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Nordsvensk prepropriell artikel: En intuitionsbaserad multimetodsstudie om personnamnsartiklar i norra Sverige


  • Erika Wallgren Ekström

Summary, in English

In Northern Swedish, personal proper names are traditionally introduced by a morphologically distinct definite article, most known as the preproprial article (PPA). The use of the article in contemporary Swedish dialects is obscure, as research on the topic is scarce and mainly based on antiquated data. For some dialects, PPAs are occasionally said to be restricted to names of people personally known or close to the speaker. Contradictorily, PPAs are also often described as obligatory with all referential personal proper names, and pragmatically neutral. Using a mixed-methods approach, the present study aims to chart the use and spread of the North Swedish preproprial article today, and account for possible semantic and pragmatic limitations in its’ use.

Data for the study was partly collected through an online survey, which was distributed in Northern Sweden and yielded 514 responses. The survey included an acceptability judgment task, designed to test respondents’ intuitions about the use of PPA with different referents. The survey also gathered demographic information about the respondents and their self-reported PPA use. In addition, ten interviews were conducted with participants from four different municipalities in Northern Sweden.

A cross-comparison of the demographic data and self-reported use indicates continued PPA use in southern Norrbotten and Lappland, large parts of Västerbotten, Ångermanland, Jämtland and Härjedalen, and western Medelpad, while the article seems to have fallen out of use in eastern Medelpad. The data comparison also shows that PPA use is more common among older speakers.

Through analyses of judgment data, comments and interview transcripts, it is observed that proximal referents are the most typical in preproprial constructions, but that PPA use is subject to much variation throughout the survey area. Results indicate that some speakers’ PPA use is governed by social or geographic proximity, while others’ use is less consistent, and seemingly governed by a sense of familiarity, or psychological proximity. The results also suggest that referential uniqueness, placement and information structure may impact PPA use, but these factors would need to be investigated further. Finally, the results indicate that there are speakers whose use of PPA is not pragmatically restricted, but systematic with (nearly) all personal proper names. Additional findings include a preference for PPA with masculine referents among younger speakers, variation in the use of PPA with (lone) surnames, and variation in the use of PPA with kinship terms.


  • Svenska
  • Master's Programme: Language and Linguistics






Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • preproprial articles
  • determiners
  • proper names
  • dialects
  • Northern Swedish
  • acceptability
  • prepropriell artikel
  • determinerare
  • egennamn
  • dialekt
  • nordsvenska
  • norrländska
  • acceptabilitet


  • Marit Julien (Universitetslektor)