The Swedish modal auxiliary ska/skall seen through its English translations
Cover for BeLLs vol. 9, issue 1


parallel corpus

How to Cite

Aijmer, Karin. 2018. “The Swedish Modal Auxiliary Ska/Skall Seen through Its English Translations”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 9 (1).


The Swedish modal auxiliary ska/ll is interesting typologically because it is highly multifunctional with different functions in the systems of tense and modality. The aim of the paper is to investigate the translations of ska/ll into English as a methodology to throw light on its multifunctionality and the linguistic and extralinguistic factors determining its usage as a marker of obligation. The translations with must and the imperative point to the performative uses of ska/ll such as commands and orders. However, the translations also show that ska/ll is involved in offers, recommendations, suggestions, advice where the strength of imposition has been weakened. Other translations reveal more unexpected uses of ska/ll, for example to express negative evaluation if the context of the utterance could be interpreted as emotional or argumentative. The translations also draw attention to linguistic and non-linguistic factors aiding to distinguish functions of ska/ll (or choosing a particular translational correspondence).

Copyright (c) 2018 Karin Aijmer

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).

Bergen Open Access Publishing