Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I am a doctoral student in the Scandinavian languages with a MA in Swedish linguistics taken at Lund University. I have also studied literature, women's studies, French and English among other subjects at the University of Gothenburg. My research interest is mainly in language change, both synchronic and diachronic change, including various topics: grammar, semantics, sociolinguistics and historical linguistics with special reference to Swedish. My thesis project will investigate Swedish impersonal pronouns in a historical perspective.


About the research

My thesis project will investigate the Swedish impersonal/generic pronouns "man", "en" and "ens" as well as the personal pronoun "du", which in modern Swedish as well as in earlier times can be used as an impersonal pronoun in certain contexts in the same fashion as the English impersonal pronoun "you". My interest lies in how these pronouns are used today and how they have been used in the history of Swedish.

The swedish pronoun "man" has developed out of the noun "man" ('(a) man') in the same way as for example the French indefinite pronoun "on" (from latin "homo", 'human'). This change could probably be described as a process of grammaticalization, even though language contact (mainly with German) is probably also involved in the process. My aim is to investigate this change to develop an understanding of how such processes come about. The fact that there exists seemingly similar impersonal pronouns in Germanic languages closely related to Swedish (for example in German, Icelandic and West-Frisian), which are all used in slightly different manners, is also an interesting topic I hope I will be able to look into more thoroughly.

Research portal (Lund University)


Sanna Skärlund

Doctoral Student
Centre for Languages and Literature

Contact information

E-mail sanna.skarlundnordlund.luse

Phone +46 46 222 87 05

Room SOL:L311

Visiting address Helgonabacken 12, Lund

Postal address Box 201, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 20