Elisabet Engdahl

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Elisabet Engdahl
Elisabet Britt Engdahl

1949 (age 72–73)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Gothenburg
Stanford University
University of Edinburgh
ThesisThe Syntax and Semantics of Questions in Swedish
Doctoral advisorBarbara Partee
Doctoral studentsSue Sentance[1]

Elisabet Britt Engdahl (born 1949 in Stockholm) is a Swedish linguist and professor emerita (see: Emeritus) of Swedish at the University of Gothenburg. She was the first linguist to investigate parasitic gaps[2] in detail.


After having completed an MA at Uppsala University, she was awarded a studentship from the Sweden-America Foundation and pursued graduate studies in general linguistics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She received her PhD in 1980 for her dissertation on the Syntax and Semantics of Questions in Swedish,[3] supervised by Barbara Partee.[4][5]

Career and research[edit]

She was a Sloan postdoctoral fellow in Cognitive Science at Stanford University, a research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for psycholinguistics at Nijmegen and at Lund University, and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Between 1986 and 1995, she served as a reader at the Centre for Cognitive Science (now part of the School of Informatics) and the Human Communication Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. In 1995, she took up a position at the University of Gothenburg and in 2004 she became professor of Swedish.[6] She retired in 2014 and currently lives in Mölndal.

Engdahl has been a member of the Swedish Research Council since 2000, and she still serves as a member on the Council for Research Infrastructures.[7] She is a member of the scientific board for CASTL (Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics) at the University of Tromsø, and she is involved in the Scandinavian Dialect Syntax Network. The ScanDiaSyn[8] network works on Scandinavian dialect syntax.

In 2008, she was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, and in 2010 to the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg. She received an honorary doctorate in 2012, awarded by Lund University.

Engdahl’s main research interests are in the area of syntax and semantics, in particular in the Scandinavian languages.[9] She is involved in the ScanDiaSyn[10] network which works on Scandinavian dialect syntax. Despite her retirement, Engdahl continues to research and publish focusing on syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and information structure.[11]


  • The syntax and semantics of questions in Swedish, 1980
  • Implicational universals : parametric variation in GB and GPSG, 1988
  • Constituent questions : the syntax and semantics of questions with special reference to Swedish, 1985
  • Argument roles and anaphora, 1990
  • Interaktion och kontext : nio studier av svenska samtal, 2007


  1. ^ Sentance, Susan (1993). Recognising and responding to English article usage errors : an ICALL based approach. ed.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/20176. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.661745. icon of an open green padlock
  2. ^ Engdahl, Elisabet (1983) Parasitic gaps. Linguistics and Philosophy 6(1), 5–34.
  3. ^ Engdahl, Elisabet (1980). The Syntax and Semantics of Questions in Swedish (PhD thesis). University of Massachusetts Amherst. OCLC 969920859.
  4. ^ A revised version appeared in 1986: Constituent Questions: The Syntax and Semantics of Questions with Special Reference to Swedish. Dordrecht: Reidel.
  5. ^ "List of Alumni | Linguistics | UMass Amherst". www.umass.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  6. ^ "Staff". Göteborgs universitet. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  7. ^ "Council for Research Infrastructure - Vetenskapsrådet". www.vr.se. Archived from the original on 2012-01-20.
  8. ^ "Nordic Dialect Corpus".
  9. ^ "Elisabet Engdahl - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.se. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  10. ^ "Nordic Dialect Corpus".
  11. ^ Engdahl, Elisbeth. "Elisabet Engdahl - PhD (UMass 1980) - University of Gothenburg, Göteborg - GU - Department of Swedish". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2018-08-28.