Swedish Impersonal Constructions from a Crosslinguistic Perspective: An Explanatory Corpus-Based Study
2010 (English)In: Orientalia Suecana, ISSN 0078-6578, Vol. 59, 122-158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper presents a corpus-based contrastive study of impersonals in Swedish based on extracts from five Swedish novels and their translations into German, English, French, and Finnish. As a first step in the analysis, impersonals were identified with simple formal criteria. All occurrences of non-referential det ‘it’ in the subject slot and all occurrences of the Swedish generalized pronoun man were extracted for further analysis. As a second step, this material was analysed from a functional point of view. It turned out that det appears as a formal subject (or placeholder) in agentless sentences or sentences with low agentivity, whereas man appears as an impersonal subject with general (‘all of mankind’) or vague reference. From a contrastive perspective, it turns out that Finnish in many respects represents a different type than the other languages included in the study, but even if German, English, and French in many cases have rather direct structural equivalents to the Swedish impersonal constructions, the usage patterns differ in a striking way even between these languages.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University , 2010. Vol. 59, 122-158 p.
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject Linguistics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-150889OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-150889DiVA: diva2:409159