ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Ahola, Elina

nyomtatható változat


Ahola, Elina (Turku)

Expressions of Will in the Mari Language1

This paper deals with the expressions of will in the Mari language, and these expressions’ connection to the context.
In Mari, there is no verb with the meaning ‘to want’. Instead, the expressions of will are constructed in several different ways. There is a productive mood called the desiderative2, with which one can form such expressions as to want to do (something). Even though all of the phrases with the meaning ‘to want to do (something)’ could, at least in theory, be expressed with the desiderative mood, some other verbal constructions are also used for the same purpose. These verbal consturctions are the following:

1. The verb šuaš (primary meaning ‘to arrive’) and a passive participle of a verb;
2. The verbs with primary meaning of ‘to wish (for), to intend (to), to think’.

In cases, where there is no main verb (expressions as to want something), the constructions mentioned above usually cannot be used. Instead, these kind of expressions of will are formed:

1. The noun kumәl (‘a will’) + the verb ‘to be’
2. The verb kelšaš (‘to please’)
3. The verb kyleš (‘must’)

Since there are several different constructions for the expressions of will, my object is to show, whether certain constuctions are preferred in certain contexts, or if the usage of the expressions of will is completely random. I will also consider the context’s relation to the interpretation of a certain expression. For instance, the phrase with the verb kelšaš can mean either that somebody is pleased with something or that somebody wants something. The only way of verifying which one is the correct meaning, is through context. Therefore it is important to know which kind of clues in the context lead towards the correct interpretation of the phrase and how wide of a context has to be taken into consideration.

Alhoniemi, Alho 1985: Marin kielioppi. Apuneuvoja X. Apuneuvoja suomalais-
ugrilaisten kielten opintoja varten. Suomalais-Ugrilainen seura, Helsinki.
Koskinen, Arja 1985: Modaalisuuden ilmaiseminen tšeremississä. Sivulaudaturtyö.
Turun yliopisto, suomalaisen ja yleisen kielitieteen laitos.
Moisio, Arto 1992: Marilais-suomalainen sanakirja. Turun yliopiston suomalaisen
ja yleisen kielitieteen laitoksen julkaisuja 41, Turku.

Language of presentation: English
1 There are two literary languages (based on different dialects) in Mari. Since the expressions of will are similar in both languages, I will in these occasion simply talk about a Mari language as one instead of Mari languages.

2 Term from Alhoniemi 1985.