In defense of a language error


  • Thórhallur Eythórsson University of Iceland



The verb valda ‘cause’ in Icelandic standardly has the past participle/supine valdið, but an alternative form is ollið (ollað). This verb governs dative case with objects, which is preserved in passive in standard Icelandic. However, in a few examples, nominative is found instead, in which case an inflected form of the participle shows up (ollnar), agreeing with the nominative sub-ject of the passive clause. Such instances can be understood on the pre-sumption that the speakers in question not only have the alternative form of the participle, but also substitute nominative for dative in passive (by Nominative Sickness). In this article I look at examples of the intuitively ill-formed form ollnar, and discuss its possible emergence. As it turns out, structures involving this form are completely “grammatical” in light of some morphological and morphosyntactic changes in Icelandic.