"Hinna bry sig" – Seeing Swedish "hinna" through the English-Swedish Parallel Corpus
Lene Nordrum, Lund University
A number of Swedish verbs can function both as main verbs and auxiliaries. Such polyfunctionality has been related to diachronic language change, such as the transition of Swedish from a primarily synthetic to an analytic language, where lexical verbs have been grammaticalized into auxiliaries that replace morphological marking (Lagervall 2013:10; Wessén 1965 III:142f). In my talk, I will consider the Swedish verb hinna and its English translation correspondences in the English-Swedish Parallel Corpus. Despite its Germanic origin, hinna lacks a straightforward correspondence in English, and the English translations are thus used to shed light on its meaning and use, as described in the method ‘seeing language through multilingual corpora’ (Johansson 2007). I will argue that the English translations support a semantic description of hinna as vague rather than polysemous, which means that context can bring salience to one of two meaning components [ABILITY] or [TIME-SUFFICIENCY], but that we cannot speak of two distinctly separated semantic senses.