v31: inställd

I received an email last week that football training was inställd. Norstedts wasn’t very helpful:

  • vara inställd beredd på ngt be prepared for sth
  • vara inställd på att (+ inf.) a) be prepared to + inf. b) ämna intend to + inf.
  • vara sympatiskt inställd till ngt be sympathetic towards…
  • vänligt inställd favourably (kindly) disposed; jfr äv. inställa, ställa in

That is, not even a definition for inställd, just a series of set phrases to demonstrate usage.

Swedish has many compound verbs, that is, words formed by prefixing another word (which may be a noun, adjective, verb, or other prefix) onto a verb. To start with, I’m just looking at a group of prefixes called particles. There are inseparable particles, which are always prefixed, for example, tyda = to interpret, as in the online dictionary tyda.se. Add be- and you have betyda = to mean. Inseparable particles include:

an- anklaga to accuse
er- erbjuda to offer
sam- samarbeta to cooperate
van- vansköta to neglect

But there are also separable particles, such as:

sätta på to switch on
om tycka om to like
ihåg komma ihåg to remember

And some particles are used both ways, in which case, apparently, the separated form has the more concrete meaning:

Han strök under ordet.
He underlined the word.

Han underströk ordet.
He emphasised the word.

Lampan lyste upp rummet.
The lamp lit up the room.

Vi upplyste honom.
We enlightened him.

Which brings me back to inställd. It’s the past participle of inställa, a compound verb which is a cognate to the English verb install, but see if you can figure out the connection between inställa and the separated compound ställa in:

ställa in
to put in
ställa in bilen i garaget
put the car in the garage

inställa
to cancel
inställa förhandlingarna
discontinue negotiations

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Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 14:42  Comments (1)  
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  1. Hi, thank you for a great blog! I am a linguistics student and a native speaker of Swedish and have learned a lot about my own language from reading here. You are awfully correct in all I’ve read so far, but in this entry I have to say you got it slightly wrong on the particle verbs, let me explain:

    To cancel is ‘ställa in’ but in the passive the reversed, affixed word order is used and so you get your sentence about the canceled football training: “Fotbollsträningen är inställd” = “The football training is canceled”. This is a rule that goes for other particle verbs as well, for example ‘stänga av’ as in ‘jag stängde av spisen’ = I turned off the stove. ‘spisen blev avstängd (av mig)’ = the stove was turned off (by me).

    The only time ‘inställa’ appears as an infinitive is in the reflexive verb ‘inställa sig’; to turn up/appear (before a court, in an official scenario f.ex.). ‘Du ska inställa dig vid rätten imorgon’ = ‘you shall appear before the court tomorrow’.

    Just to confuse you a little more, there is the reflexive particle verb ‘ställa sig in’ meaning to ingratiate, used with the preposition ‘hos’ as in ‘du ska alltid ställa dig in hos mormor!’ = ‘you always ingratiate yourself with/suck up to grandma!’.

    bab.la lists ‘inställa’ as an infinitive of ‘to cancel, discontinue’ but I disagree and would say that it is bad Swedish to use the affixed form in any other than the passive.


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