Swedish: spindelapsskelett

Marseilles

Member
French, english
How does one say for instance spindelapa+skelett - spindelapsskelett?
Spindelapeskelett? Sindelapaskelett?
 
  • jcolanguageservices

    Banned
    UK
    Swedish
    I would say that both of these two varieties are acceptable - spindelapskelett and spindelapeskelett. However, the use of -e- as a compound affix is becoming less common, and my impression is that it is because it is perceived as dialectal and/or uneducated.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    I disagree. Because spindelapa in itself is a compound, I want an -s- interfixed, i.e. spindelapsskelett.

    Apa on its own is different, it's monosyllabic and normally loses the -a when compounded: apskelett, or, as mentioned above, an -e- in dialects/spoken language: apejävlar. I would definitely not use it in any formal text.

    The issue of what interfix, if any, to use in compounds has been discussed previously, for example here, but I'll argue my case from this previous post:

    The linking elements, called interfix by the linguists, that are used to combine nouns into compound nouns in Swedish, appear to be historic case endings, usually genitive. The original genders of the words and their respective case endings would account for the various elements, i.e. -e-, -o-, -u-, -s-. Examples: skattekontor (tax office), kvinnoklinik (women's clinic), gatukontor ('street office', i.e. city council office for street maintenance) and järnvägsstation (railway station).The s suffix then evolved into two functions: 1) standard genitive marker for all genders and 2) the most common interfix for compounds.

    There are clearly defined rules and patterns for how compound nouns are formed, i.e. whether to insert an -s- or not. I won't go into too much detail as it is thoroughly explained in this article (p. 4-9), suffice to say that it depends on the amount of syllables and morphemes of the first part, and there are phonetic rules to avoid difficult consonant clusters, journalistpris being one example - journalistspris :cross: would be very difficult to pronounce. Remember that Swedish compound nouns should always be written as one continuous word, not two or more as in English.
    For those of you wanting to delve even further into the mechanics of compounding and understand Swedish, the linked article above is certainly worth reading.
     

    Delfinen

    Senior Member
    Swedish Sweden
    Man brukar ha foge-s mellan del två och tre, alltså spindelapsskelett, eftersom de två första delarna av ordet hänger ihop, spindelapa, men den tredje delen utgör ett mer tillfälligt tillägg. Reglerna är inte glasklara, eftersom svenskan är otroligt produktiv när det gäller sammansättningar. Skolbokshylla är t ex en hylla för skolböcker, men skolbokhylla en hylla i skolan.
    Gamla genetivsuffix lever kvar, som a i barnatro, e i nattetid mfl.
     

    codehnal2

    New Member
    Swedish
    Thank you very much for that interesting and informative link Wilma! I was indeed not aware of this pattern and must confess that my linguistic reasoning and search for consistency guided me more than my native ear when discrediting spindelapsskelett.

    After reading the article and a second listening I must agree it sounds better than spindelapskelett. Although, as a native speaker, I can't say the latter sounds completely unacceptable.

    Just a few comments. The word/lexeme 'apa' is not monosyllabic. However, the stem 'ap-' is both monomorphemic and monosyllabic. However, judging from your knowledgeable posts I am quite sure you already knew that.

    You also mention that the number of syllables has an impact, but I cannot find anything in the article about that. The author writes that it's the number of morphemes of the first part that's important. Two counterexamples are:

    årstid (år is monosyllabic)
    sadelmakare (sadel is polysyllabic)

    Since most monosyllabic words are also monomorphemic (I cannot think of any that aren't), and most polysyllabic words are polymorphemic, there is obviously a correlation, between the number of syllables and the use of the interfix, but that correlation would be secondary and indirect.

    Finally, I would also like to agree with you that the form spindelapeskelett would be unsuitable in a formal context.

    Recently, I was reading an article in Göteborgs-Posten where the journalist used the word 'flickebarn'. At first the -e- form struck me as dialectal, but after further introspection I concluded that it had a poetic/formal flavour in the context. So in my mind, the -e- forms can belong to several linguistic registers. I was also asking myself whether you could even use the form 'flickbarn'. It sounds slighty unusual to me.

    Any thoughts?
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    After reading the article and a second listening I must agree it sounds better than spindelapskelett. Although, as a native speaker, I can't say the latter sounds completely unacceptable.
    I would agree. After all, we only pronounce one 's' phoneme in this case in fluent speech, since skelett starts with an s, so both versions would sound the same.

    Just a few comments. The word/lexeme 'apa' is not monosyllabic. However, the stem 'ap-' is both monomorphemic and monosyllabic. However, judging from your knowledgeable posts I am quite sure you already knew that.
    Darn! I should have proofread once more before submitting! :eek:Yes, monomorphemic is what I meant.

    You also mention that the number of syllables has an impact, but I cannot find anything in the article about that. The author writes that it's the number of morphemes of the first part that's important. Two counterexamples are:

    årstid (år is monosyllabic)
    sadelmakare (sadel is polysyllabic)

    Since most monosyllabic words are also monomorphemic (I cannot think of any that aren't), and most polysyllabic words are polymorphemic, there is obviously a correlation, between the number of syllables and the use of the interfix, but that correlation would be secondary and indirect.
    I would agree, of course, the number of morphemes is primary, and the number of syllables secondary. This was a somewhat sloppy sweeping statement where I was trying to cover any eventuality. The author does mention in passing bisyllabic morphemes ending with a vowel, which normally don't take the -s- interfix, so that's probably where the syllables came into the equation.

    Finally, I would also like to agree with you that the form spindelapeskelett would be unsuitable in a formal context.

    Recently, I was reading an article in Göteborgs-Posten where the journalist used the word 'flickebarn'. At first the -e- form struck me as dialectal, but after further introspection I concluded that it had a poetic/formal flavour in the context. So in my mind, the -e- forms can belong to several linguistic registers. I was also asking myself whether you could even use the form 'flickbarn'. It sounds slighty unusual to me.

    Any thoughts?
    I interpreted the -e- interfix as a trace of a historic genitive suffix other than -s-. It remains in modern Swedish in compounds like flickebarn and apekatt, but if you look in the SAOB(*), you'll find several other, now obsolete, compounds with flicke- and ape-, though most of the current compounds with flicka+noun or apa+noun are formed with flick- and ap- respectively. In addition, it lists flickbarn as obsolete, so apparently that variant has indeed existed!
    You mentioned årstid, which seems to have retained its historic genitive -s, and there are several other 'old' lexemes, many of which happen to be monosyllabic, which also did retain their original genitive suffix. So, in my world, the -e- interfix is historic rather than dialectal, although if some dialects still use it, it would now appear to be dialectal or rustic.

    (*)Svenska Akademiens Ordbok
     
    Last edited:

    Lars H

    Senior Member
    Hej

    Having read this thread, I don´t really get the arguments about words being mono- or poly- morphemic or syllabic. It doesn´t really make sense to me. I have thought more in line of the number of parts compounded in a word. Here are a few thoughts of mine:

    Compunded words built on two parts can be written both with interfix (as årstid, landsting, distriktschef) and without (bokhylla, födelsedag, övertalning). This regardless of number of syllables. Exactly what determines this is not clear. I have wondered if it is of any significance if it is the former or the latter part of the word that is “dominating”, but my best guess is that the language over the years have dropped all “two part words” interfixes except for those needed to facilitate pronouncing.

    A few examples: “Rättsråd, länsråd” vs. “borgarråd”, “regionchef” vs. “distriktschef” or “guldsmycke” vs. “smyckesguld”

    On the other hand, words built on three or more parts need at least one interfix to be precise. Although “vägstation” works fine without an interfix, “järnvägsstation“ does not. The interfix tells us it is a station for railroads, not a road station cast in iron. “Långtidsparkering”, “övertalningsförmåga”, “gräddfilssås” or “programvarulicens” are other examples, with few or many syllables, where the interfix adds precision. To contradict myself there is “fotbollförbundet”, but one could argue that the compounds “fotboll” and “förbund” are so self evident that they could be seen as single entities. Although I would prefer “fotbollsförbundet” myself…

    Am I completely lost in this?
     
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