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Finnskägg, tåtel och sia: om folkliga namn på gräs
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages.
1991 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Finnskägg, tåtel and sia : on popular names for grasses (English)
Abstract [en]

By collecting and analysing plant names linguistically, a knowledge of popular botany and its relationshipto scientific botany can be obtained.This study has two primary aims: to describe the popular botanical view of the part of thevegetal world represented by grasses and to illustrate the dialectal use of plant names.The material consists of dialectal names for grasses and has been taken chiefly from variousarchives. The area investigated is primarily Sweden, but other parts of Fenno-Scandinavia, chieflyNorway and parts of Finland where Swedish is spoken, have also been included. The plant namesanalysed are either equivalents or synonyms: they have the same meaning but different geographicalareas of distribution or the same meaning and the same geographical areas of distribution.Three popular "species", each of which represents three different correspondences betweenpopular and scientific botany are described."Grass with a panicle" illustrates underdifferentiation. A number of grasses are collectivelygiven the same name. The grasses are primarily characterised by their similarity in appearance,but they are also used in the same way, as fodder grasses. "Grass with a panicle" has five namesin Swedish dialects: ven, tåtel, bunk, jägarn and tannar."Vegetative tillers" exemplifies overdifferentiation. The tillers are only one part of the plant,which means that the popular classification is more differentiated than the scientific one. Thereare probably several reasons for this differentiation: The vegetative tillers are the first to appearin spring, before the culms with panicles. The tillers are grazed, not cut like the flowering stems.The names found in Swedish dialects are rysk, tov and sia."Mat-grass" represents one-to-one correspondence. The "species" is on the whole identicalwith the scientific species mat-grass. The reason for this identity is the characteristic appearanceof the plant and its hardness. It is difficult to cut. In Swedish dialects mat-grass has five nameswhich are widely spread: stagg, finnskägg, hära, sägg and fnugg. But it also has a great numberof names with a very limited distribution. Because of the special efforts required at harvesttime—mat-grass often bent to the scythe only to rise again soon afterwards—this grass could stirup emotions and hence it has been subject to affective word-formation.The material points to the conclusion that external characteristics of plants may be decisive fortheir classification in popular botany. It is important to note, however, that the use made of aplant is also important in the popular division of "species". 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1991. , 159 p.
, Skrifter utgivna av Dialekt-, ortnamns- och folkminnesarkivet i Umeå. Serie A, Dialekter, ISSN 0280-5553 ; 8
Keyword [en]
Popular botany, grasses, dialectal plant names, equivalents, synonyms, popular "species", affective word-formation
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66942ISBN: 91-86372-21-1OAI: diva2:616707
Public defence
1991-05-31, Humanisthuset, hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15

Omslagets illustration producerad av konstnären Eva Skåreus.

Available from: 2013-04-18 Created: 2013-03-07 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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