Word order in Scandinavian languages is currently more fixed than it was in earlier times. Specifically in declarative sentences the tensed verb is normally in second position. This has been interpreted as a evolution from morphological licensing to positional licensing. It is, however, not totally clear what is licensed positionally. Specifically wrt to the first position in declarative sentences: is it a subject licensing position or a topic licensing position or both?
Recent work has refined the generalizations that can be made but it has not yet led to a coherent overall approach.
In this workshop we want to address the following questions:
— which notion(s) are necessary to characterize Scandinavian word order constraints: discourse functions, event structure notions (e.g. thematic roles), syntactic functions (subject, object, adjunct), clausal structure, … ?
– what characterizes the preverbal position in Icelandic and Mainland Scandinavian? how do we account for systematic differences between the languages?
— can the preverbal position in Icelandic/Swedish be characterized in a unique way, i.e. in terms of one of the notions enumerated above?
— how do we characterize the evolution of word order in Scandinavian?
— how should frequency data interact with formal descriptions?
The focus will be on Icelandic as an insular and Swedish as a mainland Scandinavian language.