Article published in:In Search of Universal Grammar: From Old Norse to Zoque
Edited by Terje Lohndal
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 202] 2013
► pp. 27–50
Spurious topic drop in Swedish
Like English, Swedish is a language with obligatory subjects in finite clauses. One of the exceptions to the rule that the subject must be pronounced is found when the subject is Topic dropped from sentence initial position, resulting in a V1 declarative with no visible subject. Since Topic drop in Swedish also involves dropping from first position of objects and complements of prepositions, it cannot be analyzed as a subject property per se. In this paper I will argue that null subjects may be due to a specific kind of Topic drop, here called spurious Topic drop, since deletion does not effect the left most element of the clause. As I will show, there are a number of instances in Swedish that can be subsumed under the rubric spurious Topic drop. In all cases, a subject is missing despite the fact that it is not in the leftmost position. As will be shown, spurious Topic drop is also found in relative clauses and in subject-first main clauses.
Published online: 17 January 2013