Svensk brevkultur på 1800-talet : Språklig och kommunikationsetnografisk analys av en familjebrevväxling
Sammanfattning: In this dissertation, I examine the correspondence of an upper middle-class family from the early part of the nineteenth century. My aim is to answer questions about correspondence and letter-writing as an everyday event and as a social activity. My principal theoretical framework has been ethnograpy of communication. My main source is the Eurén-Snellman manuscript collection at Uppsala University Library (UUB, G65). The central figure of this collection is Axel Eurén (1803−1879), who was a clergyman in Dalarna and also a member of the Swedish parliament. The material expands over three generations and includes Axel, his mother, his sister, his wife and Axel’s and his wife Sophie’s three children. In each generation the letter-writing is reciprocal in nearly all relations.By creating a database of the 2,267 letters that remain from the family correspondence and by extracting meta-commentary about letter-writing I have studied how the family organized their correspondence. From the total collection I have chosen 293 letters during the period 1825−1858. These letters constitute a digitalized corpus that consists of approximately 160,000 words. With this corpus as my principal source, I have examined two different aspects of language use: a structural analysis of each writer’s total sum of letters and a study on address. Certain findings confirm that letter-writing was based on routine. Traits of orality appear less often in the latter part of the material, a result that is in line with earlier investigations.The dimension of formal−informal language has been interesting to examine in relation to gender. Whereas the women’s writing at a lexico-grammatical level is more informal and natural in style, their need to portray themselves in a virtuous Christian manner seems at the same time to promote a certain kind of formality in expression. The opposite seems to be true for the men.
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