Abstract: In this paper I will argue that case-marking on the predicate of a small clause in Finno- Ugric languages reflects the complexity of the environment that the small clause finds itself in. I will show that the dynamic vs. stative nature of the main verb (presence or absence of the change-of-state presupposition), the (non-)deficient nature of the v (unaccusative vs. transitive), time-stable vs. transient interpretation of the copula and the lexical semantics of the verb (“light” verbs vs. all others) can all affect predicate case-marking. The resultant surface form, however, does not always correspond to the complex underlying specification, due to the fact that vocabulary insertion rules are characterized by underspecification and impoverishment. As a result, identical case labels can fail to indicate the differences in the underlying specification of a case-marked constituent even in closely related languages and within a single language. I will argue that observable patterns of predicate case-marking provide a strong argument against the hypothesis that a given constituent can bear only one case feature (cf. Merchant 2006, Caha 2007 and Richards 2007). Independently available data (cf. Plank 1995) suggest that the accumulation of case features on a single XP constituent need not reflect multiple case-assignment to this constituent, but rather involve caseassignment to larger constituents dominating XP.
Keywords: Case, Predication, Small clause, Change of state, PredP
Abstract: Our paper focuses on a new elliptical phenomenon in comparatives – Comparative Verb Gapping (CVG) – that has not been attested earlier in the literature. We will examine its relation to Comparative Deletion (CD), as described by a number of previous studies, both in Indo-European languages and then Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian. Besides providing a formal description of how CD and CVG are related, the paper will also provide a theoretical approach to CVG, reducing it to more general ellipsis processes.
Keywords: Comparative Verb Gapping, ellipsis, sluicing, comparative operator, finite verb
Abstract: The study presents experimental findings on new information subjects in Finnish. The main answering strategies that emerge in the collected data are discussed in light of recent studies within the cartographic framework (Belletti 2001, 2004, 2005). In null subject languages subject inversion is typically adopted in contexts in which the subject is new information. Conversely, in non null subject languages other strategies emerge, such as in situ focalization (e.g. English) and cleft sentences (e.g. French). Finnish is particularly interesting for its nature of partial null subject language (Holmberg et al. 2009). The unavailability of VS structures of the type observed in null subject languages and the presence of XPVS structures can be accounted for assuming that Finnish does not have a referential pro and the EPP can be satisfied by other lexical elements.
Keywords: Finnish, syntax, new information subject, focus, L1 data
Abstract: This paper focuses on a range of dependent clause types from Finnish, Saami and Turkish in order to evaluate a claim by Kornfilt (2007) that embedded nominalised clauses may be finite. The morphology of these languages allow embedded clauses to host affixes drawn from nominal agreement paradigms and others which signal temporal relationships relative to the main clause event. Drawing on proposals by Bianchi (2003), Adger (2007) and Holmberg & Platzack (1995), it is argued that embedded nominalised clauses fail to display the properties expected of finite clauses if tense and agreement are the categories which license a projection of finiteness (Fin0). The evidence presented here suggests that the nominalised clauses in question do not meet the relevant criteria for finiteness.
Keywords: finiteness, agreement, nominalization, Finnish, tense
Abstract: At a certain stage of its history, Hungarian seems to have gone through Jespersen’s Cycle, having substituted the original PU negative auxiliary with the negative particle nem, originally an indefinite pronoun. Opinions diverge concerning the details of this process, as the negative indefinite pronouns marked with nē- /nēm- in the Northern Ob- Ugric dialects may imply that certain phases of the emergence of the negative function of the indefinite pronoun can be traced back to Proto-Ugric. Even though this seems to be the most economical reconstruction, the present paper argues that data from the Ob- Ugric languages and from Old Hungarian both question the validity of this reconstruction. Negative indefinites marked with nē- /nēm- are more likely to be innovations of the Northern Ob-Ugric dialects, and indefinites marked with né- do not seem to occur at all in negative sentences in Old Hungarian (whereas quite a few other indefinites do). Therefore, this paper claims that the negative function of the particle nem developed independently in Hungarian, and also that it may have grammaticalized straight from the indefinite pronoun némi ’some(thing)’, without acquiring the negative meaning ’nothing’ prior to this process.
Keywords: Jespersen’s Cycle, Hungarian, Ob-Ugric, negative particle, indefinite pronoun
Abstract: The 11th International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies was one of the biggest conferences in the last years among the Finno-Ugric events. Finno-Ugric People and Languages in the 21st Century dealt mainly with the language and political situation of the Finno-Ugric languages in Russia. Recent researches on descriptive linguistics and new approaches to theoretical and typological issues were also presented at the Congress.
Keywords: Finno-Ugric Studies, typology, sociolinguistics, negation, syntax