Conference article

Hög-låg. En diskussion kring två dimensionsadjektivs semantik

Anna Ström

Download article

Published in: Svenskans beskrivning 24. Förhandlingar vid Tjugofjärde sammankomsten för svenskans beskrivning

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 6:23, p. 267-264

Show more +

Published: 2001-01-25


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper concerns the semantics of two Swedish dimensional adjectives: hög high and låg low. The data was collected from a corpus of Swedish novels (B80-81); and the method of intuition has been used as a complement.

The main questions at issue were:

If an object is called hög high or låg low; what dimension is regarded?

When are the adjectives hög high and låg low avoided for describing the vertical dimension; either in favour of the adjectives lång long and kort short; which is the case for objects like curtains; or in favour of the adjectives tjock thick or tunn thin; which is the case for objects like a sheet of paper?

The results showed that if an object is called hög high or låg low; the dimension being regarded is vertical. The dimension can either be actually vertical or canonically vertical (the latter is the case for an upright object that has been tilted temporarily). Further; hög high and låg low are avoided if there is no mental conception that the described object has a direction upwards. Three-dimensional objects; that are comprehended as having primarily only two dimensions; like a sheet of paper; are called tjock thick or tunn thin instead of hög high or låg low; if there occurs a need to talk about the third dimension. Objects that hang down; like curtains; are called lång long or kort short instead of hög high or låg low. Objects; whose shape and function do not encourage us to distinguish the vertical dimension from the horizontal one; like a pipe lying on the ground; are not called hög high or låg low either.


No keywords available


Bierwisch; Manfred; 1967; ’Some semantic universals of German Adjectivals’; I: Foundations of language 3 s 1-36

Clark; Herbert; 1973; ’Space; time; semantics; and the child’; I: T Moore; Cognitive Development and the acquisition of language; New York San Francisco London; Academic Press

Dirven; René and John R Taylor; 1998; Conceptualization of vertical space in English; I: B Rudzka-Ostyn (red); Topics in cognitive linguistics; s 380-402; Amsterdam; John Benjamins

Fillmore; Charles; 1997; Lextures on Deixis; Stanford; CSLI Publications

Leech; Geoffrey N; 1969; Towards a Semantic description of English; London and Harlow; Longmans; Green and Co Ltd

Citations in Crossref