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Man, en och du : Generiska pronomen i svenskans historia

Skärlund, Sanna LU (2017)
Abstract (Swedish)

This thesis examines the development of three generic pronouns in the history of the Swedish language, from the year of ca. 1225 until today. The analysis focuses on how the former noun man (‘man’), numeral en (‘one’) and personal pronoun du (‘you’) have turned into generic pronouns, thereby referring to one or a number of arbitrarily chosen human individuals. Furthermore, the study maps how the generic functions of the three words have changed over time. Similarities and differences between the changes undergone by the three words are also discussed in the thesis, where the development is related to theories of grammaticalization of generic pronouns in other languages.


From an analysis of the... (More)

This thesis examines the development of three generic pronouns in the history of the Swedish language, from the year of ca. 1225 until today. The analysis focuses on how the former noun man (‘man’), numeral en (‘one’) and personal pronoun du (‘you’) have turned into generic pronouns, thereby referring to one or a number of arbitrarily chosen human individuals. Furthermore, the study maps how the generic functions of the three words have changed over time. Similarities and differences between the changes undergone by the three words are also discussed in the thesis, where the development is related to theories of grammaticalization of generic pronouns in other languages.


From an analysis of the syntactic and semantic properties of occurrences of man, en and du in texts and corpora from a period spanning over almost 800 years (ca. 1225–today), it is concluded that the development of the three words as generic pronouns is probably triggered by factors both internal and external to the language system. In addition, a comparison with the development of generic pronouns in other languages shows several similarities, as well as a few differences.


An important outcome of the study is the conclusion that over time, man, en and du have come not only to be used as generic pronouns but also to have definite reference, used by speakers to refer to themselves. Similar changes are also reported with generic pronouns in other languages. Thus, it is concluded that the process of subjectification is a significant aspect of the development of generic pronouns: these pronouns are often employed by the speaker/writer to express own experiences and points of view. In the thesis, it is hypothesised that this tendency towards subjectification in generic pronouns could well be universal.

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author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Engdahl, Elisabet, Göteborgs universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
generic pronouns, language change, grammaticalization, subjectification, Swedish, man, en, du , Old Swedish, semantic change, syntactic change, generic pronouns, language change, grammaticalization, subjectification, Swedish, man, en, du, Old Swedish, semantic change, syntactic change
pages
300 pages
publisher
Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet
defense location
C121, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund
defense date
2017-11-17 10:15
ISBN
978-91-88473-44-8
978-91-88473-45-5
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
902aecd8-1994-4f73-8648-4ebc8348175f
date added to LUP
2017-10-17 08:32:45
date last changed
2017-10-19 14:04:24
@phdthesis{902aecd8-1994-4f73-8648-4ebc8348175f,
  abstract     = {<p>This thesis examines the development of three generic pronouns in the history of the Swedish language, from the year of ca. 1225 until today. The analysis focuses on how the former noun<em> man</em> (‘man’), numeral <em>en </em>(‘one’) and personal pronoun <em>du</em> (‘you’) have turned into generic pronouns, thereby referring to one or a number of arbitrarily chosen human individuals. Furthermore, the study maps how the generic functions of the three words have changed over time. Similarities and differences between the changes undergone by the three words are also discussed in the thesis, where the development is related to theories of grammaticalization of generic pronouns in other languages.</p><p><br/>From an analysis of the syntactic and semantic properties of occurrences of <em>man</em>, <em>en</em> and <em>du</em> in texts and corpora from a period spanning over almost 800 years (ca. 1225–today), it is concluded that the development of the three words as generic pronouns is probably triggered by factors both internal and external to the language system. In addition, a comparison with the development of generic pronouns in other languages shows several similarities, as well as a few differences.</p><p><br/>An important outcome of the study is the conclusion that over time, <em>man</em>, <em>en</em> and <em>du</em> have come not only to be used as generic pronouns but also to have definite reference, used by speakers to refer to themselves. Similar changes are also reported with generic pronouns in other languages. Thus, it is concluded that the process of subjectification is a significant aspect of the development of generic pronouns: these pronouns are often employed by the speaker/writer to express own experiences and points of view. In the thesis, it is hypothesised that this tendency towards subjectification in generic pronouns could well be universal.<br/></p>},
  author       = {Skärlund, Sanna},
  isbn         = {978-91-88473-44-8},
  keyword      = {generic pronouns,language change,grammaticalization,subjectification,Swedish,man,en,du ,Old Swedish,semantic change,syntactic change,generic pronouns,language change,grammaticalization,subjectification,Swedish,man,en,du,Old Swedish,semantic change,syntactic change},
  language     = {swe},
  month        = {10},
  pages        = {300},
  publisher    = {Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {<em>Man</em>, <em>en</em> och <em>du</em> : Generiska pronomen i svenskans historia},
  year         = {2017},
}