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Etableringen av ha-bortfall i svenskan. Från kontaktfenomen till inhemsk konstruktion.

Doctoral thesis
Authors Linnéa Bäckström
Date of public defense 2020-01-24
ISBN 978-91-87850-76-9
Publisher Göteborgs universitet
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Swedish
Language sv
Keywords temporal auxiliary omission, perfect, pluperfect, contact linguistics, grammatical replication, analogical extension, syntactic change, subordinate clauses
Subject categories Swedish language


This thesis presents an investigation into the causes surrounding the emergence and spread of temporal auxiliary verb omission in Swedish. In modern Swedish, certain finite auxiliary verbs can be elided in the perfect and the pluperfect in subordinate clauses. Furthermore, the auxiliary verb in non-finite perfects can be omitted (subject to a number of restrictions) in three different classes of non-finite clause. At the end of the 17th century, auxiliary verb omission spread rapidly in all types of subordinate clause. It has been suggested in previous research that this might be the result of the influence of German. The emergence and spread of non-finite auxiliary verb omission has not been previously examined. Traditionally, it has been suggested that omission of the non-finite auxiliary verb was a grammatical feature of the language since the Old Swedish period. In this thesis, I report on two different studies. In the first, I investigated the course of events outlining the spread of finite auxiliary verb omission during the Early Modern Swedish period. In the second study, I examined the occurrence of infinitive perfects in Old- and Early Modern Swedish. Additionally, I searched for instances of auxiliary verb omission in those very constructions. The results of the study of the finite auxiliary verbs were in agreement with previous studies in this area of grammar, as expected. The results of the study of the non-finite verb forms, however, were not anticipated: non-finite auxiliary verb omission spread throughout the language only after the finite auxiliary verb omission was already established. Taking these results into consideration, I assume that finite auxiliary verb omission emerged in Swedish due to the process of grammatical replication from New High German. The (optional) possibility of auxiliary verb omission then spread to infinitival clauses by analogical extension. A number of consequences of auxiliary omission are the emergence of the supine, a specific perfect participle form which differs in form and meaning from the past participle and the loss of temporal auxiliary verb form vara, ‘be’.

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