Coding and behaviour of Estonian subjects

Helena Metslang

Abstract


This study is a construction-specific approach to subjecthood in Estonian. It has grown out of Croft’s (2001) view that due to the diversity of the syntactic roles’ distribution across constructions, there is a need for a shift in grammars to construction- specific syntactic roles. However, in order to compare different arguments, it is also necessary to employ a global cross-constructional subject category. This study treats subjecthood as a set of properties that is represented on arguments to a different degree. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of Estonian prototypical subjects and subject-like arguments (10 in total) from the viewpoint of a large number of morphosyntactic criteria (16). The study is an attempt to apply multivariate analysis on the arguments’ syntactic behaviour research. The paper claims that most Estonian subject-like arguments only show subjecthood properties to a limited degree. Supportive data is provided for the Hierarchy of Grammatical Relations Constructions.

Keywords


subject; subject-like arguments; grammatical relations; coding; syntactic behaviour; construction grammar

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/jeful.2013.4.2.12

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