overuse in certain syntactic and semantic contexts. Such studies may also benefit from including corpus studies of spoken Argentine Spanish.
Selected Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas (WILA 8)
edited by Jan Heegård Petersen and Karoline Kühl
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