ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Lehismets, Kersten (Tartu)

nyomtatható változat

Eat the fish before it rots away into the hand: the usage of the duplex gram käsi+ära (‘hand+away’) in Estonian change-of-state expressions

Body-part terms often grammaticalize from their lexical meaning into more abstract functions (Heine 1997, Ojutkangas 2001). The Estonian word käsi 'hand' (see Ojutkangas 2001) is used as a full noun referring to a body part but it also functions as a gram (=a grammaticalized item, cf. Svorou 1993) and indicates relationships such as possession, cognition (Lehismets, forthcoming) and control, where it has a human participant as its landmark. My paper studies the usage of käsi in combination with another gram ära ’away’ (which also has the grammaticalized function of indicating perfective aspect; cf. Metslang 1996: 32–35) in expressions of a change of state, metaphorically represented as abstract motion (cf. Langacker 1991). My focus is on the directionality indicated by the two grams: in its concrete sense, ära always indicates motion away from a landmark, whereas käsi, which still has a full internal local case paradigm ('into' vs. 'in' vs. 'from/out of') shows variation in the directionality it indicates. Peculiarly, both the illative ('into') and the elative ('from') forms of käsi can be used with ära.  I will call such constructions duplex grams, and in my presentation I study the semantic differences between the two constructions.
One crucial difference between the two is related to the overall construction where the grams are used. The illative kätte (+ära) requires a predicate nominal to characterize the new situation, e.g. Olukord läks hullu+ks kätte ära [Situation go.PST.3SG crazy+TRA hand.ILL away] (‘The situation got crazy’). The elative käest ära is used without any predicate nominal. Also ära alone can express a change of state, but it requires presence of predicate nominal. Without it ära minema [away go.INF] would implicate actual motion (‘leave’). In many languages the change expressed with the verb go is negative (Huumo & Sivonen 2010: 115). In Estonian, the combination of the verb minema 'go' + kätte/käest (ära) likewise indicates a loss of control or another kind of an unwished state, e.g. Ta läks ülbe+ks kätte [S/he go+PST.3SG arrogant+TRA hand.ILL] (‘S/he became arrogant’). As a result of this change, the trajector may sometimes even lose its usability: Kala+d läksi+d halva+ks kätte [fish+PL go+PST.3PL rotten+TRA hand.ILL] (‘The fish became rotten’).
My hypothesis is that the grams kätte (illative) and käest (elative) differ from each other in that the former is more independent of ära and able to occur without it freely, whereas the latter, in order to express a change of state, requires the presence of ära. To confirm my intuition, I asked native speakers to evaluate minimal pairs (single vs. duplex grams) indicating meanings such as 'The roads became slippery' or 'The situation got crazy'. In general, single grams were considered more natural than duplex ones, which nevertheless occur in actual usage. In the usages of kätte or ära as single grams the choice seems to be based on the concreteness vs. abstractness of the trajector. A concrete trajector ('road') seems to be more compatible with ära, a more abstract one ('situation') with kätte. Among the duplex grams, the elative käest seems to require the presence of ära more strongly than the illative kätte: käest ära was considered more acceptable than käest alone (note that ära alone is not available since it would indicate an actual change of the trajector's position). In this construction no differences were found between concrete and abstract objects.

The presentation will be held in Finnish

Heine, Bernd 1997: Possession: cognitive sources, forces, and grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Huumo, Tuomas, Jari Sivonen
Langacker, Ronald. 1991. Concept, image, and symbol: The cognitive basis of grammar. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Lehismets, Kersten (forthcoming): 'The church is visible into the hand': Grammaticalization of the Estonian word käsi (‘hand’) and its usage with verbs of perception

Metslang, Helle 1996: Eesti prefiksaaladverbist ära soome keele taustal. Reet Kasik, Riho Grünthal (Toim.). Lähivertailuja 9 (31 - 46). Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilainen seura
Ojutkangas, Krista 2001: Ruumiinosannimien kieliopillistuminen suomessa ja virossa. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia 845. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.
Huumo, Tuomas; Sivonen, Jari (2010). Conceptualizing change as deictic abstract motion: metaphorical and grammatical uses of 'come' and 'go' in Finnish. Turner, Mark; Parrill, Fey; Tobin, Vera (Toim.). Meaning, Form, and Body (111 - 128). CSLI Publications
Svorou, Soteria 1993: The Grammar of Space. Typological Studies in Language 25. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.