There is No OBJECT SHIFT, just GENERAL SHIFT, and Independent Constraining Principles


  • Gunlög Josefsson Lund University


There is a propensity in many languages for elements that represent backgrounded and/or given information to show up in the middle field, a tendency that I term SHIFT. In this paper I argue that Object Shift and the raising of certain adverbials to the middle field in Swedish is due to this gen-eral propensity. SHIFT applies across the board, but language-specific principles, such as Constituent Order Rules, may block its application. An example of a reordering restriction is that an operation must not result in a constituent order for which the phonological module cannot supply a prosodic pat-tern, for example an OV pattern in a VO language. Another restriction is that a reordering operation must not result in a violation of the Case filter. Holmberg‟s generalization (cf. Holmberg 1999) does not describe a restriction on Object Shift per se, but is a consequence of a more general rule which states that VO-languages (such as the Scandinavian languages) do not allow an OV constituent order in the IP-VP domain.