Enclitic subjects and agreement inflection in Viskadalian Swedish

  • Erik M. Petzell Institute for Language and Folklore, Gothenburg


In this article, I describe the subject clitics of the traditional Swedish dialect in Viskadalen; I refer to this variety as “Viskadalian”. The Viskadalian subject clitcs are prosodically dependent on a verbal host to their left; thus, they occur only with VS word order. In most cases, it is the clitic that conveys the reference of the subject (kan=ik, ‘can.prs.sg=I’, kan=et, ‘can.prs.sg=it’). However, when the verb is inflected for both number and person, Viskadalian uses the seemingly meaningless clitic ä: fing-em=ä, ‘get.pst.pl-1pl=ä’, så-st, ‘see.pst-2sg=ä’. I argue that the clitic ä is not a pure expletive but in fact represents a partially reduced phi-feature bundle: it is a pronominal version, as it were, of such partially reduced verbal agreement endings in VS contexts that have been attested in many Germanic varieties.