eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society cover
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
Suulise relatiivlause süntaktilisi omadusi; pp. 99–119
PDF | 10.3176/esa67.06

Renate Pajusalu

This article explores the usage of relative clauses in spoken Estonian. The data come from the corpus of spoken Estonian (University of Tartu), and contain relative clauses beginning with the relativizers miskes and kus (in all cases). The collected data (410 relative clauses from institutional and non-institutional conversations) were coded for the syntactic role of the head NP and the relativizer, the position of the relative clause and the NP in the sentence etc.

The analysis reveals that the most frequent position for relative clause is after an NP at the end of the main clause (80% of all relative clauses in the data). The main clause is very often an existential clause, which typically features XVS word order. Copula clauses and transitive clauses are frequent before the relative clause as well. In these cases, the relative clause is typically attached to objects or predicatives. Some relative clauses (13% of the data), however, occur in the beginning of the main clause. In these cases, the relative clause is typically a so-called left dislocation, or a specific construction kes/mis ˗ see ‘which…. this’. Only 4 % of all relative clauses in the data occur after an NP in the middle of the main clause. This non-preferred construction is probably too difficult to process in conversation.


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