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Perfekt vs. Imperfekt. Ein Vergleich zwischen dem Deutschen und dem Schwedischen.


  • Evelina Andersson

Summary, in English

This paper deals with a comparison between the German and the Swedish language concerning perfective and imperfective states and situations. My aim was to investigate the meaning of the tenses perfect and past tense in German and Swedish, and also the translation of the German perfect to the Swedish perfect or past tense.
To begin with, definitions of terms such as Aspekt, Aktionsart and Aspektualität are made. It is followed by explanations of the meaning of the tenses perfect and past tense both in German and Swedish. 70 examples of the German perfect have been picked out from the novel “Der Engel schwieg” (1992) by Heinrich Böll and have been compared to the Swedish translations in “Ängelns tystnad” (1994). Is the German perfect translated with the Swedish perfect or the past tense? What decides the choice of a certain tense? What decides the perfectivity or the imperfectivity of a situation? I take a closer look at adverbs, particles and other factors that decide the perfectivity or the imperfectivity of a verb.
Therefrom the following conclusions can be drawn: A verb in perfect does not necessarily have to be perfective and a verb in past tense does not necessarily have to be imperfective. The Swedish perfect is still closer to the perfective aspect than the German perfect, which in some cases can be used synonymously with the past tense. The Swedish past tense can be used to mark both perfective and imperfective situations, while the German past tense mostly defines imperfective situations. Perfectivity and imperfectivity vary from adverbs, particles and other factors given by the context of the situation.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Valéria Molnár