Existential constructions in English and Swedish
Existential constructions introduce newsworthy information into the discourse by placing it in a position of prominence late in the message, in the Rheme. This study compares existential constructions in a sample of English and Swedish source texts and their translations in the English Swedish Parallel Corpus. The Swedish sample contains a slightly higher number of existential constructions. About two thirds are translated into or from existential constructions in the other language. The remaining correspondences differ somewhat in terms of where they place the newsworthy content presented by the notional subject in the existential construction. In English, this is often placed in the Theme. In Swedish, in contrast, this is usually avoided, either by fronting another clause element or by realizing the content as a complement or verb, which is placed in the Rheme. These findings provide further empirical evidence for the claim that Swedish follows the information principle more closely than English.
Keywords: ‘there’, information structure, existential construction, English/Swedish
Published online: 29 October 2012
Cited by 1 other publications
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