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LINGUIST List 16.1725

Wed Jun 01 2005

Diss: Syntax/Socioling: Juvonen: 'Grammaticalizing ...'

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        1.    Päivi Juvonen, Grammaticalizing the Definite Article. A study of definite adnominal determiners in a genre of spoken Finnish.


Message 1: Grammaticalizing the Definite Article. A study of definite adnominal determiners in a genre of spoken Finnish.
Date: 30-May-2005
From: Päivi Juvonen <juvonenling.su.se>
Subject: Grammaticalizing the Definite Article. A study of definite adnominal determiners in a genre of spoken Finnish.


Institution: Stockholm University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2000

Author: Päivi Juvonen

Dissertation Title: Grammaticalizing the Definite Article. A study of definite adnominal determiners in a genre of spoken Finnish.

Dissertation URL: http://www.ling.su.se/staff/juvonen/Thesis.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
                            Sociolinguistics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Finnish (FIN)

Dissertation Director:
Jan Anward

Dissertation Abstract:

The present study poses the question: Is there a definite article in spoken
Finnish? Finnish is traditionally said to lack a definite article.
Recently, however, several researchers have proposed that one of the
Finnish definite demonstrative determiners, se, has in fact developed into
a definite article in present-day spoken Finnish. The process responsible
for this development is held to be grammaticalization, the normal process
through which lexical morphemes develop into grammatical morphemes, and
grammatical morphemes into other, even more abstract, grammatical morphemes.

The answer to the question posed is sought through a combination of
methods. The study is based on a large empirical material, consisting of
138 oral retellings of a non-verbal cartoon in Finnish, by both monolingual
and bilingual speakers of Finnish, and by both adult and adolescent
speakers. This empirical material was then evaluated in
functional/typological terms, in light of what we know has happened in
other languages which have acquired definite articles. What are the
typologically common characteristics of definite articles and demonstrative
determiners? In what kind of uses do we find the two categories in the
languages of the world? How does the use of definite determiners in the
empirical data studied here fit the functional/typological description?
This evaluation, in conjunction with a refinement of grammaticalization
theory, whereby a criterion of obligatory use in specific contexts is
proposed as a litmus test of grammaticalization, results in a complex
picture of the proposed process of grammaticalization of a definite article
in spoken Finnish. From the point of view of spoken Finnish in general, the
data suggests that there is no definite article in spoken Finnish. However,
on the level of individual speakers, a case can be made that at least some
individuals exhibit a definite article pattern of se. Through a combination
of individual case studies and statistical analysis at both the group and
individual levels, it was found, however, that even these individual
patterns were heavily circumscribed by sociolinguistic factors having to do
with both the level of context-dependence and age-grading.





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