Possessive predicational vocatives in Scandinavian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Scandinavian is known to have vocative phrases that contain a possessive second person pronoun and a noun, and possibly also one or more adjectives, as in the Norwegian example din lille fjott, which means ‘you little dork’ although din is formally identical to the possessive pronoun for second person singular. In this paper, I will show that possessive predicational vocatives, as I call them, involve a predication which is parallel to ordinary predicational structures where the noun is marked with an indefinite determiner, as du er en liten fjott ‘you are a little dork’. The two constructions are semantically similar and place identical restrictions on nouns. It can also be shown that the pronominal element that appears in the possessive predicational vocative is not actually possessive. On my analysis this pronoun is the combined spellout of a pronominal element that is the subject of the predication and an indefinite element in the predicate. On this point, my analysis is closely related to earlier analyses of the construction, but it goes against analyses that take the noun in the possessive predicational vocative to be the subject of the predication underlyingly.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Languages


  • Evaluative, Possessive pronoun, Predicational vocative, Scandinavian
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-108
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch