Zero expression of arguments in Old Danish

Lars Heltoft

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    Old Scandinavian (represented here by Old Danish) allowed zero arguments (null-arguments) in any nominal (argument) position, that is: for NPs as subjects, objects and in PPs. In generative grammar, zero arguments are held to be variants of pronouns, but in this article, I shall claim that zero arguments in Scanic are semantically different from pronouns, and therefore pronouns and zero arguments are not variants. At one level, zero arguments and pronouns are similar with respect to function, namely to supply means for establishing co-reference in text; however, they are not semantically equivalent. By reducing these two categories to one single underlying category, such as pro, one would miss this point. On the contrary, zero arguments are arguably full-bodied signs with their own content, thus corresponding to Melčuk’s Zero Sign Introduction Principle.
    TidsskriftActa Linguistica Hafniensia: International Journal of Linguistics
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)169-191
    Antal sider23
    StatusUdgivet - 2014


    • zero arguments
    • null arguments
    • Old Danish
    • Melcuks principle
    • recoverability
    • pronoun
    • valence

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