Variation in Mainland Scandinavian Object Shift: A Prosodic Analysis

Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Gunlög Josefsson, Björn Köhnlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite decades of research, debate continues over the analysis of Object Shift in Mainland Scandinavian, and all syntactic and information-structural accounts have run into empirical and/or conceptual problems. We argue that this debate can be resolved by recognizing that Object Shift is, in fact, a prosodic phenomenon. Our analysis builds on the observation that varieties with optional Object Shift (most Swedish dialects, South Danish dialects (e.g., Ærø)) also have a tone accent contrast. The in-situ word order in these varieties is licensed because tonal accent creates a prosodic domain that makes the incorporation of weak pronouns possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-746
Number of pages36
JournalLinguistic Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Nov 2021


  • Adverb alignment
  • Dialect variation
  • Holmberg’s Generalization
  • Object Shift
  • Optionality
  • Syntax-prosody interface
  • Tone accent contrast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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