ESTONIAN ACADEMY
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eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
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SINCE 1965
 
Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

Unmarked Object in the Uralic Languages. A Diachronic Typological Approach; pp. 1-33

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2008.1.01

Author
Ferenc Havas

Abstract
The conventional wisdom is that unmarked object existed in Proto-Uralic. Of the syntactic enviroments I would only exclude the occurrence of unmarked object next to ”passive” verbs from those that may have been ­inherited from the proto-language. For the remaining six environments inheritance from the proto-language is at least a possible alternative, in some cases the only one. Thus the efforts to derive unmarked object from the reanalysis of some other syntactic function of the nominative form are unjustified. The synchronic coex­istence of the syntactic structures found in the world’s languages is the deposi­tary of a historical relation in a diachronic-typological sense, which can be inter­preted in terms of a schematogony. In these terms, the most recent syntactic structure is the nominative pattern with subject and object as the typical cate­gories. Subject typifies the nominative pattern, but object is found already in triadic languages and is thus a prenominative category in itself. More clearly prenom­inative is its unmarked variant, whose origins go back to the proto-transi­tive and proto-active stages, where the category of object had not yet emerged. Consequently, unmarked object must be a prenominative inheritance in ­Uralic, one of those relics that make it possible to trace the prehistory of our languages in a diachronic-typological sense back into periods that are - justifiably - excluded from the scope of traditional comparative and historical research.
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