Contrast in Context
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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The lexical typological profile of a language is a crosslinguistically valid characterization of its lexical structure with particular focus on basic features which are language-specific. The paper deals with basic mental verbs in Swedish from this perspective based on data from translation corpora against the background of available information about typological patterns. A brief sketch is given of language-specific characteristics of the nuclear verb se ‘see’ which is the primary equivalent of English see but is also frequently used as an equivalent of look used as an activity verb (look at) and as a phenomenon-based verb (e.g. look happy). The extensive pattern of polysemy of the verb känna ‘feel’ is dealt with in detail and turns out to have several language-specific characteristics even in comparison with closely related languages such as German and English. Swedish veta is shown to have a more restricted extension beyond its basic meaning than its primary English equivalent know. English in this case appears to represent a more common pattern than Swedish judging from available typological data. A major section is also devoted to the semantic differentiation between the three basic verbs of thinking tänka-tro-tycka which represents one of the major language-specific characteristics of Swedish mental verbs.


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