Number 4 2004

M. M. Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest, Karl Pajusalu, Grammar and Interaction: Introduction
Abstract. This volume of Linguistica Uralica presents studies conducted within the frame of the Estonian-French PARROT-project ”Estonian Politeness Strategies in the European Context”, supported by the Estonian Academy of Science in Estonia, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Centre for Scientific Research in France. The project brought together linguists of several research centers: University of Tartu, Tallinn Pedagogical University, CNRS Research Laboratory OSTERLITS (Paris), INALCO (Paris).

Helle Metslang, Imperative and Related Matters in Everyday Estonian
Abstract. The article deals with the use of the imperative and the jussive and the expression of directivity in everyday Estonian. The imperative may also be used to express an indirect command (although the jussive or the conditional could be used) and a modalized statement. Some formulas and particles develop from the imperative forms via lexicalization and/or grammaticalization. Besides the imperative, there are other means of expressing various nuances of a command. As a general rule, commands are usually softened so as to take the form of proposals or requests, whereas stronger, more direct forms are rarely used. The main strategies for softening commands include avoidance of straightforward directivity (modalized statements, questions; the conditional mood) and direct reference to the addressee of the command (subjectless sentences, experiential sentences, ambiguous personal forms).

Renate Pajusalu, Karl Pajusalu, The Conditional in Everyday Estonian: Its Form and Functions
Abstract. The paper focuses, first, on the morphological regularities of the conditional in Estonian everyday conversations, and then its functions. In the conditional mood Estonian has forms both with and without personal endings in the 1st and 2nd person singular and 3rd person plural. In addition to those a short or long form of a personal pronoun can occur with the verb form; the pronoun can be also left out. The present article will look at the relations between different forms and functions. Attention will be paid also on which verb stems the conditional marker is added to and how the conditional forms of different core verbs have received a specific lexicalized meaning.

Outi Duvallon, Antoine Chalvin, La réalisation zéro du pronom sujet de première et de deuxième personne du singulier en finnois et en estonien parlés
Abstract. En finnois et en estonien, les verbes à la première et à la deuxième personne peuvent s’employer sans pronom sujet. Cet article étudie les critères distributionnels qui caractérisent, dans des corpus de finnois et d’estonien parlés, les occurrences de verbes de 1re et de 2e personne du singulier non accompagnés de pronom sujet. Notre exposé attire l’attention sur quatre types de facteurs : 1) la réalisation zéro du pronom sujet s’explique par l’appartenance du verbe à une unité complexe au sein de laquelle la personne sujet a déjà été mise en scène, 2) l’omission du pronom sujet est motivée par l’antéposition au verbe d’un complément (facteur important en estonien parlé), 3) l’absence de pronom sujet est typique des énoncés soumis à une modalité orientée vers l’interlocuteur et 4) la réalisation zéro caractérise l’emploi de certains lexèmes verbaux, ainsi que certains contextes sémantiques et interactionnels.

M. M. Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest, Tiiu Grünthal-Robert, Typologie de l’ordre des mots dans l’interaction simulée : Essai sur le dialogue de théâtre estonien, finnois, français
Abstract. After laying a preliminary principle — validating simulated speech and translated texts for investigating linguistic typology — the authors attempt to apply to a trilingual corpus of theatre dialogues a methodology originally elaborated for the study of word order in an orally transmitted Finno-Ugric language (Northern Sami). The plays selected are the major works by the Finnish writer Aleksis Kivi — Nummisuutarit (Cobblers on the Land, 1864) — and the French master of the Theatre of the Absurd — Eugene Ionesco’s La cantatrice chauve (1950) — and their translations into the two other languages considered. The theoretical and methodological frame is set out: an Information Structuring based on three pragmatic discourse constituents, Theme—Rheme—Mneme. Similarities and differences of word order schemes, which can be interpreted in terms of universal tendencies vs. typological features, are brought out from the informational analysis of questions and answers in these ”simulated” oral dialogues. A tentative evaluation of the orality degree of the two corpora, and of its specific markers (e.g. detached constructions and discourse particles) in each of the three languages, conforts in the conclusion the primacy of a pragmatic/informational dimension for the study of this traditionally considered syntactic signifiant, word order.

Birute Klaas, Conditional Mood and Politeness in Lithuanian in Comparison with Estonian
Abstract. The article deals with the morphological forms and functions in Lithuanian, focusing on the possibilities to express volition and action in the framework of politeness strategy and comparing these functions with the functions of the conditional mood in Estonian. Also, the author provides examples of usage frequency of the verbs prašyti ’ask, request’, norėti ’want’, and siūliti ’advise’ in the indicative and conditional moods, in texts written for various purposes and spoken language. The article analyses the use of the politeness code in the transcripts of the Lithuanian Parliament and makes an attempt to establish the reasons why a speaker selects the indicative or the conditional mood for expressing volition or bringing forth some action. The data come from an electronic corpus of Lithuanian that is available on the home page of the Lithuanian Language Institute (


Huno R ä t s e p, Sõnaloo raamat, Tartu, Ilmamaa, 2002. Rez. von Ago Künnap

Auf der Titelseite: Mansische Landschaft (Foto Tuukka-Teeteri Uusitalo, 1998)