Position versus function in Scandinavian presentational constructions

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In some theoretical approaches, grammatical relations are assumed to be defined structurally, so that the crucial clue to the grammatical relation of an element is its position in the tree. Lexical Functional Grammar, in contrast, does not assume a universal one-to-one mapping between structural position and grammatical relation — though grammatical relations may well be defined structurally in some languages. This means that in languages which do not rely solely on structure, the grammatical relation of a particular element has to be established on grounds other than structure. In this paper, we look in particular at the association between postverbal position and objects. We consider postverbal noun phrases in an information-structurally marked construction in the Scandianvian languages, often referred to as the presentational construction. These postverbal noun phrases have been analysed as objects — largely on positional grounds — in transformational theories and also within LFG analyses. Analysing them as objects does, however, raise a number of problems, in particular in that they lack some crucial object properties and have some properties typical of subjects. In this paper, we provide evidence against an object analysis and formulate an analysis within which the postverbal noun phrase is a subject.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the LFG05 Conference
EditorsMiriam Butt, Tracy Holloway King
Place of PublicationStanford, CA
PublisherCSLI Publications
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Lexical-Functional Grammar Annual Conference 2005 - Bergen, Norway
Duration: 18 Jul 200521 Jul 2005


ConferenceInternational Lexical-Functional Grammar Annual Conference 2005
CityBergen, Norway


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