Printer Friendly

Grammar and pragmatics: changes in the paradigm of the Estonian imperative/[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

The imperative is exceptional among the moods for the non-homogeneity of its personal form (see e.g. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] 1992; Bybee, Perkins, Pagliuca 1994 : 210). In different persons imperativity can take different morphological forms; even for the same person different means can be used at the same time. Some personal forms may be absent from the paradigm, which means that the imperative paradigm can be defective. Such variation is at least partly due to pragmatic reasons. The article discusses how (first and foremost) pragmatics has shaped the paradigm of the Estonian imperative and given rise to form and function shifts.

The second person forms have been regarded as central and the first and third person forms as peripheral imperative forms. The second person forms constitute the obligatory members of the paradigm, and from the morphological and semantic perspective they reveal less variation than the first and third person forms. The latter vary not only across languages but often language-internally, too. They may express various additional meanings, are subject to changes, and may be absent from the paradigm. These general regularities also concern the Estonian imperative.

Why is the second person imperative form, as in sentences (1) and (2), such a natural and simple way of expressing a command by comparison with other forms?

(1) Kutsu arst! call:IMP doctor:NOM 'Call the doctor'

(2) Kutsu-ge arst! call-IMP:2PL doctor:NOM 'Call the doctor'

Perhaps its is so because it is a natural command situation: the one who speaks orders the one whom he/she is speaking to to do something. In other words, it is a situation where the speaker issues a command, the listener is the recipient of the command and at the same time the actor of the prescribed action (e.g. the one who calls the doctor). Thus, the act of communication includes three situations: the speech (act) situation (the main participants of which are the speaker and the listener), the situation of forwarding specific communicative information (e.g. the command situation, the principal participants of which are the source and the recipient of the command), and the action situation (the propositional content of the sentence where the actor is the most important participant). The meanings of different verb forms and constructions and the different interpretations of the same form often depend on what kind of correspondences between these three situations are denoted by the form and what kind of communicative information is forwarded.

The article analyses imperative-related semantic and morphological shifts on the basis of correspondences between these three situations. The treatment is based on the work of Huno Ratsep (1971), who applied situational analysis to the treatment of verb forms. The schemes of situational structure take into account the following inter-component relations.

1. Speech situation: speaker, listener, third person, any person (x);

2. Transmission of communicative information: source, recipient, intermediator.

3. Action situation: the actor, event (abbr P); in the case of the las-construction also the actor-enabler of the verb laskma 'let';

The correspondences between the structures of the situation participants are the simplest and isomorphic in the case of the second person forms (Figure 1).

In the other persons the inter-situational correspondences are not that similar. In the first person plural the speaker acts at the same time as the source of the command and as a recipient (Figure 2).

The structure becomes more complicated in the case of the third person (Figure 3) where a new link is added to the chain--the recipient of the command and the actor who is neither the speaker nor the listener. The listener's role in the information transmission is to mediate the command.

The traditional morphological paradigm of the Estonian imperative is as follows (istuma 'sit'):
 Singular Plural

1st person - istu-ge-m
2nd person istu istu-ge
3rd person istu-gu istu-gu


The paradigm does not present accurately all the means of expressing a prototypical command in Estonian. The main shifts are as follows: first, in the case of the first person plural a command is more frequently expressed by means of the 1PL indicative (3) (the first person plural has to be omitted);second, by means of the 3 SG/PL imperative (4), the form with the las-particle is used side by side (5); third, the ku-/gu-marked form, similar to the las-form, may have other uses in addition to the 3rd person imperative.

(3) I s t u-m e! sit-1PL 'Let's sit down'

(4) Ta / nad i s t u - g u! (s)he / they sit-IMP:3 'Let him/her/them sit down'

(5) L a s ta / nad i s t u - b / i s t u -v a d / i s t u -d a! let (s)he / they sit-3SG / sit-3PL / sit-daINF 'Let him/her/them sit'

Actually, there are more ways to express imperativity, but all of them are pragmatically marked in one way or another (see e.g. Metslang 2004).

1. Means of expressing the first person plural imperative

In contemporary Estonian the gem-/kem-marked 1PL imperative form is used first and foremost in those cases where one wishes to emphasize the speaker's central role in the action expressed by the verb. The speaker calls the listener to join the action. At this the pragmatic goal could be to diminish one's own role by engaging the listener (6) or to soften the command directed at the listener by assuming the main responsibility (7), (8). The gem-/kem-imperative is a typical public-speech imperative, especially in festive rhetoric. This phenomenon belongs to the formal register and does not occur in spontaneous speech.

(6) Kuid r o h u t a-g e-m veel kord--but emphasize-IMP-1PL yet once ajalooteadmisel on kaugelt rohkem tarbijaid kui teadlased ise, publikuks on tegelikult terve uhiskond 'However, let us emphasize once again that historical knowledge has many more consumers than only the scholars, the audience is, actually, the entire society' (NEWS (1))

(7) O p p i - g e - m koigepealt selge-ks oma keel learn-IMP-1Pl at_first clear-TRNSL own language:NOM ja oma-d laulu-d, and own-PL:NOM song-PL:NOM siis suudame ka muu maailma kultuurivaartusi paremini moista 'At first let us learn our language and songs. Then we will be able to understand better the world's cultural treasures' (NEWS)

(8) O s a - k e - m se-da hinna-ta! can-IMP-1PL this-PRTV appreciate-daINF 'Let's learn to appreciate it' (FICT) As noted, the indicative 1PL form has become to express a pragmatically unmarked command (9).

(9) K u t s u-m e arsti! call-1PL doctor:GEN 'Let's call the doctor'

Its first meaning expresses the statement where the speaker is the message source, the listener is the message recipient, and the speaker together with the listener (in the case of the inclusive 'we'-form, Figure 4) or with some third person (exclusive 'we'-form) serve as the actor.

Figure 2 shows that a shift in the imperative function brings about a change in the modal meaning from a statement into a command, and the speaker is included among the recipients of the command.

The same kind of substitution has taken place also in other Finnic languages, with the exception of Finnish where the (impersonal) passive is often used instead of the 1PL imperative, for example (10). Though in Finnish, too, the same form acts at the same time as the 'we'-form of the imperative and indicative (11).

(10) I s t u-t a a n! sit-PASS 'Let's sit down'

(11) Me i s t u -t a a n tassa we sit-PASS here 'We're sitting here'

The 1PL indicative has completely replaced the 1PL imperative in Votic, Ingrian, and Livonian. In the other Finnic languages both forms are used (Kont 1963 : 145-153). In contemporary Standard Estonian the 1PL indicative in the meaning of the imperative does not presume that the speaker should act as the leader. Rather, the speaker and the listener are partners in the action expressed by the verb. Also, the indicative imperative differs from the gem-/kem-imperative in that unlike the latter it cannot be used with verbs of knowing. Compare the imperatives (12a), (13a) and the examples with indicative forms that are impossible in the imperative function (12b), (13b).

(12a) T o d e - g e -m aga se-da, acknowledge-IMP-1PL however this-PRTV et narkootikumiprobleem on meile ikkagi uus 'However, let us acknowledge that the drug issue is new to us' (NEWS)

(12b) *T o d e -m e aga se-da, acknowledge-1PL however this-PRTV et narkootikumiprobleem on meile ikkagi uus

(13a) O s a - k e - m Riviera-mees-te pingutusi hinna-ta can-IMP-1PL Riviera-man-PL:GEN effort:PL:PRTV appreciate-daINF 'Let us learn to appreciate the efforts by men like Riviera' (NEWS)

(13b) *O s k a - m e Riviera-mees-te pingutusi hinna-ta can-1PL Riviera-man-PL:GEN effort:PL:PRTV appreciate-daINF

One of the indicators to what degree the me-marked form has grammaticalized into the imperative is the case form of its total object. In the case of the imperative the singular total object is in the nominative (14), in the case of the indicative it is in the genitive (15). In the standard language, though, the imperative indicative has retained the government that is characteristic of the indicative (16), which proves that that the grammaticalization process has not reached its final stage as yet.

(14) Vii-ge-m p o i s s koju! take-IMP-1PL boy:NOM home 'Let's take the boy home'

(15) Me v i i - m e poisi koju we take-1PL boy:GEN home 'We'll take the boy home'

(16) Vii-me p o i s i koju! take-1PL boy:GEN home 'Let's take the boy home'

The dialects, however, reveal such examples where the indicative imperative 1PL has become part of the imperative paradigm with regard to the object use, too, for example (17).

(17) Panem u k s (NOM) kinni (Haademeeste dialect; Juhkam, Sepp 2000 : 55) 'Let's close the door'

The distribution area of the shift is unclear. Villem Grunthal (1941 : 27, 42) considered the shift to be a southern feature. According to Karl Kont (1963 : 145-146) it can be found in other dialects, too, all over Estonia, for example (18), and also in the dialect-inspired standard language of the 19th century, for example (19).

(18) Votame l e h m (NOM) ka kaasa (Mihkli dialect) 'Let's take the cow along, too'

(19) Noh, pojuke, viime nuud k u u s k (NOM) koju! (J. K u n d e r, Muru Miku meele algus, 1889) 'Well, sonny, let's take the spruce home now'

Evi Juhkam and Aldi Sepp (2000 : 55) narrow the distribution area further, possibly confining it to the Western North Estonian and Mulgi South Estonian dialects. Incidentally, Andrus Saareste (1937 : 43), unlike Johannes Aavik (1936 : 121), did not consider the nominative object to be impossible in the case of the imperative indicative even in the standard language. He recommended to adjust the object rules so that sentences like (20) would be acceptable, too.

(20) Votame s e e m e e s (NOM) kaasa! 'Let's take this man along'

There is no reason to doubt that the function shift in Estonian was caused by the same factors that allowed to use the present or future indicative 1PL forms (in Estonian and Finnish the present) as the imperative 1PL form in many other languages (Hrakovskij 1992; Bybee, Perkins, Pagliuca 1994 : 240), including German and Russian that have served as contact languages for Estonian (21), (22). (2) (The impact of the latter may have amplified the change.)

(21) S e t z e n wir uns 'Let's sit down'

(22) P o s i d i m! 'Let's sit down'

The factors are the following: 1) frequent uninformativeness of the primary use of the present inclusive indicative 1PL (describing one's own and his/her current or future action to the interlocutor); 2) non-typicalness of the meaning of the imperative 1PL form (characteristically, the issuer of the command and the recipient do not belong together); 3) wish to emphasize the togetherness and solidarity of the speaker with the listener in a prescribed event: the indicative interprets the speaker and the listener as equal actors.

2. ku-/gu-marked form

The gu-/ku-marked imperative 3SG/PL form has given rise to many problems. The reason for this is that the gu-/ku-form can be associated also with the 1st and 2nd person pronouns, which allows to speak about a separate mood that is different from the usual imperative:
 Singular Plural

1st person ma istu-gu me istu-gu
2nd person sa istu-gu te istu-gu
3rd person ta istu-gu nad istu-gu


Because the history of treating the gu-/ku-forms has been described in an earlier paper (Erelt 2002), there is no need to dwell upon it in greater detail. Only the most important stages will be mentioned below. First of all, it is not a recent phenomenon, but such 1st and 2nd person forms can be found already in the language of folk songs and in the grammar by Hornung in the 17th century.

(23) S a a g u sa soossa surema, / Kannu otsa kanguma (folk song) 'May you die in the swamp / stunt on a stump'

(24) P i d d a g o minna/sinna/temma/ (Hornung 1693 : 76) 'I/you/he must'

Thus, it is not so that the imperative 3rd person form was later generalized into the other persons, as some linguists have thought. The first Estonian-language grammars (Weske 1879 : 71, 74; Hermann 1884 : 99) call this paradigm the o p t a t i v e, (3) apparently considering both the meaning and the origin of the form (-gu/-ku proceeds from the optative marker *-ko/-ko, see e.g. Leskinen 1970; Laanest 1975 : 154). Thereafter grammarians neglected the paradigm for a long time. The existence and peculiarity of this paradigm was rediscovered only in the 1960s by Fanny de Sivers (1969 : 60-61), Mati Hint (1969 : 335), and Huno Ratsep (1971). However, they did not regard this paradigm as expressing wish but a reported command. Unlike the others, H. Ratsep did not treat the gu-/ku-paradigm as a mood paradigm. He introduced a new category into the Estonian grammatical description--the category of the mode of reporting. This category renders the relationship between the speaker and the message source and has two members: the direct mode of reporting or the directal and the intermediating mode of reporting or the indirectal. According to H. Ratsep, the common imperative or the direct imperative represents the direct mode of reporting, but the gu-/kuparadigm represents the indirect mode of reporting. In the first case the speaker is at the same time the source of message, e.g. (27); however, in the second case (28a), (28b) the source of message is someone else, and the speaker only mediates the message (Figure 5). Actually, H. Ratsep introduced the notion of e v i d e n t i a l i t y into the Estonian grammatical description already in the early 1970s without using this term, though.

(27) K i r j u t a-g e vanaema-le kiri! write-IMP:2PL grandma-ALL letter 'Write a letter to grandma'

(28a) Ema utl-es, et lapse-d k i r j u t a-g u vanaema-le kiri mother say-PST that child-PL write-gu grandma-ALL letter 'Mother said that the kids should write a letter to grandma'

(28b) Ema utle-s, et mina k i r j u t a-g u vanaema-le kiri mother say-PST that I write-gu grandma-ALL letter 'Mother said that I should write a letter to grandma'
Figure 5

Evidential imperative (Juri utles, et Peeter kutsugu arst
'Juri said that Peter should call a doctor')

SPEECH SITUATION third person speaker listener x
 or listener

INFORMATION
TRANSMISSION SITUATION source mediator - recipient
ACTION SITUATION - - - actor

Information: command


Tiit-Rein Viitso then claimed that the gu-/ku-marked paradigm is still a separate mood and called it the concessive mood (moonev koneviis) or the jussive (jussiiv) (Viitso 1976). (4) The Academic Grammar of Estonian (EKG), published in the first half of the 1990s, adopted both the system of moods suggested by T.-R. Viitso and the names of the moods. However, the grammar states that the principal meaning of the mood is not concession but reported command. Unfortunately, the authors of the grammar understood reportedness in a somewhat broader meaning than H. Ratsep who had in mind only that the source of the message (statement or command) is not the speaker but an outside person. The authors of the academic grammar treated as reported commands also those cases where the recipient of the command is not the same as the listener but is someone else. Actually, this jussive covered all the imperative structures with more than two links and where some member served as a mediator (see Figures 3 and 5). It brought about the need to change the paradigm of the (direct) imperative. The 3rd person imperative was dropped from the imperative paradigm because it is always mediated if the reportedness of the command is treated so broadly. According to the academic grammar the imperative paradigm has only the 2nd person singular and the 1st and 2nd person plural forms, cf. e.g. the forms of kirjutama 'to write':
 Singular Plural

1st person - kirjutagem
2nd person kirjuta kirjutage
3rd person - -


However, Mati Erelt's (2002) return to the optative in the sense of M. Veske and K. A. Hermann is so far the most recent link in the long chain of treatments of the gu-/ku-marked paradigm. Below are some additional comments concerning this step.

Although it is widely thought that the gu-/ku-marked paradigm came into existence because the 3rd person imperative form was generalized into the other persons, the opposite development is more likely. Rather, the source meaning of the gu-/ku-paradigm is wish or necessity, as in examples (29), (30), (23), and (24). Later this meaning gave rise, on the one hand, to the imperative meaning, and, on the other hand, to the evidential and the concessive meanings.

(29) T u l - g u juba kevad! come-OPT already spring 'May spring come already'

(30) Poliitiku-d m o e l-g u rohkem rahva peale! politician-PL think-OPT more people:GEN POSTP 'Politicians should think more of people'

Figure 6 presents the situation structure of the optative.

In the case of the optative meaning the speaker declares the listener that he/she regards event P (arrival of spring, politicians' thinking for people) as desirable, necessary, etc. At the same time P is not subjected to the speaker's influence and the meaning lacks directiveness--it is only informative and is not aimed at implementation. The realization of P can be in reality both possible or impossible.

2.1. Optative as the source of the 3rd person imperative

The data of Estonian and other languages support the view that the optative meaning serves as the source for the other meanings of the form. As noted, the full paradigm with the optative marker and the optative meaning occurs already in the language of folk songs. And other languages provide many examples of the optative being used in the function of the imperative or the optative having developed into the imperative form (see e.g. Hrakovskij 1992; Kuznecova 1994). (5) The 3rd person imperative (see Figure 3) is the most suitable transition point; in that case the command is directed at a outside person who cannot be directly influenced. The function change is manifested in the genesis of directiveness; the listener undergoes a change from a mere listener into a mediator of the command. Most uses of the 3rd person, e.g. (31), can be interpreted as transitional cases where the wish or necessity that something should happen with regard to some third party stands in the foreground. At the same time there are also such examples where the gu-/ku-form expresses a command that is directed at the participants in the speech situation (listeners), e.g. (32).

(31) Kes rahul ei ole, k u s i - g u kaebus-te raamatu-t who pleased NEG be ask-IMP:3 complaint-PL:GEN box-PRTV 'Those who are not pleased should ask for the suggestion box'

(32) Ants ja Juri j a a - g u siia, teised voivad ara minna! Ants and Juri stay-IMP:3 here others may away go:daINF 'Ants and Juri are requested to stay, the others may leave'

The pure optative meaning is rather rare; perhaps its purest form occurs in curses (and in the case of non-agentive events), as in (33).

(33) V a j u - g u ta maa alla! sink-OPT (s)he ground POSTP 'May he sink underground'

2.2. Optative as the source of the evidential imperative

A wish originating from the speaker may be replaced by a command from an outside (speech-situation-external) person (34)-(36); in other words, the optative meaning is replaced by the evidential imperative meaning (see Figure 5). The source of the command is a third person or a listener (in the examples arst 'doctor', te 'you') or the source may be not mentioned (36). The recipient can be any person (in scheme x, in the examples Ott, me 'we', mina 'I').

(34) Arst utle-s, et Ott o o d a - k u ukse taga doctor say-PST that Ott wait-IMP:EV door POSTP 'The doctor said that Ott should wait behind the door'

(35) Te utle-si-te, et me o o d a - k u ukse taga You say-PST-2PL that we wait-IMP:EV door POSTP 'You said that we should wait behind the door'

(36) Mina i s t u - g u toa-s, kui teise-d palli mangi-vad I sit-IMP:EV room-INESS when other-PL ball:PRTV play-3PL 'Why should I be sitting inside when the others are playing ball'

The meaning of necessity that often accompanies optativeness facilitates the transition from the optativeness scheme (Figure 6) to the evidentiality scheme (Figure 5). Vague necessity as in example (37) develops into compulsion from an outside source (38).

(37) Poliitiku-d m o e l - g u rohkem rahva peale! politician-PL think-OPT more people:GEN POSTP 'Politicians should think more about people'

(38) Valija-d noud-sid, et poliitiku-d m o e l - g u Voter-PL demand-PST:3PL that politician-PL think-IMP:EV rohkem rahva peale! more people:GEN POSTP

'The voters demanded that politicians should think more about people' Another contributing factor is that both in the case of optative and evidential interpretation the agent can be any person (actor = x).

The reference to the outside source of command is more clearly manifested in the 1st person--example (36) and the 2nd person, but is not impossible in the 3rd person either. It is explicitly manifested in reports (34) ja (35).

2.3. Optative as a source of the concessive

The third semantic shift originating from the optative is the concessive interpretation of the ku-/gu-form (Figure 7, examples (39)-(41)).

(39) V a i e l-g u nad pealegi, kull nad ukskord argue-CONCESS they all_right certainly they once ara tudi-vad away get_bored-3PL 'They could argue as long as they like, I'm sure that the'll get bored in the end'

(40) S a d a - g u homme kas voi lun-d, siiski fall-CONCESS tomorrow even snow-PRTV nevertheless lahe-me matka-ma go-2PL hike-maINF 'Even if it should snow tomorrow, we'll go hiking nevertheless'

(41) O l - g u ma pealegi noor ja rumal, aga be-CONCESS I all_right young and foolish but kull ma kasva-n certainly I grow-1SG

'I might be young and foolish, but someday I'll grow up'

The path from the optative to the concessive is rather easy. The action structure is almost the same: the speaker informs the listener of his/her attitude towards an event, where the actor is any person with the exception of the listener. (The imperative is used in the case of the listener: O l e sa pealegi noor ja rumal ... 'You may be young and foolish ...') Similarly to the optative, P is not subjected to the influence of the speaker. However, the other modal characteristics are different: P will take place anyway and the speaker's attitude is negative or neutral. Concession is toleration or consent with something that cannot be changed. The particles pealegi and kas voi help to express it in the sentence. The concessive is often based on means that express permissiveness and capability (Bybee, Perkins, Pagliuca 1994 : 227). The same is true of Estonian where, on the one hand, one can find the las-construction and the ku-/gu-form; on the other hand, modal constructions also act as concessives (42), cf. (39).

(42) Nad v o i - v a d ju v a i e l-d a, kull nad ukskord they may-3PL yet argue-daINF certainly they once ara tudi-vad away get_bored-3PL 'They may argue as much as they like, I'm sure that the'll get bored in the end'

3. las-construction

Previously it has appeared that the optative provides at least three developments: 1) 3rd person imperative, 2) evidential imperative, 3) concessive. The same developments originate from the permissive las-construction (for a detailed discussion see Metslang 2000): in addition to the imperative meaning of the 3rd person (43), the construction has some evidential (44)-(46) and concessive (47)-(49) uses. The semantic shifts and parallels with the ku-/gu-form possibly support each other (see Figure 8).

(43) L a s Peeter k u t s u-b arsti let Peeter call-3SG doctor:GEN 'Let Peeter call the doctor'

(44) Arst utle-s, et l a s Ott o o t a - bukse taga doctor say-PST that let Ott wait-3SG door:GEN POSTP 'The doctor said that Ott should wait behind the door'

(45) Ma utle-si-n, et l a s Ott o o t a - bukse taga I say-PST-1SG that let Ott wait-3SG door:GEN POSTP 'I said that Ott should wait behind the door'

(46) Te utle-si-te, et l a s me o o t a - m e ukse taga you say-PST-2PL that let we wait-1PL door:GEN POSTP 'You said that we should wait behind the door'

(47) L a s nad v a i d l e-v a d pealegi, kull nad ukskord let they argue-3PL all_right certainly they once ara tudi-vad away get_bored-3PL 'They may argue as long as they like, I'm sure they will get bored in the end'

(48) L a s t u l e - bsuvi, kull ma siis soida-n sulle let come-3SG summer certainly I then drive-1SG you:ALL kulla on_a_visit 'When summer arrives, I'll come to visit you'

(49) L a s ma t e e - n selle eksami ara, siis tee-me let I do-1SG this:GEN exam:GEN away then do-1PL peo party:GEN 'I'll pass this exam and then we'll throw a party'

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

The form with the las-particle has developed from the permissive use of this particle, which in its turn originates from the causative-permissive construction laskma + da-infinitive: lase kutsuda 'let invite', lase istuda 'let sit'. The source construction has a complex meaning: the speaker orders the listener to allow some third person or the speaker to do P: las ma istun 'allow me to sit', las me istume 'allow us to sit', las ta istub 'allow him to sit', las nad istuvad 'allow them to sit'. The permissive use is possible with the 1st and 3rd person but not with the 2nd person: *las sa istud 'allow you to sit', *las te istute 'pl allow you to sit'. The semantics of the source form lase does not allow the use of the second person: allowing cannot be directed at oneself. One cannot say lase ennast istuda 'allow oneself to sit', thus one cannot say lase sa istud 'allow you to sit' or las sa istud 'allow you to sit' either.

Figure 9 shows the situation structure of the permissive construction --both of the source structure with the verb form lase (50a, 50b) and of the grammaticalized structure with the particle las (51a, 51b).

(50a) L a s e min-d ~ mu-l m a g a - d a let:IMP:2SG I-PRTV I-ADESS sleep-daINF 'Let me sleep'

(50b) L a s e las-t ~ lapse-l m a g a - d a let:IMP:2SG child-PRTV child-ADESS sleep-daINF 'Let the child sleep'

(51a) L a s ma m a g a-n let I sleep-1SG 'Let me sleep'

(51b) L a s laps m a g a - b let child sleep-3SG 'Let the child sleep'

3.1. Function of the 3rd person imperative

A comparison of the situation structure of the permissive construction (Figure 9) and the situation structure of the 3rd person imperative (Figure 3) reveals a number of common features. Both have a three-link structure; the first link is the speaker who is at the same time the source of the command (to do something or to enable the doing of something), and finally there is some third party who is at the same time the actor--the one who receives the command or who is allowed to act. The middle link is the listener who reports the command in the case of the 3rd person imperative but allows some third party to act in the case of the permissive construction. The developments of the las-constructions are characterized by a decrease in complexity: loss of enablement in the action situation in the meaning of the las-stem, loss of the role of enabler in the listener, respectively. In the functional shift to imperative the third person of the speech situation (being at the same time actor) changes to recipient of the command, and the listener assumes the role of the mediator of the command. In the case of the permissive construction the speaker, too, can be the one whose action is enabled (50a), (51a). However, it has not given rise to the imperative form of the 1st person because the latter is atypical.

3.2. Function of the evidential imperative

The shift from permissiveness to the evidential imperative (Figure 9) is somewhat similar to the shift to the 3rd person imperative: the role of the enabler at whom the command was directed disappears from the action situation, and the actor becomes the recipient of the command (who does not coincide with the listener). The source of the command, however, will be left out from the speech situation.

(44) Arst utle-s, et l a s Ott o o t a - bukse taga doctor say-PST that let Ott wait-3SG door:GEN POSTP 'The doctor said that Ott should wait behind the door'

(45) Ma utle-si-n, et l a s Ott o o t a - bukse taga I say-PST-1SG that let Ott wait-3SG door:GEN POSTP 'I said that Ott should wait behind the door'

(46) Te utle-si-te, et l a s me o o t a - m e ukse taga you say-PST-2PL that let we wait-1PL door:GEN POSTP 'You said that we should wait behind the door'

3.3. Concession

The shift from permission (Figure 9) to concession (Figure 7) consists in the disappearance of the role of the enabler and a change in the modal meaning. The listener becomes a passive hearer; neither the speaker nor the listener can control what is happening--one can only put up with it or agree (47). The permissive use of the las-construction provides a clause with the temporal meaning--time, too, runs its course independently of people (48), (49).

(47) L a s nad v a i d l e-v a d pealegi, kull nad ukskord Let they argue-3PL all_right certainly they once ara tudi-vad away get_bored-3PL 'They may argue as long as they like, I'm sure they will get bored in the end'

(48) L a s t u l e - bsuvi, kull ma siis soida-n sulle let come-3SG summer certainly I then drive-1SG you:ALL kulla on_a_visit 'When summer arrives, I'll come to visit you'

(49) L a s ma t e e - n selle eksami ara, siis tee-me let I do-1SG this:GEN exam:GEN away then do-1PL peo party:GEN 'I'll pass this exam and then we'll throw a party'

Conclusions

The singular and plural 2nd person forms are central and stable in the paradigm of the Estonian imperative. The other forms are characterized by variation in use and forms, which points to definite function shifts. The shifts are caused by pragmatic and semantic factors; they have an important role in the situation structure and communicative function.

The indicative form is mostly used instead of the 1st person plural imperative. Both forms, however, have their own usage area and nuances. The ku-/gu-marked original optative form and the permissive construction with the particle las show similar developments into: 1) the third person imperative form, 2) evidential imperative, and 3) concessive. The grammaticalization of the shifts under discussion is still underway: the indicative form acting as the imperative form has not acquired the object government as yet, and the source meaning of the las-construction is still affecting its behavior ruling out the use of the 2nd person forms.

Figure 10 shows the relations discussed in the article.

[FIGURE 10 OMITTED]

Abbreviations and symbols

EKG--M. Erelt, R. Kasik, H. Metslang, H. Rajandi, K. Ross, H. Saari, K. Tael, S. Vare, Eesti keele grammatika I. Morfoloogia ja sonamoodustus; II. Suntaks. Lisa: kiri, Tallinn 1995; 1993.

ADESS--adessive; ALL--allative; CONCESS--concessive; daINF--dainfinitive; EV--evidential; GEN--genitive; IMP--imperative; maINF--mainfinitive; NEG--negation; NOM--nominative; OPT--optative; P--event; PASS--passive; PL--plural; POSTP--postposition; PRTV--partitive; PST--past; TRNSL--translative; x--any person.

[??]--belongs to; 1PL--1st person in plural; 1SG--1st person in singular; 2PL--2nd person in plural; 2SG--2nd person in singular; 3--3rd person; 3PL - 3rd person in plural; 3SG--3rd person in singular.

REFERENCES

Aavik, J. 1936, Eesti oigekeelsuse opik ja grammatika, Tartu.

Ahrens, E. 1853, Grammatik der Ehstnischen Sprache Revalschen Dialektes, Reval.

Bybee, J., Perkins, R., Pagliuca, W. 1994, The Evolution of Grammar. Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World, Chicago-London.

de Sivers, F. 1969, Analyse grammaticale de l'estonien parle, Clermont-Ferrand.

Erelt, M. 2001, Some Notes on the Grammaticalization of the Verb pidama in Estonian.--Estonian: Typological Studies V, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 19), 7-25.

--2002, Does Estonian Have the Jussive?--LU XXXVIII, 110-117.

Grunthal, W. 1941, Itamerensuomalaisten kielten yksikon nominatiivi objektin edustajana aktiivin yhteydessa. Lauseopillinen tutkimuskoe, Helsinki 1941 (SKST 218).

Hentschel, E., Weydt, H. 1994, Handbuch der deutschen Grammatik, Berlin-New York.

Hermann, K. A. 1884, Eesti keele grammatik, Tartu.

Hint, M. 1969, Eesti grammatikakirjanduse pohimottelised ja konkreetsed probleemid.--KK, 327-341.

Hornung, J. 1693, Grammatica Esthonica, Riga.

Juhkam, E., Sepp. A. 2000, Laanemurde tekstid, Tallinn (Eesti murded VIII).

Kont, K. 1963, Kaandsonaline objekt laanemeresoome keeltes, Tallinn (KKIU IX).

Laanest, A. 1975, Sissejuhatus laanemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn.

Leskinen, H. 1970, Imperatiivin muodostus itamerensuomalaisissa kielissa I, Helsinki (Suomi 115 : 2).

Metslang, H. 2000, Reflections on the Development of a Particle in Estonian.--Estonian: Typological Studies IV, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 14), 59-86.

--2004, Imperatiivi kasutamisest eesti ja soome keeles (Paper presented at the Estonian-Finnish contrastive seminar held in Manniku, 8.-9. 05. 2004).

Muiczniece, L., Metslang, H., Pajusalu, K. 1999, Past Participle Finitization in Estonian and Latvian.--Estonian: Typological Studies III, Tartu. (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 11), 128-157.

Palmer, F. R. 2001, Mood and Modality, Cambridge (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics).

Ratsep, H. 1971, Kas kaudne koneviis on koneviis?--Keel ja struktuur 5, Tartu, 45-69.

Saareste, A. 1937, Eesti oigekeelsuse paevakusimustest. Johannes Aaviku "Eesti oigekeelsuse opik ja grammatika" ilmumise puhul, Tartu.

Weske, M. 1879, Eesti keele healte opetus ja kirjutuse viis, Tartus.

Viitso, T.-R. 1976, Eesti muutkondade susteemist.--KK, 148-162.

Wiedemann, F. J. 1875, Grammatik der Ehstnischen Sprache, St.-Petersbourg.

[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]--LU XXX, 203-216.

MATI ERELT (Tartu), HELLE METSLANG (Tallinn)

* The study was funded by the Estonian Science Foundation (grant No. 5202) and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (target-financed theme 01800536s98).

(1) The examples labelled NEWS and FICT come from the 1990s subcorpus of the Tartu University Corpus of Standard Estonian, meaning journalistic and fiction texts, respectively.

(2) In the case of German it has been claimed that it is not the indicative but a secondary use of the conjunctive because the verbs sein and wissen show different forms in the indicative and the conjunctive (Hentschel, Weydt 1994 : 115).

(3) In earlier Estonian grammars, however, the term optative stood for the conditional.

(4) For the various uses of the terms imperative and jussive see e.g. Palmer 2001 : 81.

(5) Actually, it is possible to thin down the meaning of command to wish, cf. the Estonian Pea vastu, kallis! 'Hold out, dear'; Ela hasti! 'Good luck'. N. Kuznecova (Kuznecova 1994 : 204) provides Selkup examples of the transposition imperative [right arrow] optative. At the same time it cannot be argued that the opposite process is much more common.
Figure 1

2 SG/PL imperative (Kutsu arst, kutsuge arst 'Call the doctor')

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener
INFORMATION TRANSMISSION SITUATION source recipient
ACTION SITUATION -- actor

Information: command

Figure 2

1 PL imperative (Hoidkem tervist 'Let's maintain our health')

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener
INFORMATION TRANSMISSION SITUATION source, recipient recipient
ACTION SITUATION actor actor

Information: command

Figure 3

3rd person imperative (Peeter kutsugu arst 'Peter should
call a doctor')

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener third person
INFORMATION TRANSMISSION SITUATION source mediator recipient
ACTION SITUATION -- -- actor

Information: command

Figure 4

Inclusive 1PL indicative (Me kutsume arsti 'We'll call a doctor)

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener
INFORMATION TRANSMISSION SITUATION source recipient
ACTION SITUATION actor actor
Information: statement
Development: imperative
 Information change: statement [right arrow] command
 Situation change: speaker [member of] recipient

(1) The examples labelled NEWS and FICT come from the 1990s
subcorpus of the Tartu University Corpus of Standard Estonian,
meaning journalistic and fiction texts, respectively.

Figure 6

Optative (Saagu ta terveks! 'May he get well!')

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener x
INFORMATION TRANSMISSION SITUATION recipient repicient -
ACTION SITUATION - - actor

Information: deontic modal judgement: wish, necessity
Developments:

 1) 3rd person imperative
 Information change: wish, necessity [right arrow] command;
 situation change: listener = mediator, x [right arrow] third
 2) reported imperative
 Information change: wish, necessity [right arrow] command
 Situation change: speaker = mediator
 3) concessive
 Information change: wish, necessity [right arrow] agreeing
 statement

Figure 7
Concessive (Sadagu pealegi lund 'Even if it should snow')

 third person
SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener or speaker

INFORMATION
TRANSMISSION SITUATION source recipient --
ACTION SITUATION -- -- actor

Information: agreeing statement

Figure 9

Situation structure of the permissive construction
(Las ma kutsun arsti 'Let me call the doctor')

SPEECH SITUATION speaker listener third person or speaker
INFORMATION
TRANSMISSION SITUATION source recipient -
ACTION SITUATION - enabler actor

Information: order to enable P
Developments:

 1) imperative 3rd person
 Information change: order to allow P [right arrow] order
 to do P
 Situation change: enabler disappears, actor = recipient,
 listener = mediator
 2) reported imperative
 Information change: order to allow P [right arrow] order
 to do P
 Situation change: enabler disappears, actor = recipient,
 speaker = mediator
 3) concessive
 Information change: order to allow P [right arrow] statement
 Agreeing with P
 Situation change: enabler disappears
COPYRIGHT 2004 Estonian Academy Publishers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Erelt, Mati; Metslang, Helle
Publication:Linguistica Uralica
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:6455
Previous Article:Urmas Sutrop, The vocabulary of sense perception in Estonian. Sructure and history.
Next Article:Reconnecting and reconsidering. Remarks on the final discussion of the international linguistic symposium "reconnecting Finnic", hold in Helsinki,...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters