Le journal d'Eric von Roland - aspects linguistiques

Anders Bengtsson


Eric Roland was born in Stockholm in 1675 and made a so-called Grand Tour in Europe in his youth. This was quite unusual for a person that did not belong to the Swedish aristocracy. He returned to Sweden in 1700, when he started a career as a secretary and a civil servant during the reign of Charles XII. He was ennobled at the end of his career in 1720 and spent the remains of his life at his wife’s manor Tolefors, Östergötland. He died in 1754.

During twenty years, he wrote a diary in French, which contains approximately 220 pages. The diary, which was discovered recently, is kept at the Upsala library Carolina Rediviva in the manuscript X370. It is an interesting witness of a period when French was the most important language in Europe and very important in Sweden due to its close relations to France and French culture.

In this article, two linguistic features in the diary will be examined. Firstly, I examine the borrowings from Swedish and other languages in the text. Even if Eric Roland has a high proficiency in French, he seems to use these words, probably because he does not know their  French counterparts. It is interesting to notice that some of the Swedish words coincide with the very first examples in the Swedish dictionary SAOB. Secondly, I examine the use of gender, which varies a lot in the text. This is a particularly salient feature and the question is if modern studies on second language acquisition could explain this use. Or is the variation in gender simply due to the way he learnt French in Upsala?



travel diary, Grand Tour, French, classic French, gender, second language, code-switching, borrowings

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Moderna språk - Institutionen för moderna språk - Box 636 - SE-751 26 UPPSALA
ISSN: 2000-3560