LINGUIST List 24.2296

Tue Jun 04 2013

Diss: Phonetics, Phonology, Syntax, Pragmatics, Semantics: Hosono: 'Object Shift in the Scandinavian Languages'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 04-Jun-2013
From: Mayumi Hosono <>
Subject: Object Shift in the Scandinavian Languages: Syntax, information structure, and intonation
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Institution: Leiden University Centre for Linguistics Program: Linguistics Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2013

Author: Mayumi Hosono

Dissertation Title: Object Shift in the Scandinavian Languages: Syntax, information structure, and intonation

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics                             Linguistic Theories                             Phonetics                             Phonology                             Pragmatics                             Semantics                             Syntax
Dissertation Director:
Johan E.C.V. Rooryck Anders Holmberg Vincent J. van Heuven
Dissertation Abstract:

Scandinavian Object Shift is a movement phenomenon where a weak, unstressed
object pronoun moves across a sentential adverb. An object pronoun can move
only when verb movement takes place (Holmberg’s Generalization). No
movement phenomenon other than Object Shift in which movement of a
sentential element is dependent on that of another sentential element has
been found. Due to this property, Object Shift has long been one of the
most controversial issues in generative syntax.

The thesis discusses the constructions relevant to Object Shift from the
intonational perspective, by presenting experimental data from all the
Scandinavian languages. It is shown that downstep typically occurs in the
Object Shift construction but does not occur in the constructions where
Object Shift cannot occur. A new hypothesis on Scandinavian Object Shift is
presented: the object pronoun moves to cause downstep. Holmberg’s
Generalization is accounted for as follows: When main verb movement takes
place, an object pronoun moves and causes downstep to eliminate a focal
effect on the sentential element(s) after the main verb. In the
environments in which downstep must not occur, i.e. in the constructions
where the final pitch peak occurs on the (in-situ) main verb, Object Shift
does not occur either.

It is also shown that whether Object Shift is obligatory, optional or
absent depends on whether a Scandinavian variety at issue has an early or
delayed pitch gesture. A new generalization on Object Shift is presented:
the earlier the pitch gesture occurs, the more likely is Object Shift to
occur; the more delayed the pitch gesture is, the more likely is Object
Shift to be absent. Object Shift is thus not a dichotomous property, i.e.
either present or absent, but a gradient phenomenon in the Scandinavian

This thesis targets researchers of various fields of linguistics,
(generative) syntax, information structure, and experimental phonetics.

Page Updated: 04-Jun-2013