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

Some Notes on Proximative and Avertive in Estonian; pp. 178-191

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2009.3.02

Mati Erelt, Helle Metslang

Estonian has both the verbal grammatical category of the proximative and the avertive, which could be treated as the unmarked and marked categories of the prospective. The proximative is mainly expressed either by means of the partly grammaticalized verbs ähvardama ’threaten’, tahtma ’want’, tõotama ’promise’, etc. (Puder ähvardas põhja kõrbeda ’the porridge threatened to boil away’), which is similar to many other European languages, or by means of the mas-construction (Vene väed on Gorist lahkumas ’the Russian forces are about to leave Gori’). In Estonian the avertive is morphologically not linked with proximativity. It is noteworthy from the typological perspective that the avertive auxiliary stems from the imperfect form of the verb pidama ’must, have to’, which expresses agent-oriented modality (Ta pidi oma kohast ilma jääma ’he was to lose his job’). The development occurred through the intermediate intentional stage, which in addition to the avertive gave rise to the quotative (Praegugi pidi neid mitmes kohas maas vedelema ’even now they are reported to be lying about on the ground in various places’).

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