Verb-first constructions as a syntactic and functional resource in (spoken) Swedish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


This paper explores different syntactic variations and functional properties of clausal
units that are initiated by the finite verb in Swedish. We focus on V1 constructions that are
basically declarative in function, thus excluding interrogative, conditional and directive
uses. Because V1 constructions, and particularly certain variants of them, are typical of
spoken Swedish, our examples and analyses focus primarily on the usage in speaking.
The V1 constructions studied include whole-utterance constructions in conversational
sequences, utterance-internal extensions, and utterance-internal reshapings, such as
syntactic blends. We will offer an analysis of (declarative) V1 constructions, which in
some respects differs from analyses proposed by generative syntacticians or traditional
grammarians. Our analysis of the constructional resource is discourse oriented. In this
perspective, V1 constructions are analyzable as sequentially dependent, second, or
‘subsequent’ moves, viz. units that can scarcely initiate a communicative project but which
instead continue, extend or comment on an already initiated project. Thus, rather than
analyzing V1 constructions as one type of ellipsis they could be seen as full-fledged clausal
units whose existence is conditioned by their position in a discourse or utterance context.
From a theoretical perspective, this paper is a contribution to an emerging dialogical or
interactional model of (Swedish) grammar.


  • Jan Lindström
  • Susanna Karlsson
External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • CA, functional analysis, Interactional Linguistics, natural language corpora, Swedish, V1
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-131
JournalNordic Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

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)