English Lexical Nominalizations in a Norwegian-Swedish Contrastive Perspective

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


The present study investigates English lexical nominalizations in terms of their syntax and semantics, and contrastively, in terms of their translations into Norwegian and Swedish. The material comprises 586 English lexical nominalizations and their Norwegian and Swedish translations collected from seven popular science texts in the English-Norwegian Parallel Corpus (ENPC) and the English-Swedidh Parallel Corpus (ESPC). The general theoretical orientation is systemic functional linguistics, from which the central notion 'grammatical metaphor' is taken. To address issues related to the argument structure of deverbal nouns, Grimshaw's theory of argument structure is used (1990).

The investigation shows that lexical nominalizations are used more extensively in the English source texts compared to their Norwegian and Swedish translations: approximately 1/5 of the source lexical nominalizations were turned into clauses. A clausal translation is particularly favored if the lexical nominalization includes many adnominal elements; if it functions as subject in the sentence; if it functions as a postmodifier; if it follows a preposition; or if it is part of an expanded predicate.

Various explanations could be given for the translations with a clause. The thesis discusses typological differences, the lack of a good lexical correspondence of the source deverbal noun in the target languages and the possibility of there being different genre conventions in the three languages. There is also extensive discussion of the meaning of lexical nominalization. It is shown that if the argument structure of deverbal nouns is analyzed in more detail, semantic types of lexical nominalizations characterized by differences in nouniness and grammatical metaphor can be determined. These semantic types have partly different translation correspondences, suggesting that the relationship between the lexical nominalization and the clause is related to both meaning and form. It is therefore necessary to consider both the syntax and semantics of lexical nominalizations in discussions of nominal and verbal style and in theoretical discussions of grammatical metaphor.

The study also shows that two parallel translations can reveal differences in form both between lexical nominalizations in the source and target languages and between the two target languages.
  • Aijmer, Karin, handledare, Extern person
Tilldelningsdatum2007 dec. 15
StatusPublished - 2007
Externt publiceradJa

Bibliografisk information

Defence details

Date: 2007-12-15
Time: 13:00
Place: Lilla Hörsalen, Humanisten, Göteborgs Universitet

External reviewer(s)

Name: Wikberg, Kay
Title: Professor Emeritus
Affiliation: Oslo University


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Elektroteknik och elektronik


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