AEG EESTI MURRETES; PP. 265–295Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/esa58.13
Aeg ’time’ in Estonian dialects
The article focuses on the usage of the word aeg ’time’ in Estonian dialects; the material comes from the Corpus of Estonian Dialects, the preparation of which is underway at the University of Tartu and the Institute of the Estonian Language. The word aeg ’time’ is a high-frequency noun in the dialect corpus, whereas its usage reveals considerable variation. For the purpose of the present study the author collected 1899 forms of the word aeg; 1509 of them were used as time adverbials; 1256 expressed time of the action; the analysis focused on the latter. It appeared that the choice of the form depends, on the one hand, on the grammatical environment; it depends on whether the word is modified by a genitive or adjective attribute; on the other hand, different dialects employ different linguistic devices. The frequent combination with the pronominal extension see ’this’ (too ’that’), which usually is in the adessive, could be regarded as an adverbialized form. Among other dialects, the combination of the adessive pronoun and the partitive aeg is a distinctive feature of the Võru dialect. In the case of the adjective attribute, mostly the adessive form is used in all the dialects, and, thus, one is dealing with a clearly substantival use. Phrases with the genitive attribute reveal more variation – more western dialects show mostly the inessive, the insular dialects also the partitive; in the central dialect the nominative is common in such contexts. In other northern Estonian dialects the adessive is common. The Tartu dialect distinguishes an adpositional form, which is clearly a divergence from the case paradigm. However, in the Võru dialect it is morphologically not possible to make a distinction between the adposition and the partitive. In constructions with the genitive attribute, the forms of the word aeg can often be interpreted as the adposition; however, the morphological preferences differ in different dialects. The interpretation as the adposition is supported by the fact that usually another case (the adessive) is used in phrases with an adjective attribute.
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