Den intima ledaren? Om ledarartiklar, informalisering och språklig förändring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Public language is generally considered to have become more informal in the Western world in the past few decades. The same holds true for Swedish public language and the language of Swedish newspapers in particular. However, two former studies of opinion articles in five Swedish newspapers revealed that the language used in this genre was surprisingly unchanged during the time period 1945–2000. This article replicates the two former studies by analysing 36 Swedish opinion articles from 2015 from a quantitative perspective. The results of the analysis are then compared to those of the earlier studies to see if, and to what extent, tendencies of informalization have now become noticeable in the opinion articles. It is demonstrated that there are indeed signs of informalization
in the articles from 2015. Words and sentences have become shorter, colloquial expressions (such as swear words) are used, and both incomplete sentences and personal pronouns in first and second person are more frequent than before. On the other hand, subordinate clauses are more common in the articles from 2015 than in 1985–2000. Since subordinate clauses in former studies of Swedish have been considered a formal trait, this is quite unexpected. In the article, it is argued that the connection between subordination and formal language is more complex than has sometimes previously been acknowledged –, and that subordinate clauses have different functions, not all of them characterizing a formal style.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Languages


  • opinion articles, informalization, Swedish, language change, stylistic change, corpus stylistics
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)78-111
JournalSpråk och stil
VolumeNF 28
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

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