Pseudocoordination in Swedish with gå ‘go’ and the “surprise effect”

Research output: Working paper


Pseudocoordination is a construction where two verbs or VPs appear to be conjoined by what looks like the conjunction och ‘and’. In my paper I focus on pseudocoordination with gå ‘walk, go’ as Verb 1, in particular cases where this has been claimed to give rise to a “surprise effect” (Wiklund 2005, 2008). I set out from the assumption that Verb 1 in pseudocoordination is a light verb, which, following Butt (2003, 2010), is assumed to be a special use of the corresponding main verb. I distinguish three different meaning variants of the main verb gå ‘walk, go’, and connect each of these to a particular type of pseudocoordination with gå as Verb 1. The “surprise effect” is associated with one of these, gåHAPPEN. The main verb gåHAPPEN assigns three theta-roles, one of them to quasi-argumental det, as in Det gick honom illa (it.N went him bad) ‘Things went bad for him’. As a light verb, gåHAPPEN can assign only two theta-roles; hence one argument, the EXPERIENCER, is “left over”, This situation triggers subjectification, meaning that the role is assigned to one of the speech participants, usually to the LOGOPHORIC AGENT (the speaker). The “surprise effect” is a pragmatic interpretation of this pattern of theta-role assignment, in a context where the subject is +HUMAN, hence exerting CONTROL.

As for the alleged conjunction och, pronounced [ɔ], I argue that it is a version of the infinitival marker att, which is also pronounced [ɔ]. The crucial difference is that it lacks tense.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • pseudocoordination, surprise effect, quasi-argument, subjectification, logophoric agent
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLunds universitet : Institutionen för nordiska språk
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameWorking Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
No.December 2014
ISSN (Print)1100-097X

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)