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En ändelses uppgång och fall: Svensk pluralbildning med -er hos neutrala substantiv med final konsonant
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The rise and fall of an ending : The -er plural of Swedish neuter nouns with a final consonant (English)
Abstract [en]

In both Old Swedish and contemporary Swedish, the great majority of neuter nouns with a final consonant have no ending (-Ø) in the indefinite plural. From the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century, however, non-native neuter nouns with final stress and a final consonant (F1 nouns), e.g. instrument and kontrakt, often formed their plural with -er. This usage was established in chancery language around 1530 as part of a wider morphological change, a German-inspired adaptation of Latin loanwords. In the early seventeenth century, the -er plural was the commoner; in the eighteenth and most of the nineteenth century, overwhelmingly so. The -Ø plural lived on, however, chiefly in words with stems in -er. In the 1870s the use of -Ø plurals in written Swedish grew rapidly, while the proportion of -er forms was halved in some 20 years. When they were finally dropped from Svenska Akademiens ordlista in 1950, the -er forms of F1 nouns were decidedly antiquated.

The abolition of -er plurals of F1 words was a matter of standardization, but also a symptom of normative historicism and purism. Neuter -er plurals were viewed as an alien import from German. Such purist arguments carried decisive weight in a romantic-historical and nationally oriented intellectual climate. The elimination of this form was made possible, though, by favourable intralinguistic conditions, chiefly the fact that the -Ø plural was an alternative that was already accepted and to some extent used for F1 words, and the only conceivable one for most other neuters with a final consonant. The change could not have been achieved if the F1 nouns had been everyday words, frequently used in speech. The aversion to neuter -er plurals was seen by several language scholars of the day as irrational, but attempts to turn the tide proved to no avail.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. , 240 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 69
Keyword [en]
Swedish language, neuter nouns, plural forms, loanwords, morphology, Modern Swedish, language cultivation, purism, linguistic historicism
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7328ISBN: 91-506-1905-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7328DiVA: diva2:169277
Public defence
2006-12-16, Ihresalen, Engelska parken. Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 L, Uppsala, 14:15
Available from: 2006-11-24 Created: 2006-11-24Bibliographically approved

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