Cross-categorial spatial case in the Finnic non-finite system: focus on the absentive TAM semantics and pragmatics of the Estonian inessive m-formative non-finites

TitleCross-categorial spatial case in the Finnic non-finite system: focus on the absentive TAM semantics and pragmatics of the Estonian inessive m-formative non-finites
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsTamm, A.
Journal titleLinguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences
Year2011
Pages835 - 944
Volume49
Issue4
Abstract

The article discusses cross-categorial case—case in a wider perspective than an argument-marking phenomenon in the nominal domain. Cross-categorial cases mark bare stems, non-finite verbs, or inflected verbs; they serve as clause-linkers and encode tense, aspect, negation, and mood. The spatiotemporal parallel semantics of cross-categorial spatial case compares well to combinations of adpositions with infinitives, as in I go to swim, je viens de manger, er ist am Arbeiten. The article aims at overcoming the various obstacles that have prevented gaining insight into the meaning of rich systems of cross-categorial case in exotic or dead languages by focusing on the more accessible Uralic languages, many of which have more than 20 cases, and rich and regular cross-categorial case systems. The data are collected and tested by various methods and sources from several sociolinguistic and diachronic varieties of smaller Finnic languages: Karelian, Ingrian, Veps, Votic, Livonian, South-Estonian and Estonian. Especially in the Finnic spatial case systems, the correspondences between the nominal and verbal paradigms are regular. The case paradigms of Finnic non-finites derive from paradigms of deverbal nominalizations. Therefore, Finnic allows a unique opportunity to examine a wide variety of in-between categories combining nominal and verbal syntactic and semantic properties within the context of a rich case system; a detailed example is provided about the inessive (internal locative) case m-formative non-finite. Strengthened by areal contact, the bleaching of the inessive meaning motivates the cross-linguistically attested and cognitively grounded development of locatives into progressive entailment in the verbal domain, while the use of locative expressions in discourse has lead to the development of a cluster of implicatures and presuppositions that correspond to the European absentives. Solving the puzzle about the existence of “the Estonian absentive” provides a synchronic snapshot of a gradually developing nominal-verbal split in the in-between categories with inessive. The regular parallels between the Finnic nominal and verbal case call for a broader view on case than previously assumed, and this study goes beyond the well-known nominal semantics of cases.

LanguageEnglish
Publisher linkhttp://tammacademic.pbworks.com/f/ANNETAMMLinguisticsSubmissiononDate1May2010.pdf