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Verb-first constructions as a syntactic and functional resource in (spoken) Swedish.

Journal article
Authors Jan Lindström
Susanna Karlsson
Published in Nordic Journal of Linguistics
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 1–35
ISSN 0332-5865
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 1–35
Language en
Keywords CA, functional analysis, Interactional Linguistics, natural language corpora, Swedish, V1
Subject categories Swedish language


This paper explores different syntactic variations and functional properties of clausal units that are initiated by the finite verb in Swedish.We focus on V1 constructions that are basically declarative in function, thus excluding interrogative, conditional and directive uses. Because V1 constructions, and particularly certain variants of them, are typical of spoken Swedish, our examples and analyses focus primarily on the usage in speaking. The V1 constructions studied include whole-utterance constructions in conversational sequences, utterance-internal extensions, and utterance-internal reshapings, such as syntactic blends. We will offer an analysis of (declarative) V1 constructions, which in some respects differs from analyses proposed by generative syntacticians or traditional grammarians. Our analysis of the constructional resource is discourse oriented. In this perspective, V1 constructions are analyzable as sequentially dependent, second, or ‘subsequent’moves, viz. units that can scarcely initiate a communicative project butwhich instead continue, extend or comment on an already initiated project. Thus, rather than analyzingV1 constructions as one type of ellipsis they could be seen as full-fledged clausal units whose existence is conditioned by their position in a discourse or utterance context. From a theoretical perspective, this paper is a contribution to an emerging dialogical or interactional model of (Swedish) grammar.

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