Från person till person : Avvecklingen av nordisk personkongruens ur ett diakront typologiskt perspektiv

Sammanfattning: This thesis presents a study of the loss of person agreement in the Nordic languages from a diachronic typological perspective. The main purpose is to investigate the following question: When verbal person agreement is lost in a language, and up to six forms are reduced to one, which form will be the one remaining—and why?The study takes a comprehensive approach, covering three major angles: a general linguistic one, a diachronic Nordic one, and a synchronic dialectological Southwestern Swedish one. From the general linguistic angle, cross-linguistic aspects of verbal morphology are examined in order to establish general tendencies that are relevant for the loss of person agreement. From the diachronic Nordic angle, studies of the development of person agreement in the various Nordic languages are carried out. From the synchronic dialectological angle, case studies of the use of plural-coded morphology in traditional dialects of Southwestern Sweden are conducted in order to shed light on the loss of person agreement in linguistic varieties where such morphology existed, but was no longer stable in the grammatical system.The results suggest that the loss of person agreement in the Nordic languages cannot be linked to a specific innovation wave, but rather depends on social factors, as loss is concentrated in demographically and administratively central regions. They also suggest that horizontally and vertically motivated processes of morphological change are fundamentally different, which supports the notion that a language shift between traditional and modern dialects was occurring around the turn of the 20th century. Morphologically, forms encoding 3rd person and singular tend to replace those coding for other persons and numbers during the process of loss. It is suggested that 3rd person is uncoded for the category of person, and that singular is uncoded for the category of number. This means that loss of person and number agreement entails loss of morphology with overt coding for person and number, and that the form remaining is the one lacking such coding in the first place. The thesis also highlights the particular relation between the subject and the finite verb, as the results suggest that there is an intrinsic connection between person-coded verbal endings and corresponding subject pronouns.