Academic journal article Trames

Demonstrative Doubling in Spoken Estonian

Academic journal article Trames

Demonstrative Doubling in Spoken Estonian

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Spoken Estonian makes extensive use of a strategy that combines lexical elements with the corresponding demonstratives. The starting-point of the present article is the hypothesis that all these combinations are instances of the same syntactic construction, although traditionally different demonstrative--lexical phrase combinations have been assigned different syntactic analyses or have not been analysed at all. I will refer to these combinations as "demonstrative constructions".

The data derive from a corpus assembled and transcribed by the Spoken Estonian Research Group at the Chair of General Linguistics at the University of Tartu and are illustrated in example (1) *. The construction under examination appears in bold type and both the construction as a whole and the demonstrative and the lexical subpart are placed in square brackets. As can be seen from the example, virtually all argument and adjunct phrases can be preceded by the corresponding demonstrative, i.e. by the demonstrative that can function as their proform: argument noun phrases by the demonstrative pronoun/proadjective see 'this/that' (1a,b), adjective phrases (modifying as well as predicative) by proadjectives selline, niisugune, sihuke(ne), nihuke(ne), siuke(ne), niuke(ne) etc. 'such' (1c,d), adjunct noun phrases, adverb phrases and adpositional phrases by manner-indicating proadverbs niimoodi, niiviisi, nii, sedasi 'like that' (1e,f), temporal proadverbs siis 'then' and nUUd 'now' (1g,h), and locative proadverbs siin 'here' and seal 'there' (1i,j). (2) The demonstratives usually bear no stress and are either weak forms (nisuke/niuke/nihuke pro niisugune etc.), or reduced forms (often transcribed as se, nisugune, seline, nimodi, sis etc.).

(1) a. mis=[[selle]=[Morteniga]] (3) Uldse=saab,      [[need]
       what that-GEN M.-COM          at.all become-3SG those
       [hinded]] on   ta  ka=a (.) maru     halb.
       grades    be-3 3SG too      terribly bad
       'I don't know what will become of Morten, his grades are
       terribly bad too.'
    b. kuna voiks    [[see][teie  mees]][[seda]     [garaazi
       when can-COND that 2PL-GEN man     this-PART garage-GEN
       katust]] vaatama tulla.
       [roof.sub.PART] look-SUP come-INF
       'When could your man come to take a look at the garage roof?'
    c. oli        vaja [[siukest] @ [intelligentset   ja  kena]]
       be-PST-3SG needed such-PART   intelligent-PART and nice-PART
       poissi=ja, @
       boy-PART=and
       'They were looking for an intelligent and nice boy.'
    d. see on nUUd [[nisukene][kindlam]]
       this be-3 now such stronger
       'This one is stronger.'
    e. emme  Uts         et   Elsa istus     [[nimoodi]
       mummy say-PST-3SG COMP E.   sit-PST-3SG like.that
       [omaette]]=ja.
       on.her.own and
       'Mummy said that Elsa sat there on her own.'
    f. tegelikult pidi       ta  tulema [[nimodi][asjana]].
       actually must-PST-3SG 3SG come-SUP like.that object-ESS
       'Actually it was supposed to come as an object.'
    g. aga [[sis][kell  kaks kuskil]]  laksime   'magama
       but then o'clock two  somewhere go-PST-1PL sleep-SUP
       'And around two o'clock we went to sleep.'
    h. millal te vabanesite       [[nUUd][viimane kord]]
       when 2PL become.free-PST-2PL now   last    time
       'How long have you been in freedom this time?'
    i. no   ma  helistan [[sinna] [mobiili          peale]]
       well 1SG call-1SG there-LAT mobile.phone-GEN on-ALL
       'I'll call on the mobile phone then.'
    j. tulge        mulle   koju,  [[siit]    [kodu
       come-IMP-2SG 1SG-ALL home-ILL here-ELAT home-GEN
       juurest]] on viie minuti tee.
       near-ELAT be-3 five-GEN minute-GEN road
       'Come to my house, from here it takes five minutes.'

In Estonian linguistics, the demonstrative constructions are traditionally assigned different interpretations. …

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