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LINGUIST List 20.2533

Fri Jul 17 2009

Diss: Morphology/Syntax/Typology: Ylikoski: 'Non-finites in North...'

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Jussi Ylikoski, Non-finites in North Saami

Message 1: Non-finites in North Saami
Date: 16-Jul-2009
From: Jussi Ylikoski <jylikoskmappi.helsinki.fi>
Subject: Non-finites in North Saami
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Institution: University of Oulu
Program: Giellagas Institute - Saami Language
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Jussi Ylikoski

Dissertation Title: Non-finites in North Saami

Dissertation URL: http://www.sgr.fi/sust/sust257/sust257.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Subject Language(s): Saami, North (sme)

Dissertation Director:
Pekka Sammallahti

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis consists of five articles and an introduction with a summarizing
and complementing overview of the articles.

The study describes the morphology, syntax and semantics of non-finite verb
forms in contemporary literary North Saami. According to the received view,
there are about a dozen non-finites in North Saami, but the morphosyntax
and semantics of these have not yet been investigated thoroughly. In the
present study, these verb forms are re-evaluated from the
functional-typological perspectives of general linguistics: they are
further classified into the subcategories of infinitives, participles,
converbs and action nominals.

A major portion of this study discusses adverbial non-finites or converbs
and comparable action nominal constructions, the types of constructions in
which many of the independent converbs originate. On the basis of abundant
data on actual language use, it is concluded that contemporary North Saami
possesses both old and more recently developed non-finites that have not
received due attention in earlier descriptions of the Saami languages,
whereas certain alleged non-finites are better analyzed as belonging to the
lexicon rather than productive inflection. An important result of the study
is that there are as many as six converbs and five participles in the
language. The study provides a comprehensive description of the use and
mutual relations of these verb forms.

In addition to the literary language and traditional dialects of North
Saami, the study also addresses corresponding non-finites in the
immediately neighboring Saami languages. Attention is also paid to the
influence of the surrounding national languages (Norwegian, Swedish and
Finnish) on the morphosyntax of the Saami languages, especially in

The North Saami system of non-finites is undergoing a process of
restructuring, and the rise of new non-finites through agglutination and
analogy indicates that the Saami languages have developed not only in the
direction of the fusional western European type of language, but recent
developments also point back to an agglutinative type characteristic of the
Uralic languages. Contemporary North Saami exhibits considerable
morphological variation that may diminish in the future either as a result
of unconscious change in the language or through conscious language planning.

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