Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-cfpbc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-19T13:22:16.764Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The pronominal psychological demonstrative in Scandinavian: Its syntax, semantics and pragmatics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2008

Janne Bondi Johannessen*
Department of Linguistics and Nordic Studies, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1102 Blindern, 0317 Oslo,
Get access


The paper describes and discusses a demonstrative that has received little attention in the literature. The demonstrative can be found in many of the Scandinavian languages and dialects, and seems to be most frequent and widespread in the mainland Scandinavian languages. It has the same phonological form as third-person singular pronouns, and can be used only with nouns and have human (or human-like) specific reference. From a deictic perspective, the demonstrative is interesting because its conditions of use are linked to what I call psychological distance. Syntactically, it is also interesting because it has different characteristics in the different languages; in Norwegian and Icelandic it can be argued to be part of the DP, while the empirical facts of Swedish and Danish suggest that the psychologically distal demonstrative is DP-external in these languages.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



NoTa – Norsk talespråkskorpus-Oslodelen – Modern Oslo Norwegian speech Scholar
TAUS – Talemålsundersøkelsen i Oslo – 1970s Oslo speech Scholar


Aksu-Koç, Ayhan & Slobin, Dan. 1986. A psychological account of the development and use of the evidentials in Turkish. In Chafe, Wallace & Nichols, Johanna (eds.), Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of Epistemology. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
Brown, Penelope & Levinson, Stephen C.. 1978. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Delsing, Lars-Olof. 1993. The Internal Structure of Noun Phrases in the Scandinavian Languages. Ph.D. dissertation, Lund University.Google Scholar
Delsing, Lars-Olof. 2003. Syntaktisk variation i nordiska nominalfraser. In Vangsnes, Øystein Alexander, Holmberg, Anders & Delsing, Lars-Olof (eds.), Dialektsyntaktiska studier av den nordiska nominalfrasen, 1164. Oslo: Novus Press.Google Scholar
Dyvik, Helge J. J. 1979. Omkring fremveksten av artiklene i norsk. Maaal og Minne 1–2, 4078.Google Scholar
Enç, Mürvet. 1991. The semantics of specificity. Linguistic Inquiry 22, 125.Google Scholar
Faarlund, Jan Terje. 2000. Totenmålet. Kapp: Østre Toten kommune, Kulturetaten.Google Scholar
Faarlund, Jan Terje, Vannebo, Kjell Ivar & Lie, Svein. 1997. Norsk Referansegrammatikk. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
Fretheim, Thorstein & Amfo, Nana Aba Appiah. 2005. Reference, determiners and descriptive content. Working Papers ISK 2, 87112. Trondheim: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).Google Scholar
Hovdenak, Marit (ed.). 2006. Nynorskordboka: Definisjons- og rettskrivingsordbok. Oslo: Samlaget.Google Scholar
Iversen, Rengvald. 1918. Syntaksen i Tromso bymaal: En kort oversigt. Kristiania: Bymaales-laget.Google Scholar
Johannessen, Janne Bondi. 1998. Coordination. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johannessen, Janne Bondi. 2006. Just any pronoun anywhere? Pronouns and ‘new’ demonstratives in Norwegian. In Solstad, Torgrim, Grønn, Atle & Haug, Dag (eds.), A Festschrift for Kjell Johan Sæbø in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Celebration of his 50th Birthday, 90106. Oslo: Unipub.Google Scholar
Johannessen, Janne Bondi. 2007. Den psykologisk distale demonstrativen i skandinavisk. In Arboe, Torbew (ed.), Nordisk dialektologi og sociolingvistik: Foredrag på 8. Nordiske Dialektologkonference, Århus 2006, 217226. Århus: Peter Skautrup Centret for Jysk Dialektforskning.Google Scholar
Johannessen, Janne Bondi. 2008. Psykologiske demonstrativer. In Johannessen, & Hagen, (eds.), 63–77.Google Scholar
Johannessen, Janne Bondi & Hagen, Kristin (eds.). 2008. Språk i Oslo: Ny forskning omkring talespråk. Oslo: Novus Forlag.Google Scholar
Josefsson, Gunlög. 1994. Scandinavian pronouns and object shift. In van Riemsdijk, Henk & Hellan, Lars (eds.), Clitics: Their Origin, Status, and Position (Eurotyp Working Papers 6), 91122. Tilburg: Katholieke Universiteit Brabant.Google Scholar
Josefsson, Gunlög. 1999. On the semantics of Scandinavian pronouns and object shift. In van Riemsdijk, Henk (ed.), Clitics in the Languages of Europe, 731760. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Josefsson, Gunlög. 2005. Semantic and grammatical genders in Swedish – independent but interacting dimensions. Lingua 116 (9), 13461368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Julien, Marit. 2005. Nominal Phrases from a Scandinavian Perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laake, Signe. 2007. Nomenfrasen i norrønt og norsk. En diakron analyse. Master's thesis, Department of Linguistics and Nordic Studies, University of Oslo.Google Scholar
Lakoff, Robin. 1974. Remarks on this and that. In LaGaly, Michael, Fox, Robert A. & Bruck, Anthony (eds.), The Tenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 10), 345–356.Google Scholar
Levinson, Stephen C. 1983. Pragmatics (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lie, Svein. 2008. Veldig sånn festejente. In Johannessen, & Hagen, (eds.), 78–95.Google Scholar
Lødrup, Helge. 1982. De og dem i dialekten på Oslo vestkant. Norskrift 37, 5458.Google Scholar
Strahan, Tania. 2007. The specific article in Norwegian. Ms., University of Iceland.Google Scholar
Satoko, Suzuki (ed.). 2006. Emotive Communication in Japanese. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Svennevig, Jan. 1995. Skriftlig og muntlig språk. In Svennevig, Jan, Sandvik, Margareth & Vagle, Wenche (eds.), Tilnærminger til tekst: Modeller for språklig tekstanalyse, 17–54. Oslo: Cappelen Akademisk Forlag/LNU.Google Scholar
Svenonius, Peter. 2004. On the edge. In Adger, David, de Cat, Céciile & Tsoulas, George. Peripheries: Syntactic Edges and their Effects, 261287. Kluwer: Dordrecht.Google Scholar
Teleman, Ulf, Hellberg, Staffan & Andersson, Erik. 1999. Svenska Akademins grammatik. Stockholm: Norstedts Akademiska Förlag.Google Scholar
van Geenhoven, Veerle. 1998. Semantic Incorporation and Indefinite Descriptions: Semantic and Syntactic Aspects of Noun Incorporation in West Greenlandic. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Vangsnes, Øystein Alexander. 1999. The Identification of Functional Architecture. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Bergen.Google Scholar
Vik, Gurdun Dahler & Killingbergtrø, Laurits. 2002. Dictionary entry han. Norsk Ordbok IV. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget.Google Scholar
Wangensteen, Boye (ed.). 2005. Bokmålsordboka: Definisjons- og rettskrivingsordbok. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget.Google Scholar