Swedish: skall ha (used to report events?)

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Gavril, Dec 6, 2017.

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  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Yesterday, I was looking at a criminal investigation report where the phrase "skall ha" showed up several times: for example,

    How should "skall ha" be interpreted here? Also, is it important (semantically) that the person writing this chose to write "skall" rather than "ska"?

    Thanks
     
  2. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Swedish
    "skall" vs "ska" is possibly just a matter of the venue. So in legal context "skall" might be more... appropriate. Generally it's perhaps a bit more "old-fashioned" or whatever.

    As for meaning, I would translate it to: "[Suspect A and B] then supposedly drove to [City A]", or "are then supposed to have driven". I think the latter is actually more exact albeit more wordy ("have driven" as opposed to "drove", and the former is actually the only way it can be written in Swedish in this use case btw ("ha kört")). At any rate, I would translate "skall ha" to "supposed to have", generally speaking. In other words it is indicating that something is asserted and not literally stating that it is true. In a court of law I suppose it's one of those nuances that are necessary since you can't say that something happened before it's proven to have happened.

    This is then different from some other uses of "skall ha". Suppose we are eating "semlor" (which I recommend), and I say "Jag skall ha en semla till". It would translate to "I am going to have another semla". So in this usage I'm indicating what I am about to do, rather than what has supposedly happened.

    Lastly, I have no idea how to decipher this other than context. Hopefully someone with a better functioning cerebral cortex can chime in and educate us :)
     
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Thanks again. "supposed to have ..." was my first guess when reading the text, and I'm glad to see it wasn't too far off base. :)
     
  4. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    At first glance, it may seem a bit odd that a word that ordinarily refers to an obligation or firm intention is also used to indicate uncertainty. However, this also happens with the English verb to suppose. If someone is supposed to do something, it means that they have an obligation (however weak) to do it. If they are supposed to have done something, it means that they may or may not have done it.
     
  5. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    I would also interpret it as the suspect her- och himself saying this. The supposing is not done based on guesswork but because of the testimony of the suspect. (Otherwise I'd expect something like ...torde ha... or ...har antagligen...). I also cannot explain it grammatically other than that this ska ha is typically used for describing something that someone says they have done but that you are sceptical about or that hasn't been proven.

    About ska or skall, authorities these days are recommended to use the former, which is also generally preferred (see e.g. Myndigheternas skrivregler).
     
  6. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Swedish
    Interesting. Is this recent?
     
  7. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Guess it depends on what you consider recent :). Obviously it's come about in formal text in this millennium but Swedish legislation has used ska since 2007, the Finnish legislation since 2008 (see Svenskt lagspråk i Finland). Ska has long been by far more common but because of this, skall seems to be falling out of favour very fast.
     
  8. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Swedish
    Yeah, 2007-ish is recent to me.

    I'm not sure how I feel about it. "Skall" certainly is a bit stuffy, and nobody pronounces it that way anyway... except maybe some old, farty royalty or nobility...
     
  9. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    I feel you – I have difficulties with the fact that gett is replacing givit, and cannot even imagine using mej, dej... ;) But skall really sounds rather stiff and a bit pompous to me, especially since I translate a lot and skall just isn't an option. But nothing stops you from using it if you want to try to revive it! :)
     

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