Edited by Hans C. Boas and Steffen Höder
[Constructional Approaches to Language 24] 2018
► pp. 181–210
Constructions as cross-linguistic generalizations over instances
Passive patterns in contact
The study takes the position that constructions (as form–meaning–function constellations) are not by definition language specific. This position is supported and illustrated with a case where different types of passive constructions in one language come in contact with ways of expressing comparable meanings and functions in another language. The functions of the constructions in the languages are in many respects similar, albeit that the languages express these functions differently in form. This opens up the very question of what is to be counted as “the same form” in two different languages, which leads to an approach where semantic and pragmatic features are given a more central place in the constructional analysis.
The two languages and their contact features investigated are Finnish and Swedish, and in particular the Solv dialect of Swedish, i.e., languages that are both typologically and genetically very different from each other. Actives and passives are seen as constituting different patterns that speakers orient to and use; patterns are not constructions in the traditional sense of form–meaning pairs, but constructions as meaning–function constellations. The study suggests that what we may interpret as Swedish dialects having borrowed features from Finnish in their passive constructions is rather the result of a long-standing cultural give-and-take situation between Finnish and Swedish in the Solf community.
- 2.Passives – a brief overview
- 3.Passives and actives as linguistic resources
- 4.Patterns and constructions: Swedish
- 5.The Finnish “passive”
- 6.Patterns, language contact, and language change
- 7.Solf Swedish
- 8.Constructional pattern contact