Swedish: Superlative and no definite declension?

Sébastien_B

New Member
French - France
  • Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Hello all,

    In this article Kriget i Syrien: Här är vägen al-Assad och rebellerna slåss om

    In the sentence "M5 är Syriens absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelse", why is "motorvägsförbindelse" in the indefinite form and not in the definite "motorvägsförbindelsen" ?


    Does it have something to do with the superlative adjective before the word ? Not so if I am to judge from this : Duolingo: Learn Spanish, French and other languages for free, so I am at a loss.
    The genitive demands the indefinite form of the noun being owned, but any adjective modifying that noun will take a definite ending. It may seem confusing, but it's really simple: the genitive is one way of defining the noun, the definite form is another. Compare these sentences and what happens in English when you combine adjectives and nouns with a genitive or with a definite pronoun:

    M5 är Syriens absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelse.
    The M5 is by far Syria's largest and most important motorway connection.

    M5 är den absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelsen i Syrien.
    The M5 is by far the largest and most important motorway connection in Syria.

    Kalles röda ballong flög iväg.
    Kalle's red balloon flew away.

    Den röda ballongen, som var Kalles, flög iväg.
    The red balloon, which was Kalle's, flew away.

    Londons mest kända shoppinggata är nog Oxford Street.
    London's most famous shopping street is perhaps Oxford Street.

    Den mest kända shoppinggatan i London är nog Oxford Street.
    The most famous shopping street in London is perhaps Oxford Street.

    I hope this explains it. The English sentences are perhaps less idiomatic, I just wanted to illustrate the similarities and differences between Swedish and English grammar in this case.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Is "motorvägsförbindelse" really a substantive in indefinite form? Isn't it what we call "neutral" form (neither definite or definite)?
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Is "motorvägsförbindelse" really a substantive in indefinite form? Isn't it what we call "neutral" form (neither definite or definite)?
    I am at a loss to understand what you are referring to. A noun can never be "neutral" in terms of form in Swedish - either it has an indefinite form, e.g. väg, förbindelse, boll, or a definite form, e.g. vägen, förbindelsen, bollen, in this case in singular, but this of course also applies to plural forms. The definite form in singular is normally a suffix, e.g. -en, -n. See my examples:

    M5 är Syriens absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelse. = indefinite form

    The M5 is by far Syria's largest and most important motorway connection.

    M5 är den absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelsen i Syrien. = definite form
    The M5 is by far the largest and most important motorway connection in Syria.

    The adjectives take the definite form in both cases.
     
    Last edited:

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I am at a loss to understand what you are referring to. A noun can never be "neutral" in terms of form in Swedish - either it has an indefinite form, e.g. väg, förbindelse, boll, or a definite form, e.g. vägen, förbindelsen, bollen, in this case in singular, but this of course also applies to plural forms. The definite form in singular is normally a suffix, e.g. -en, -n. See my examples:

    M5 är Syriens absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelse. = indefinite form

    The M5 is by far Syria's largest and most important motorway connection.

    M5 är den absolut största och viktigaste motorvägsförbindelsen i Syrien. = definite form
    The M5 is by far the largest and most important motorway connection in Syria.
    The adjectives take the definite form in both cases.[/QUOTE]
    I thought that an indefinite form always takes "en" or "ett".
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    I thought that an indefinite form always takes "en" or "ett".
    Not always. They are compulsory in some contexts and excluded in others. In the above sample sentence with the genitive, the adjectives get the definite form (-a, -e suffix), but the noun gets the indefinite form.

    Other examples without en/ett: Jag har föreläsning om 5 minuter. (I have a lecture in 5 minutes). Nästa föreläsning är om 5 minuter. (the next lecture is in 5 minutes). Patienten ville ha dubbel dos av medicinen. (The patient wanted to have a double dose of the medicine). Kalles boll blev stulen. (Kalle's ball got stolen.)

    With en/ett: Kalle har en boll. (Kalle has a house.) Jag ska köpa ett hus. (I'm going to buy a house.)
     
    Last edited:

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    I thought that an indefinite form always takes "en" or "ett".
    No; depending on the semantic and syntactic context, the indefinite form either takes the indefinite article or no article. As far as I know, the term ‘neutral form’ is never used for an indefinite form without an article.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top