ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Habicht, Külli – Tragel, Ilona (Tartu)

nyomtatható változat

A story of the Estonian saama ‘get’: from motion verb to modal verb

In the presentation we will present an overview of the lexical and grammatical meanings of the Estonian verb saama ‘get’. We proceed from the standpoint of the grammaticalization approach that during the diachronic development the language unit undergoing grammaticalization becomes more and more abstract both semantically as well as functionally. This approach enables to draw the conclusion that the sources for the modern grammatical categories are lexically fully meaningful. In this article we present a “story” of the verb which has an origin of a motion verb. It is grammaticalized into a modal auxiliary and a future auxiliary via various transitional stages.
    Among the lexical meanings of the verb saama, the meanings of succeed/result, possess, and become are the most important ones in modern Estonian. Among the grammatical functions, the group of modal uses stands out: the auxiliary verb saama together with the da-infinitive (inf1) of the main verb is used in constructions expressing both participant-internal and participant-external possibility and necessity as well as in epistemic constructions. Furthermore, in the presentation we address the resultative-passive constructions of saama with the active past participle (app/-nud) and passive past participle (ppp/-tud). The process of grammatical replication that took place during the period of older Estonian (from the 16th to 19th century) due to the influence of German as a contact language is presented. In the translations of religious texts from this period, the saama verb was introduced into written Estonian as a fully-grammaticalized auxiliary verb expressing future.