"Disagreeing" pronominal reference in Swedish and the interplay between formal and semantic gender

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Abstract

This paper investigates two types of apparent disagreement phenomena in Swedish: cross-sentential reference when a pronoun and its antecedent seem to disagree in formal gender (and sometimes also in number), and "topic doubling", i.e. when a clause initial noun phrase is doubled by a pronoun that appears to have a different formal gender (and sometimes also number) specification. In order to explain the apparent disagreement, the feature set-up of the four non-plural 3(rd) person pronouns is examined. It is argued that Swedish has two versions of the 3(rd) person pronouns det (it.neut) 'it' and den (it.common) 'it', one referential pronoun (R-pronoun) and one syntactic pronoun (S-pronoun). S-pronouns make reference to linguistic entities, whereas R-pronouns link directly to discourse entities. It is also argued that the R-pronoun dot (it.neuter) 'it', which is used in the two "disagreement" constructions, is 'deficient and lacks a number feature. A four-way semantic gender system is proposed, each gender corresponding to a pronoun. It is proposed that formal gender features are not present in the narrow syntax, but added post-syntactically. The role of formal gender is to render visible the presence or absence of other features, in particular number. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature

Keywords

  • Topic, Anaphoric pronouns, Disagreement, Formal gender, Semantic gender, doubling, Cross-sentential reference
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2095-2120
JournalLingua
Volume120
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

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