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Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

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Vol. 59, Issue 1
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KOORDINATIIVSED PARTIKLID LAUSE PERIFEERIAS; pp. 139–161

(Full article in PDF format) doi:10.3176/esa59.07


Authors

Helle Metslang, Karl Pajusalu, Külli Habicht

Abstract

Coordinative particles in the sentence periphery
Sentence content is often connected to context, the speaker’s assessments and the speech situation through elements located in the sentence periphery. Examining the Estonian particles või, ja, and aga, all of which have developed from coordinating conjunctions, the article aims to determine the following: 1) how symmetrical/asymmetrical Estonian sentences are; 2) which functions these particles perform in the left periphery (LP) and which in the right periphery (RP); whether the language data indicate shifts in meaning (from one function to another) and position (from one periphery to the other). The analysis is based on the language corpora of the University of Tartu.
 We distinguish the following functions: 1) text/discourse organization: drawing connections with the preceding or following text; 2) subjectivization, 3) intersubjectivization. Both the standard language and dialect show a symmetrical distribution of these functions, as all three are represented in both the LP and the RP. Subjective and intersubjective uses are found primarily in the LP, to a more limited extent in the RP; on both peripheries, the order of function shifts follows the scale nonsubjective > subjective > intersubjective. We also observe that uses established in the LP sometimes move to the RP, primarily through the mechanisms of afterthought and bridge contexts. The prominence of the left periphery in Estonian may reflect an areal phenomenon, since sentence-initial particles are common in the Circum-Baltic languages, unlike for example the RP-heavy Asian languages.

Keywords

subjectivization, intersubjectivization, interrogative particle, afterthought, Estonian

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