Printer Friendly

Death of a demonstrative: person and time the case of Estonian too/[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

1. Introduction

Demonstrative systems vary in different languages. Universally, the primary deictic contrast is based on an opposition of the speaker-proximal and the speaker-distal forms. In languages with a three-way deictic contrast we can distinguish between systems where the middle term refers to medial distance with respect to the deictic centre (distance-oriented system) and systems where the middle term refers to a referent close to the hearer (person-oriented system, Anderson, Keenan 1985 : 282-286; Diessel 1999 : 39). Many researchers have abandoned purely spatial explanations of deictic systems, and prefer the notion of social and/or cognitive space. The main categories of a socio-cognitive approach to demonstratives include the speaker and the hearer, but they are viewed as centres of social relations and cognitive abilities. Demonstratives are believed to refer primarily to spheres of influence or attention instead of spatial distance. Moreover, the referential ability of demonstratives is interactively established by the participants, that is, the participants create it during interaction, and it does not depend only on the spatial context (Hanks 1990; 1992; Laury 1997; Seppanen 1998).

The present article studies demonstratives first and foremost from the perspective of space, while bearing in mind that spatial oppositions constitute only one of the semantic domains covered by demonstratives. The claim that a certain demonstrative denotes a proximal or a distal entity would be an oversimplification because "the context for seemingly straightforward uses is as complex as the context for other uses and involves interactional as well as cultural knowledge" (Himmelmann 1996 : 223).

2. Finnic demonstratives

Matti Larjavaara (1986 : 307) has described the Finnic demonstrative system on the basis of the following four original demonstrative stems: *tama, *taa, *too, and *se. At the same time it has claimed that the stem *taa never existed in Livonian, Votic, Ingrian, Veps, and Finnish (Tiit-Rein Viitso, p.c.). Systems with six demonstratives have survived in more distant cognate languages (e.g. in the Sami Nesseby dialect, see Tauli 1966 : 141). In Finnic languages the number of demonstratives can vary from three (Finnish and Karelian) to one (Livonian) (Laanest 1982 : 197-199). Contemporary Finnish has a system of three demonstrative pronouns (tama, tuo, se), which are complemented by a number of demonstrative adverbs. Veps has only preserved the demonstrative se, from which another demonstrative nece has developed. nece also covers the whole possible reference area where spatial oppositions are considered (Larjavaara 1986 : 308). The development of the demonstrative systems in Karelian, Olonets, and Lude clearly reflects a mixture of foreign and dialectal influence. Thus, these systems have been influenced by extralinguistic as opposed to intralinguistic factors (Larjavaara 1986 : 310).

However, M. Larjavaara claims that North Estonian changed for intralinguistic reasons; taa disappeared because it merged with the short form of tama, which is ta. As a result, its deictic meaning, that is, the meaning determined by the situation, became vague, and the demonstrative in question now retains only its anaphoric (intertextual) referentiality. Hence, the current third person pronoun tema/ta emerged, which in turn influenced formally and semantically the development of the South Estonian tama into a corresponding third person pronoun tima/tia. This change affected the whole demonstrative system of South Estonian. The changes in Estonian affected Livonian, leading it to shed all but a single demonstrative pronoun se/sie (Larjavaara 1986 : 310-311). According to M. Larjavaara (1986 : 310-311) Votic also has only one demonstrative, kase, yet other authors identify two: se and kase (Ariste 1968 : 58-59; Laanest 1982 : 198).

Finnish demonstratives have been studied rather extensively in the last decades. Researchers have highlighted different characteristic aspects of the demonstrative system. M. Larjavaara (1990) approaches the demonstrative system from the perspective of spatial relations. Accordingly, tama means 'near the speaker', tuo means 'far from the speaker', and se 'near the hearer'. However, more recent studies emphasise not so much the spatial location but the way the referent is treated in the ongoing discourse. R. Laury (1997 : 59-60) claims that tama refers to an entity in the sphere of the speaker, tuo falls outside that sphere and thus points to its boundaries, and se refers to a referent in the addressee's sphere. The spheres are not spatial, but are seen first and foremost as cognitively and socially accessible areas.

E.-L. Seppanen (1998) applies this approach to cases where demonstratives are used to refer to the people present: tama refers to a person who has previously spoken, in particular a prominent participant of the discourse, tuo refers to a person who is present but remains in the background, and se is a person present but is just mentioned during the conversation. M. Etelamaki (2005 : 14-15) classifies demonstratives based on the status of the referred entity in the conversation: tama and tuo are open for further definitions, se is closed; tama is asymmetric while tuo and se are symmetric, meaning that the participants mutually understand the ongoing activity.

Finnish linguists disagree about whether these three demonstratives should be treated as part of the personal pronoun system or not. The Finnish se in particular acts as a third person pronoun. It exists as an unmarked third person pronoun in many dialects (including the contemporary spoken Finnish of Helsinki) while the pronoun han used in Standard Finnish functions as a logophoric pronoun, which is used to refer to the speaker who is the source of words or ideas referred to in a text (Seppanen 1998 : 35-38; Laitinen 2005). A recent Finnish grammar (ISK 2004 : 707-708) claims that demonstratives and personal pronouns differ grammatically, and thus should be treated separately.

The results of studies of demonstratives in other Finnic languages are important for the present article in two respects. First, unlike in English, a demonstrative pronoun can be used in the Finnic languages to point to a human referent. Thus, conveying a reference to a human is a common characteristic of the Finnic demonstratives. Second, although the demonstrative system has lost much of its richness in a majority of other Finnic languages, this has not happened in all of them. The three Finnish demonstrative pronouns are still used in every domain.

3. The system of Estonian demonstratives

Table 1 below gives a simplified overview of Estonian demonstratives. The northern dialects have preserved only a single demonstrative (see) while the southern dialects (which are often regarded as South Estonian) have preserved three (seo ~ sjoo 'proximate to the speaker', taa 'proximate to the hearer', tuu 'remote from both the speaker and the hearer'). There is also the two-term demonstrative system (see 'this', too 'that')

that falls between the North Estonian and South Estonian systems. To be more precise, there are a number of intermediate systems. The main tendency seems to be the following: the further one goes south-east, the more likely one is to encounter too. For example, the pronoun too is used in the variety spoken nowadays in Tartu to distinguish between a proximal and a distal entity, as in example (1).
(1) See uks ei tule selle votme-ga lahti,
 This door NEG come this.GEN key-COM open
 proovi-me kas too tule-b.
 try-1PL PRTCL that come-3SG
 'The key won't open this door, let's see if it opens that one.'

In case the opposition is pragmatically irrelevant, many speakers of this variety would also use the pronoun see when referring to a more distal object. People with a distinctly South Estonian background may also use the pronoun too to indicate their pragmatic distance from the referred entity in cases where the opposition is less obvious, as in example (2).
(2) Too on raske probleem.
 that be.3SG difficult problem
 'That is a difficult problem.'

Standard Estonian has two demonstrative pronouns, but too 'that' is rather rare.

All demonstratives can be used anaphorically in all dialectal varieties of Estonian. However, each variety has its typical and neutral anaphoric demonstratives. In varieties that offer a choice between demonstratives, the most distal demonstrative is used for anaphoric reference. This feature is shared by many languages (Hanks 1992 : 64). Tuu is the most typical anaphoric pronoun in South Estonian, too is used in varieties with two actively-used demonstratives, and see in northern dialects and Standard Estonian.

Anaphoric demonstrative pronouns form a separate anaphoric reference system together with the third person pronouns. Estonian has two forms of third person pronouns with slightly different anaphoric properties (see Pajusalu 2005): the long form (tema, in Standard Estonian and tima in South Estonian) and the short form (ta in Standard Estonian and tia or ta in South Estonian). Three pronouns (see, tema, and ta) are frequently used for anaphoric reference in Standard Estonian; the pronoun too has limited use (see the discussion below). South Estonian has five pronouns for minimal anaphoric reference (seo ~ sjoo, taa, tuu, tima, t(i)a).

Demonstratives also function as definite determiners (Himmelmann 1996; for Estonian see Pajusalu 1997; 2001). The varieties of Estonian with one demonstrative exhibit no choice between demonstratives; thus the demonstrative see also functions as the definite determiner. The distal demonstratives too and tuu function as definite determiners in the two-term Estonian demonstrative systems and the three-term South Estonian demonstrative system respectively. This appears to corroborate the principle that grammaticalization of the definite article often starts from the most distal demonstrative.

4. Disintegration of the South Estonian demonstrative system

The following description of the three-term South Estonian demonstrative system is based on fieldwork carried out in the Vastseliina dialect area in 1997. Informants from different age groups were interviewed. In addition to the audio recordings, the conditions under which demonstratives were used referentially were recorded. The main research results were published in Pajusalu 1998. More recent observations have shown that different systems can occur in other dialects, but no systematic studies have been carried out so far.

Different speakers use demonstrative pronouns in the Vastseliina dialect in varying degrees. Older people (all the informants that are at least 70 years old) had the following three demonstrative pronouns: seo ~ sjoo, taa, and tuu. These demonstratives are used within two different systems: if the referred entities are small and can be moved, then seo ~ sjoo refers to an object held by or near the speaker, taa refers to objects that are held by or near the hearer, and tuu refers to something that is far from both the speaker and the hearer. In this system the demonstratives are paired with the corresponding personal pronouns: seo ~ sjoo is associated with the pronoun mina 'I', and taa is associated with the pronoun sina 'you'. This kind of usage is similar to the Finnish demonstrative system although the pronoun stems differ. The Vastseliina seo ~ sjoo and taa behave similarly to the Finnish tama and se respectively while the Vastseliina tuu acts similarly to the Finnish tuo. At the same time, there are situations where older speakers of the Vastseliina dialect use the distance-oriented system instead. The distance-oriented system was mostly used to describe stationary objects that were more or less the same distance from the speaker and the hearer. For example, an elderly female informant used the pronoun sjoo to refer to the two corners of her storehouse, at the same time pointing with her hand (Example 3, line 1-2). She treated both corners as neutral with respect to the distance from the speaker and the hearer; sjoo had a purely ostensive function in this situation. Then, however, she made a concluding remark using the pronoun sjoo to refer to the closer corner and taa to a more remote one. Here she used the distance-oriented system.
(3) The elderly woman is speaking about a building in her yard.
 sjoo kutsu-ta-ss vinne nukko-ga [...]
 this call-IMPERS-PRES russian.GEN corner.PL-COM
 'this is called [a building] with a Russian corner'
 a sjoo om puhta nuka-ga.
 but this be.3SG clean.GEN corner-COM
 'but this is a clean corner'
 sjoo om jah vinne nukko-ga ja
 this be.3SG yes russian.GEN corner.PL-COM and
 'this is indeed a Russian corner and'
 taa om puhta nuka tuu.
 that be.3SG clean.GEN corner.GEN work
 'that is a clean corner.'

Younger speakers of South Estonian use the three-term demonstrative system in different ways. The daughter of the informant described above lived nearby at the time of the fieldwork and was in regular contact with her mother. The daughter used the demonstrative taa only twice during the recordings. Moreover, she used it incorrectly both times with respect to her mother's usage (employing taa to refer to small objects that she was holding). The person-oriented system had not survived in her usage (the recordings provided no data about the distance-oriented system).

The material in the recordings made in Vastseliina municipality in 1997 and some other observations suggest that the three-way distinction among the demonstrative pronouns is weakening in South Estonian. If the person-oriented system of contemporary Finnish were considered as the original system, one could say that an interim stage of the weakening process is the transition from the person-oriented system to the distance-oriented system, and the interim stage must be gone through first before the three-term demonstrative system is abandoned completely.

5. Demonstratives in Standard Estonian

5.1. Background

Standard Estonian has a two-term demonstrative system, that is, a system that has already experienced the changes that South Estonian seems to be going through at the moment. There are two demonstrative pronouns in the language of the speakers of common Estonian. These differ with the respect to distance from the speaker: see refers to an object closer to the speaker while too refers to a far object. It is claimed that the anaphoric use of too coincides with the use of the demonstrative see (EKG II 1993 : 209). In their actual language use the speakers of North Estonian use too rarely, and it has a strong South Estonian marking.

However, too still occurs in some contexts in the standard variety of Estonian. The author of the present article searched several corpora of fiction texts of the Tartu University Corpus of Standard Written Estonian for sentences containing the pronoun too. The occurrences of the nominative pronoun too in the corpus of fiction texts (250,000 words of 1980s texts) were used for the statistical overview. too occurred in the nominative 86 times while see occurred 1438 times, which is about seventeen times more frequent. Every fifteenth occurrence of the pronoun see was used to compare the referential contexts of the two. Table 2 presents the figures about the referents that the nominative see and too denoted. See refers to humans (including some references to animals), physical objects, and abstract entities. In fact, a majority of the referents were abstract entities. It is natural that references to humans and objects are less frequent than the references to abstract entities because the regular pronouns used for human referents are tema and ta. In addition, objects are rarely discussed at such length in literature that one would need to refer to them with a pronoun. On the other hand, too is specifically used to refer to humans, who represented 78 per cent of the referents of the nominative too. There are also other types of references (the author has found examples of too referring to physical objects in some other sub-corpora, which did not occur in the present material), but they are rather rare compared to the human references. Mostly, cases where too does not refer to humans involve NPs where it only forms an adnominal part.

5.2. too referring to humans

Although the third person pronoun tema or ta is generally used to refer to humans in Estonian, sometimes the demonstratives see and too are also used. Demonstratives referring to humans highlight the referent more than third person pronouns, and thus are not neutral means of reference compared to the third person pronoun ta. The Grammar of Modern Estonian (EKG II 1993 : 209) claims that the demonstratives refer to a less-known and more distant persons and that that kind of reference can carry a negative meaning because the speaker detaches the referred person from himself and the hearer when using the pronoun see. The kind of interpretation indicates that see has lost its meaning of proximity, as it would otherwise be difficult to explain how the pronoun that usually refers to proximal entities can make the referred person more distant.

According to accessibility hierarchy proposed in Gundel, Hedberg, Zacharski 1993, demonstratives point to referents that are activated but not in focus. Demonstratives have more referential power than third person pronouns as they are able to place the non-focused referent in focus. In Estonian, demonstrative pronouns are used to refer to humans typically in contexts where the personal pronoun has already been used up by a certain referent in focus, that is, somebody has been referred to by means of the personal pronoun, or somebody is in focus in the text in a way that he or she could be referred to by means of a personal pronoun when necessary. In addition, the corpus of spoken Estonian shows that sometimes the demonstrative see also refers to a human being even when there is no other competing referent for which a personal pronoun is used, but the referent is not in focus yet. The author of the present article has referred to it as the second mentioning (Pajusalu, Tragel, Veismann, Vija 2004 : 74ff).

E. Kaiser and K. Hiietam claimed the following in their comparison of the third person pronoun in Estonian and Finnish: "we should not assume that the referential properties of all anaphoric forms can be captured in terms of the salience scale" (2003 : 654). This certainly applies to the differences of use of ta and tema: ta refers to the neutral referent in focus, and tema expresses that the referent is in focus, but it is in opposition or contrast to some other referent (see Pajusalu 2005; Kaiser, Hiietam 2003). Therefore, the difference between tema and ta cannot be explained by their different degree of salience, but shows rather whether the referent is in a contrastive position or not.

E. Kaiser and K. Hiietam have obtained interesting results about the interpretation of the Estonian anaphoric demonstratives see and too. Their data from 30 native speakers suggest "that see/too tend to prefer the post-verbal, last-mentioned referent, but they are also sensitive to syntactic role". See/too clearly prefer post-verbal objects in SVO sentences, but they have only a slight preference for the post-verbal subject in OVS sentences. That kind of usage resembles first and foremost the use of the Finnish demonstrative tama (Kaiser, Hiietam 2003 : 662). Unfortunately, E. Kaiser and K. Hiietam do not analyse the two demonstratives separately, but present them as two equal variants in the test sentences, so that it is not known if they behave the same way in each situation.

The Estonian demonstratives used for human referents always highlight the referent, and thus they do not occur when repeated reference is made to the same person (see Example 5 below: the woman is referred to with the demonstrative too, but the personal pronoun ta is used when the woman is mentioned again). The Estonian see clearly differs in that respect from the spoken Finnish se which can be repeatedly used as the personal pronoun for human reference. Instead, the former is similar to the Finnish demonstrative tama, which is used as the minimal reference unit in Standard Finnish besides the regular third person pronoun han, tama cannot be used repeatedly to refer to the same person (Varteva 1998; Kaiser, Hiietam 2003). It has been claimed that the function of tama in Standard Finnish is to highlight the person in the background for a moment, so that that person can become the subject of the discourse (Varteva 1998). This is also true for the Estonian demonstrative see.

The author of the article has not encountered the demonstrative too in her spoken corpus material, yet too does occur in the written language. Too referring to humans occurs in pragmatically rather limited contexts in fiction. It refers to persons who are not the main character, but who have been previously mentioned besides the main character. The co-referential full NP usually precedes too, and therefore too typically occurs in the subordinate clause. Example (4) is typical in many respects: too is used in the subordinate clause to refer to a woman called Ivika, who has been previously mentioned in the same sentence, but she is not the main character at that point of the sentence; the main character is a man who was mentioned by his full name in the preceding sentence, but is referred to by the personal pronoun ta in the sentence under discussion.
(4) Ta ja-i rahu-meeli oma koha-le istu-ma
 3SG stay-IMPRF peace-mind own place-ADE sit-SUP
 ja imesta-s, et ei taha-gi Ivika-lt kusi-da,
 and wonder-IMPRF that NEG want-CLTC Ivika-ABL ask-INF
 mi-da too uute kulalis-te tuleku-st arva-b. (1)
 what-PART that new.PL.GEN guest-PL.PART coming-ELAT think-3SG
 'He remained seated calmly and was surprised that he didn't want to
 ask Ivika what she thought about the arrival of the new guests.'

There are also a number of cases where too occurs in the main clause, and in that case there is almost always another referent who was referred to by personal pronoun in the preceding sentence and who continues to be the main character of the narrative. The NP co-referential with too can also occur in the preceding sentence in that case. Example (5) describes a situation with two participants--a man and a woman. The pronoun tema is used to refer to the man in sentence (a), who is probably the main character at that point of the narrative, which is why the demonstrative too is used to refer to the woman in sentence (b). The woman is the referent in focus in sentence (c), and the personal pronoun ta is used to refer to her, while it is necessary to use the name Enn to reintroduce the man.
(5) (a) Tema-gi jala-d tulita-si-d, saati siis
 3SG.GEN-CLTC leg-PL heart-IMPRF-3PL then
 naise-l, kes selle maa kaks korda maha oli
 woman-ADE who this.GEN land two time.PART PRTCL be.3SG.IMPRF
 kai-nud ja seejuures lapsi sule-s
 walk-PRTCPL and while child.PL.PART in.arms-INE

 'Even his legs were tired, not to mention those of the woman who
 had walked the distance twice while carrying the children in her

(b) Paljas-te jalga-de-ga koogi varvi-ma-ta puu-poranda-l
 bare-PL leg-PL-COM kitchen.GEN paint-SUP-ABE wood-floor-ADE
 astu-des to-i too laua-le
 walk-GERUND bring-IMPRF that table-ADE
 hapu-piima-kausi, supi-lusika-d ja leiva-kannika.
 sour.GEN-milk.GEN-bowl.GEN soup-spoon-PL and bread.GEN-piece.GEN
 'She brought a bowl of sour milk and a piece of bread to the table
 while walking barefoot on the unpainted wooden kitchen floor.'

(c) Siis istu-s ta Ennu vastu ja torju-s peo-ga
 then sit-IMPRF 3SG Enn.GEN opposite and brush-IMPRF hand-COM
 juukse-id pose-lt.
 hair-PL.PART cheek-ABL
 'Then she sat opposite to Enn and brushed her hair from her cheek
 with her hand.

There are also examples where two different demonstratives--see and too--are used to refer to and distinguish different persons. The Grammar of Modern Estonian (EKG II 1993 : 209) claims that in that case see refers to the first-mentioned and too to the second-mentioned referent. However, it is not an absolute rule, as seen in example (6) where the personal pronoun ta refers to the main character in focus (i), the demonstrative too refers to the nurse (j), and the demonstrative see to the son of the main character (k). The sequence of the mentioning of the referents is the following: the main character (ta), the nurse on night duty (too), and only then the son of the main character (see). The example indicates that it is too that is the next possible pronoun when the personal pronoun has already been used. See is used only after both too and the personal pronoun have been "occupied".
(6) Ohtu-l raaki-s [ta.sub.i] valve-[oe.sub.j] pehme-ks,
 night-ADE speak-IMPRF 3SG duty-nurse soft-TRNSL
 [too.sub.j] luba-s kasuta-da haigla telefoni
 that allow-IMPRF use-INF hospital.GEN phone.PART
 ja [ta.sub.i] sa-i [poja.sub.k] traadi otsa.
 and 3SG get-IMPRF son.GEN line.GEN end.ILL
 'At night [he.sub.i] soft-soaped the nurse on night [duty.sub.j];
 [she.sub.j] allowed him to use the hospital's phone, and [he.sub.i]
 got his [son.sub.k] on the line.'
 [See.sub.k] arva-s vist, et [isa.sub.i]
 this think-IMPRF probably that father
 lootusetu-s seisu-s lihtsalt valja ja luba-[s.sub.k]
 hopeless-IMPRF condition-INE simply out and promise-IMPRF
 ule-jargmise-ks paeva-ks ta-llei jarele tulla.
 over-next-TRNSL day-TRNSL 3SG-ADE after come.INF
 '[He.sub.k] probably thought that his [father.sub.i] would be
 simply thrown out in a hopeless condition, and [he.sub.k] promised
 to pick [him.sub.i] up by the day after tomorrow.'

The figures presented in Table 2 indicate that too in the adnominal position also occurs primarily in the case of NPs referring to humans (see Example 7), but it can also occur in other NPs. See occurs adnominally less frequently when compared to its other occurrences. It usually refers to abstract entities and occurs as an independent NP.
(7) Gulbahari-l oli hirmus kiusatus Reinu-le naida-ta end
 Gulbahari-ADE be.3SG.IMPRF awful desire Rein-ALL show-INF self
 ilusa-na. Mis siis selle-st, kui too mees te-da kord ka
 beautiful-ESS what then this-ELAT if that man 3SG.PART time too
 sellise-na nae-b, nagu korge emiiri tulevane naine
 this.kind-ESS see-3SG as high.GEN emir.GEN future wife
 enda-le voi-b luba-da.
 self-ALL can-3SG promise-INF
 'Gulbahar had a great desire to show herself beautiful to Rein.
 What does it matter if that man sees her once the way the future
 wife of a high-ranking emir can afford.'

The genitive of too is tolle, which is rather rare in the Corpus of Standard Written Estonian. There were 37 occurrences of tolle, most of which were adnominal. There were five sentences in which tolle referred to a human referent (Example 8) and one sentence where tolle referred to an inanimate object. The context of tolle is the same as in the nominative case: it is used to refer to the minor character who is less prominent at the certain point of the narrative. It is natural that the genitive form tolle is rare because one is dealing with demonstratives referring to humans. It is also known that the genitive form of the demonstrative see (selle) seldom refers to humans (the same corpus contained 600 forms of selle, and none of the randomly selected 100 occurrences out of the 600 had a human referent). The personal pronoun is preferred in the genitive case.
(8) Ent sea-lt naine totta-s-ki-- kummaline, ta
 but there-ABL woman hurry-3SG.IMPRF-CLTC strange 3SG
 tundi-s tolle juba kauge-lt ara
 recognize-3SG.IMPRF that.GEN already far-ABL PERF
 'But the woman came hurrying--it's strange that he recognized her
 from far.'

The partitive form toda of the demonstrative too occurred 11 times in the corpus, including two independent NPs, one of which had a human referent. The partitive form seda of the demonstrative see occurred 855 times, but was never used independently for referring to a human referent.

Thus it can be concluded that too is a rather rare demonstrative. The nominative form too refers mostly to humans. Too is especially rare in other case forms, and it is used first and foremost adnominally. The demonstrative too has another important function in contemporary Estonian--it can refer to time. It seems that in that function too is also used by those people who would not use too to denote a human referent, and it is less marked as South Estonian in this context. The fiction texts of the basic Corpus of Standard Written Estonian contained 23 combinations of tol X-l 'that X' (e.g. tol ohtul 'that evening', tol paeval 'that day', and tol ool 'that night'). All the phrases referred to events that had taken place before at the moment of speaking. Besides the adessive time adverbials, the lexicalized unit tookord 'that time' occurred 38 times and only with reference to the past. All the other sentences that contained the demonstrative too referring to time were also in the past. On the other hand, there were also a number of time phrases that contained the demonstrative see, but they referred to all the possible tenses, including the present and the future. Table 3 presents figures about the time expressions containing the demonstratives see and too. All three possible past tenses of Estonian (imperfect, perfect, and plusquamperfect) are presented in the column "past time" while the column "present or future" contains the cases where the verb of the sentence was in the present tense, but the reference was either to the present or to the future. In sum, the demonstrative too only referred to the past in the Corpus of Standard Written Estonian.

6. Conclusion and discussion

The present article analysed the disintegration of two demonstrative systems. The South Estonian three-term demonstrative system is losing its speaker-oriented term taa, which will probably merge with the third person pronoun ta/ta. The speaker-oriented system is probably less stable than the distance-oriented system because that system of demonstratives has already long ago disappeared in the common language of North Estonian (if it has ever existed at all).

As for the anaphoric demonstratives of Standard Estonian, one can say that see is an universal demonstrative, which can basically refer to any suitably activated referent. too is clearly confined to two domains, and it can either refer to a minor character or the past tense. The material did not contain any distance-oriented meanings. Too does not refer to a more distant entity than see in any sense, it is rather a specialised variant of demonstrative see, which is used for human referents and past events.

In the case of too we can see at least two grammaticalization processes occurring concurrently in different syntactic contexts. H. Diessel (1999) has shown that the development of a demonstrative is crucially determined by the syntactic context in which it occurs. It is usual for a pronominal demonstrative to transform into a third person pronoun. We can claim that Standard Estonian has probably three third person pronouns--ta, tema, and too, but only in the case of written language in which the tracking of a referent may be more complicated than in spoken discourse. One has to keep in mind that too is not a regular personal pronoun, but it carries the additional meaning of the minor character similarly to the Finnish tama. Some linguistic traditions have presented the category of the fourth person. For example, the linguistic tradition of the Amerind languages speaks about the fourth person in the case of a less important referent, using the term obviative (Siewerska 2004 : 7). The use of the demonstrative too in Standard Estonian could also be pragmatically treated as the fourth person, but it would nevertheless be an exaggeration to include this category in the description of Estonian as it does not have a different morphological agreement marking on the verb compared to the third person pronoun, and it is not commonly accepted by the speakers with different dialect backgrounds.

Time is an abstract concept that is often metaphorically structured in spatial terms. Mapping spatial expressions onto the temporal dimension provides a common historical ground for the development of temporal markers. Diessel has argued that it is a common grammaticalization path for adverbial demonstratives. It is not exactly the case because too is an adnominal pronoun in time expressions. Nevertheless, constructions such as tol suvel 'that summer' are adverbials.

Thus, we can see two grammaticalization paths of a demonstrative--the transformation of a demonstrative into a personal pronoun and into a time expression, which are typologically rather frequent but nevertheless have their own language-specific properties.


ABE--abessive; ABL--ablative; ADE--adessive; ALL--allative; CLTC--clitic; COM--comitative; ELAT--elative; ESS--essive; GEN--genitive; GERUND--gerundive; ILL--illative; IMPERS--impersonal; IMPRF--imperfect; INE--inessive; INF--infinitive; NEG--negation; PART--partitive; PERF--perfective (adverb); PL--plural; PRES--present; PRTCL--particle; PRTCPL--participle; SG--singular; SUP--supine; TRNSL--translative.


Andersson, S. R., Keenan, E. L. 1985, Deixis.--Language Typology and Syntactic Description III. Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, Cambridge, 259-308.

Ariste, P. 1968, A Grammar of the Votic Language, Bloomington (UAS 68). Diessel, H. 1999, Demonstratives. Form, Function and Grammaticalization, Amsterdam-Philadelphia.

Gundel, J., Hedberg, N., Zacharski, R. 1993, Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.--Language 69, 274-307.

Etelamaki, M. 2005, Context and Referent in Interaction.--Minimal Reference. The Use of Pronouns in Finnish and Estonian Discourse, Helsinki (SF. Linguistica).

Erelt, M., Kasik, R., Metslang, H., Rajandi, H., Ross, K., Saari, H., Tael, K., Vare, S. 1993, Eesti keele grammatika II. Suntaks. Lisa: kiri, Tallinn (= EKG II).

Hanks, W. F. 1990, Referential Practice. Language and Lived Space among the Maya, Chicago.

--1992. The Indexical Ground of Deictic Reference.--Rethinking Context. Language as an Interactive Phenomenon, Cambridge, 43-76.

Hakulinen, A., Vilkuna, M., Korhonen, R., Koivisto, V., Heinonen, T. R., Alho, I., 2004, Iso suomen kielioppi, Helsinki (SKST 950) (= ISK).

Himmelmann, N. P. 1996, Demonstratives in Narrative Discourse. A Taxonomy of Universal Uses.--Studies in Anaphora, Amsterdam, 205-254.

Kaiser, E., Hiietam, K. 2003, A Comparison of the Referential Properties of the Third Person Pronouns in Finnish and Estonian.--Nordlyd 31, 654-667.

Laanest, A. 1982, Einfuhrung in die ostseefinnishen Sprachen, Hamburg.

Laitinen, L. 2005, Han, the Third Speech Act Pronoun in Finnish.--Minimal Reference. The Use of Pronouns in Finnish and Estonian Discourse, Studia Fennica, 75-106.

Larjavaara, M. 1986, Demonstratiivit ja kielen kehitys, Vir., 306-312.

--1990. Suomen deiksis, Helsinki (Suomi 156).

Laury, R. 1997, Demonstratives in Interaction, Amsterdam-Philadelphia.

Pajusalu, R. 1997, Is There an Article in (Spoken) Estonian?--Estonian Typological Studies II, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 8), 146-177.

--1998, Eesti pronoomeneid II. Voru sjoo, taa ja tuu.--KK, 159-172.

--2001, Definite and Indefinite Determiners in Estonian.--Pragmatics in 2000. Selected Papers from the 7th International Pragmatics Conference, Antwerpen, 458-469.

--2005, Anaphoric pronouns in spoken Estonian.--Minimal Reference. The Use of Pronouns in Finnish and Estonian Discourse, Helsinki (SF. Linguistica), 107-134.

Pajusalu, R., Tragel, I., Veismann, A., Vija, M. 2004, Eesti keele tuumsonade semantikat ja pragmaatikat, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli uldkeeleteaduse oppetooli toimetised 5).

Seppanen, E.-L. 1998, Lasnaolon pronominit, Helsinki.

Siewierska, A. 2004, Person, Cambridge.

Tauli, V. 1966, Structural Tendencies in Uralic Languages, Bloomington--The Hague (UAS 17).

Varteva, A. 1998, Pronominit han ja tama tekstissa.--Vir., 202-221.

* The research for this article was partly funded by grant no. 5813 of the Estonian Science Foundation.

(1) Examples 4-8 come from the Tartu University Corpus of Standard Written Estonian.

Table 1

The system of Estonian demonstratives

 Proximal Distal Definite

South Estonian seo ~ sjoo taa tuu tuu

South Estonian with see too too

North Estonian

Standard Estonian and see (too) see
common spoken Estonian

North Estonian see see

Table 2

Pronouns see and too in fiction (the corpus of fiction texts of the
1980s of the Tartu University Corpus of Standard Written Estonian,
250,000 words). The table presents an analyses of the referentiality
of all occurrences of the demonstrative too and each fifteenth
occurrence of the demonstrative see

 animate object

 NP adnominal
see 7 6
too 40 (47%) 27 (31%)

 inanimate object

 NP adnominal
see 7 9
too 0 7

 abstract entity sum

 NP adnominal
see 55 (54%) 18 (18%) 102
too 1 11 86

Table 3

Demonstratives as determiners in time phrases
(fiction texts of the Tartu University Corpus
of Standard Written Estonian)

 Past Present or future

tol X-l 26 0
sel X-l 46 18
tookord 38 0
seekord 29 7
COPYRIGHT 2006 Estonian Academy Publishers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Pajusalu, Renate
Publication:Linguistica Uralica
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Previous Article:Lembit Vaba--60.
Next Article:Estonian clause patterns--from Finno-Ugric to standard average European/[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters