A multilingual parallel corpus approach to time sufficiency expressions in Scandinavian and English.


  • Lene Nordrum
  • Mats Johansson




Both the Swedish verb hinna and the Norwegian verb rekke have been shown to encode complex sufficiency meanings involving temporal sufficiency and ability (‘have enough time to be able to do sth’) (Johansson & Nordrum, 2016, 2021), but differ in that hinna always encodes temporal meaning while rekke also has spatial meaning. Interestingly, a third Mainland Scandinavian language, Danish, can also encode complex sufficiency meanings, and is similar to Norwegian rekke in having both spatial and temporal meanings. In this paper, featuring a short background and a multimodal presentation, we explore the meaning and use of the three Scandinavian verbs, hinna, rekke, and nå, in the multilingual parallel corpus OPUS2 (available through the Sketch Engine Web based interface) using English as the pivot language (see Tiedemann, 2012). In the spirit of Johansson (2007), the English correspondences of the Scandinavian verbs are used to shed light on semantic distinctions that may be difficult to spot in monolingual data. The multimodal presentation discusses the possibility that the three verbs in the Scandinavian languages are on a path towards grammaticalization, but at different stages in the process, a discussion which is related to an observation in the literature that verbs with ‘reach’ type meanings tend to grammaticalize into modals (see e.g., Bybee et al, 1994).



2022-06-01 — Updated on 2022-06-01