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An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker

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Volume 44, Issue 1


Some aspects of topicalization in active Swedish declaratives: a quantitative corpus study

Matti Rahkonen
Published Online: 2006-04-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2006.002


In Swedish declaratives, clause-initial NP Fin NP … strings are structurally ambiguous. Though the prefinite argument NP normally occupies the role of the subject, in some circumstances the interpretation OVS is preferred over the basic SVO word order. Thus, the initial NP can also be analyzed as a nonsubject, that is, as a direct or indirect object, the object of a preposition, a predicate noun, or a predicate adjective. In this article, the consequences of this ambiguity for the production of NP Fin NP … sequences are studied. More specifically, the influence of word order, inflectional morphology, content factors, and anaphoric reference on the topicalization of nonsubject NPs in two written corpora are discussed. A necessary condition for the production of an OVS structure is that the NP Fin NP … string cannot be interpreted as an SVO structure. In the analyzed texts, formal markers have only a weak correlation with the occurrence of OVS sequences as compared to the effect of meaning. A further factor influencing the probability of an OVS order is the textual continuity of the nonsubject NP. Most of the topicalized nonsubjects in the corpora are NPs referring to an antecedent in the left context.

About the article

Received: 2002-01-08

Revised: 2004-01-21

Published Online: 2006-04-24

Published in Print: 2006-01-26

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 44, Issue 1, Pages 23–55, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2006.002.

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