v37: kyssas

Following on from the previous post, what do you think of the following:

Ida met Lars.

It’s clear that Ida is the subject and Lars the object, but what about the semantic roles? If Ida and Lars are meeting each other, it’s difficult to assign agent and patient roles to one or the other:

Ida and Lars met (each other).

Verbs such as this are reciprocal verbs, and it’s simple enough (because of what we know about grammatical voice) to see the connection with passives. And in fact, Swedish does use the s-form of the verb for reciprocal constructions:

Ida and Lars meet every Monday.
Ida och Lars träffas varje måndag.

But compare this very similar expression, which uses the plain form of the verb:

Ida and Lars meet each other every Monday.
Ida och Lars träffar varandra varje måndag.

Reciprocal verbs include träffas (meet), enas (agree), kramas (hug), höras (be in touch), kyssas (kiss), brottas (wrestle), and slåss (fight). A particularly common expression involves ses:

Vi ses (senare / på måndag)!
See you (later / on Monday)!

There are s-forms for the infinitive, present, past, and supine. In most but not all cases they are formed by adding -s to the corresponding plain form of the verb. For example, here is the conjugation paradigm for kyssa/kyssas, a type IIb verb:

plain s-form
infinitive kyssa kyssas
present kysser kysses
past kysste kysstes
supine kysst kyssts

I hope you’re getting to understand (and maybe even like) s-forms, because there’s more to come. Vi ses!

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Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 16:36  Leave a Comment  
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