Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I defended my PhD-thesis in the Scandinavian languages in November 2017 at Lund University. The topic of the thesis is how generic pronouns have developed in the history of Swedish. I am interested in everything related to the Swedish language and languages in general, but I am especially fascinated by language change, including various topics: grammar, semantics, sociolinguistics and historical linguistics. At present I work with a project concerning intertextuality in Swedish newspapers, analysing how much the newspapers quote and borrow from each other.


About the research

My thesis project investigated the Swedish impersonal/generic pronouns "man" and "en" 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". I was interested 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) might also have been involved in the process. The thesis project investigated this change as well as the changes undergone by "en" and "du" to develop an understanding of how grammaticalization-processes come about.


Books (1)
Articles (7)
Book chapters (3)

Research portal (Lund University)

Sanna Skärlund

Researcher, Senior Lecturer
Centre for Languages and Literature

Contact information

E-mail sanna.skarlundnordlund.luse

Visiting address Helgonabacken 12, Lund

Postal address Box 201, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 20