Cross Linguistic Variation in the Realm of Support Verbs

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


In this paper I investigate a particular case of cross-Germanic variation, namely a number of syntactic differences with respect to VP Topicalization, VP Ellipsis and VP Pronomi-nalization. Swedish and English turn out to be the two extremes, with Danish and Norwegaian in between; Icelandic is like Swedish, but lacks the possibility to topicalize VP.
Arguments are given for the analysis that the support verb is a spelled-out little v, and that VP Topicalization is a fronting of a √P. With respect to tense, there are two options for the root: it may lack tense features, or it may have an uninterpretable but valued tense feature; lit-tle v always has an uninterpretable but valued tense featur. The first option is chosen by Eng-lish, Danish and Norwegian, which among other things has the consequence that the fronted root phrase has a non-finite verb, and that these languages accept VP Ellipsis. The second op-tion is chosen by all the Scandinavian languages, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, and is compatible with VP Topicalization with a tensed verb in the fronted part, no VP Ellip-sis but VP Pronominalization.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Publication statusSubmitted - 2008
EventComparative Germanic Syntax Workshop - Edinburgh
Duration: 2008 Jun 122008 Jun 13


ConferenceComparative Germanic Syntax Workshop

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Swedish (015011001)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • Support verb
  • VP topicalization
  • VP Ellipsis
  • Scandinavian languages
  • VP Pronominalization
  • English


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