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Academic Paper

Title: Introduction: Case variation and change in the Nordic languages
Author: Jeffrey K. Parrott
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: LANCHART Center, University of Copenhagen
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Shortly after arriving in Copenhagen five years ago, I realized what many linguists have long understood: the case situation in the Nordic languages is formidably complex. Of course, the broad outlines of inter-speaker (or, cross-linguistic) variation in Nordic nominal case inflection are well known. Within two major language families, (North) Germanic and Uralic, there are dozens of closely related language varieties. The Finnic and Sami languages of Uralic have adpositional case systems, while the North Germanic languages can be further subdivided into the Mainland and Insular groups, partially on the basis of their different case systems. The latter group, namely Icelandic, Faroese, and Älvdalian (which is spoken in a fairly isolated rural community in the interior of Sweden), has ‘rich’ inflectional case morphology on a range of elements comprising nominal phrases, including articles, determiners, demonstratives, nouns, pronouns, wh-words, and more. The former group, namely Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, are ‘case-poor’, maintaining only a vestige of their historically rich case morphology on a subset of personal pronouns, which have Nominative, Oblique, and Possessive forms. Furthermore, certain varieties of Swedish and Norwegian retain vestigial Dative forms of clitic pronouns.


This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 35, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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