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The pragmatics and syntax of pronoun preposing: A study of spoken Swedish
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. Department of Swedish, University of Gothenburg, Box 200, SE-405 30, Gothenburg (SWE).
Department of Swedish, University of Gothenburg, Box 200, SE-405 30, Gothenburg (SWE).
2022 (English)In: Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, ISSN 1383-4924, E-ISSN 1572-8552, Vol. 25, p. 169-219Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Preposed pronouns have a dual role of both connecting the utterance to the context and serving as its starting point. While central to understanding restrictions on syntactic movement to the left periphery, this type of fronting has often been overlooked. We provide an analysis of the pragmatics and syntax of Swedish pronoun preposing based on a study of spontaneously produced spoken language from the Nordic Dialect Corpus. We find that there is a strong preference for preposing pronouns that function as switch topics and that it is also possible to prepose continued topics, but in neither case is the preposing obligatory. We argue that these sentence-external relations of the topic are not encoded in the syntax of the left periphery in Swedish, but reflect pragmatic strategies for discourse progression. The types of topic (switch or continued) are furthermore shown not to correlate with the prosodic realization of the pronoun. A key feature of our analysis is that we distinguish the sentence-external function of the preposed phrase from the sentence-internal function of providing the aboutness topic for the utterance. We adopt an analysis of the left periphery proposed by Holmberg, where FinP acts as a bottleneck, and there is only one, syncretic, Force-Topic head above Fin. The fact that we only see evidence for one topic position to the left of the subject in Swedish sets this language apart from German and Italian as they are analyzed by e.g. Frey and Frascarelli and Hinterhölzl, as does the fact that A′-movement of pronouns in Swedish does not imply any particular prosodic marking.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2022. Vol. 25, p. 169-219
Keywords [en]
movement, Continued topic, Left periphery, Mainland Scandinavian, Object shift, Preposing, Swedish, Switch topic, Topicalization
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-19157DOI: 10.1007/s10828-022-09136-wISI: 000846825400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85137027797OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-19157DiVA, id: diva2:1707385
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-06139
Note

 Open access funding provided by University of Gothenburg. This research was supported by an International Postdoc grant (Dnr. 2017-06139) from the Swedish Research Council awarded to the first author. Open access publication was made possible by the Sweden Read and Publish (Springer Compact) agreement.

Available from: 2022-10-31 Created: 2022-10-31 Last updated: 2022-10-31

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Lindahl, Filippa

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