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"Min gamle vän Elin": En sociolingvistisk studie av bruket av adjektivets e-form
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Swedish Language.
2017 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
"Min gamle vän Elin." : A sociolinguistic study of the use of the e-form of Swedish adjectives (English)
Abstract [en]

In the definite form an adjective in Swedish can end in either -a or -e, with the e-form being used in writing especially with masculine reference together with nouns of the n-gender. For a long time, however, there has been some variation in usage, so that the e-form is sometimes also employed with female reference or together with nouns of t-gender. Widmark shows in a study from 1992 that there is uncertainty among Swedish speakers about how the forms should be used. The aim of the present study is to investigate the extent to which speakers accept different uses in writing of the e-form of the adjective in the definite singular form, and to see whether the sociolinguistic vari­ables age, sex, dialect, education and familiarity with writing are of any significance in this. Another aim is to conduct a comparison with Widmark’s study to see whether there has been any change in usage in the last few decades.

The study proceeds from sociolinguistic theory of linguistic variation and changes and uses a quantitative method. In a questionnaire the respondents were asked to judge a number of examples with the e-form of the adjective in different linguistic contexts. The number of respondents was 181; they constitute a convenience sample. To find material for the examples in the questionnaire, a corpus study was undertaken first.

The result shows that acceptance of expressions that do not follow the norms of written language is in most cases low. A majority of the respondents think that the e-form should be used primarily with masculine or general reference. Younger respondents are more uncertain about usage, while older respondents follow the written standard to a higher extent. Women take a more negative view of non-standard uses; on the other hand, more men than women are positive towards examples where the e-form is used according to the norm. Dialect is significant in that respondents from parts of Sweden where final ‑a has become ‑e are more willing to accept non-standard uses. Respondents with a university education reply to a higher extent in accordance with the written norm. The result found no difference in usage compared with Widmark’s study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 36
Keyword [en]
Adjective, gender inflection, sociolinguistics, questionnaire study
National Category
Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68258OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-68258DiVA, id: diva2:1147634
Subject / course
Swedish Language
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Examiners
Available from: 2017-10-06 Created: 2017-10-06 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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