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Presentational sentences in Icelandic and Swedish: Roles and positions

Magazine article
Authors Elisabet Engdahl
Joan Maling
Halldór Ármann Sigurdsson
Annie Zaenen
Published in Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
Volume 101
Pages 1–28
ISSN 1100-097x
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 1–28
Language en
Keywords Icelandic, Swedish, Scandinavian syntas, existential, presentational, theta roles, argument structure
Subject categories General Language Studies and Linguistics


In this article we report on a systematic comparison of presentational sentences in Icelandic and Swedish, looking in particular at possible thematic roles of the pivot and how they correlate with positional options. Despite some well-known differences between the languages (only Icelandic allows ‘high’ IP-pivots and pivots with transitive verbs), it turns out that the restrictions on VP-pivots are similar, both in terms of roles and positions. VP-pivots have to be Themes and may co-occur with other DPs, but only if the pivot is the last DP argument. We show how these restrictions to some extent reflect the argument structure proposed in Platzack (2010). In addition we show that we need to distinguish presentational sentences among the different Transitive Expletive Constructions discussed in Håkansson (2017).

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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