ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Virtanen, Susanna (Helsinki)

nyomtatható változat

Contextual function of noun marking in the direct object marking system in Eastern Mansi

My aim in this paper is to outline the effect of variation in marking topical direct objects in Eastern Mansi, and especially the non-grammatical features affecting this variation.
In Eastern Mansi, a direct object can be marked with a verb suffix (objective conjugation) and an accusative case ending or a possessive suffix. Verb agreement and noun marking are not always dependent on each other. Focal objects – those mentioned for the very first time – are not marked at all. Topical objects are verb marked: many of them are expressed only with a verb ending (zero anaphora) and in some certain situations also noun marked (double marking). The main topic of my paper is to show, how these situations are motivated by contextual factors.
In this paper I’ll concentrate on the variation between those topical direct objects expressed with zero anaphora and those ones marked also with a nominal object constituent, which are only one minor part of the whole transitivity system on the Easter dialects of Mansi.
An accusative (or possessive) marked nominal object constituent appears mainly due to two reasons:
1.    The direct object cannot be recognized from its context.
2.    The speaker wants to emphasize the direct object.
In the following examples (1) and (2) the direct objects are expressed with zero anaphora i. e. they are marked only with a verb ending, and there is not any nominal object constituent. Both of them represent secondary topics, and the objects can be recognized from context.
(1)    kwåtøng    wonk-øx°    öät    täärøt-iitø.
swan    hit-inf    neg    let-Sg<3Sg
‘The swan didn’t let to hit him.’
(2)     kom     juw-tee-s-tø.
man    pref-eat-pret-Sg3Sg
‘The man ate it (the capercaillie).’
In the following examples the direct objects are double marked: they are expressed with a verb ending and an accusative marked nominal object constituent.
(3)    pojrøxøsy    nok-wø-s-ään    pupg-øt-mø
God    pref-take-pret-Pl<3Sg    spirit-Pl-acc
‘The God took the guardian spirits up to heaven.’    
(4)    luj-ootr-äg-mø    wot-öän
pref-prince-Du-acc     call-imp.Du<2Sg
‘Call the princes of the underworld here!’
In these examples the referents of the objects have already been mentioned, and they are at the centre of the discourse, but they need specification to be identified by the hearer.
In examples (5)–(6) the nature of the direct objects is very similar to the objects in (1) and (2).  The objects are at the centre of the discourse: they are mentioned in the previous sentence, but still they are double marked.
(5)    öänsyøx°mø    tät    tø    wõõlt-øs-tø
bear-acc    partic    partic    kill-Pret-Objc.Sg3Sg
‘So he killed the bear.’
(6)    om    nään    jorøl    tåt-øs-løm                   tøg
           Sg1       Sg2-PossSg2Sg    on.purpose    bring-pret-Sg<1Sg     partic
‘I brought you here in purpose.’
In example (5) the bear have been the theme of the discourse through several sentences. Also the singular 2nd person in example (6) could be recognized on the basis of the previous sentences. Still both of them are double marked because they need to be emphasized for pragmatic reasons.

Language of the presentation: English.