ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Hamunen, Markus (Helsinki)

nyomtatható változat

Finnish infinitive adjuncts of manner/means and the grammar of context(s)

Very often a linguistic term context has been considered as such socio-linguistic environment, where a word, an expression etc. has been embedded in actual language usage. This includes both syntagmatic ‘co-text’ (distribution, collocations, topic/focus etc.) and extra-linguistic ‘social context’ (common ground/shared mind, situational settings etc.) as well (Traugott 2010), which alltogether clearly designates discourse context. However, one may plead for a thought in which context, as its most conventionalized form, can be seen as (an emic) part of any linguistic item.
With this theoretical idea I will grab onto two Finnish non-finite verb forms, which share, with some tricky overlappings, functional domains of manner/means-of-action (1a-b).
(1a) kun kettu tulo-o juos-tej ja (LAX) [manner]
when fox.nom come-prs.3sg run-2inf.ins and
‘when a fox comes running and’
(1b) suutari-kki tekke-e pohojaa-malla heti niin sanottuja
cobbler.nom-too make- prs.3sg bottom-3inf.ade right.away so called
siivakenk-i-ä (LAX) [means]
‘a cobbler/shoemaker produces indeed so called [certain type of] siiva-shoes by the method of bottoming [them]’
Now, 2. infinitive instructive (or ten-construction) prototypically modifies manner of finite verb (1a), whereas 3. infinitive adessive’s (or malla-construction’s) prototypical context is that of means (1b). Both infinitives are syntactic adjuncts, and with this respect they are in-line, but their semantic structures differ in terms of prototypical usages.
With scrutinized corpus research of spoken Finnish I will raise into sight those prototypical usage/discourse contexts of the infinitives in question. Moreover, I will argue that, when having generalized enough, these contexts can be seen as adjuncts’ contextual potential. To put it more familiar, at the abstract level contexts represent adjuncts’ valence (which still calls for re-thinking the whole concept in traditional terms).
Considering infinitives, where semantic overlappings may occur this seems to be because of conceptual proximity of manner and means or due to some idiosyncratic features. With respect to context as valence (potential) it can be seen as the most conventionalized part of semantics and pragmatics of any given expression. While, in turn, actual usage instances ‘just’ bring some add-on idiosyncrasies. So, side by side with analyzing corpus data in order to make some sense between infinitives I will argue for context as twofold linguistic matter similar to many other structural concepts. My theoretical framework will be Construction Grammar.
(in English)

Traugott, Elizabeth Closs 2010: Contexts and Grammatical Constructionalization. Plenary speech in International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG-6), September 3-5, Prague.