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Absolut superlativ i samtida språkbruk

Journal article
Authors Elisabet Engdahl
Elizabeth Coppock
Published in Språk & Stil
Volume 27
Pages 5–20
ISSN 1101-1165
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Swedish
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 5–20
Language sv
Keywords Swedish, superlatives, elatives, definiteness, polarity sensitivity, strength of assertion
Subject categories Specific Languages, Linguistics


In this article we report on a corpus study of elative superlatives in contemporary Swedish. Elative superlatives differ from ordinary superlatives in that no direct comparison with other referents is involved. Instead a referent is said to have the property expressed by the adjective to a very high degree. In Swedish, elative superlatives are formally distinct from ordinary superlatives (they lack the post-nominal clitic article) which means that they can be found in corpus searches. We show that elative superlatives have expressive function and are typically used in emphatic assertions which are intended to make the strongest possible claim in a given situation. Elative superlatives are used in all grammatical functions but with slightly different implicational properties. Contrary to what has been assumed, elative superlatives are not limited to fixed expressions and formal written language. Creative uses abound in blog texts and sports commentaries.

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