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LINGUIST List 23.1264

Tue Mar 13 2012

Qs: Case Marking in Verbless Exclamations

Editor for this issue: Zac Smith <zaclinguistlist.org>

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Date: 13-Mar-2012
From: Ante Aikio <ante.aikiooulu.fi>
Subject: Case Marking in Verbless Exclamations
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We are planning a paper on the syntax of verbless exclamations, in
particular on case marking patterns in such exclamations. Our starting
point is the observation that in certain Finno-Ugric languages (such as
Saami and Finnish) the presence of an interjection may trigger case
marking in a verbless exclamation, for example:

(North Saami:)

Máhtte riehpu!
Matthew poor-SG.NOM
‘Poor Matthew!’

Vuoi Máhtte riebu!
Oh Matthew poor-SG.ACC
‘Oh, poor Matthew!’


Matti parka!
Matthew poor-SG.NOM
’Poor Matthew!’

Voi Matti parkaa!
Oh Matthew poor-SG.PART
’Oh, poor Matthew!’

The literature addressing verbless exclamations from a
morphosyntactic point of view (rather than a semantic or pragmatic
point of view) seems to be scarce. We have two questions for which we
would be very glad to receive data and/or references:

1) Are there any general studies on the (morpho)syntax or typology of
verbless exclamations? We are aware of references dealing with
exclamations from the point of view of speech act theory, but we have
not found any studies that focus on the grammatical features of such

2) Are you aware of any languages (other than Saami and Finnic
languages) that show case marking patterns in exclamations lacking a
verb? Are these patterns systematic and productive (i.e., not found in
fossilized phrases only), and not easily explicable as results of verb

We will post a summary to the list, and we are also glad to provide
more information on the phenomenon in Finnish and Saami to those

best regards,

Ante Aikio
Giellagas institute of Saami Studies / University of Oulu, Finland
Department of Modern Languages / University of Helsinki, Finland

Katja Västi
Department of Finnish Language / University of Oulu, Finland
Department of Modern Languages / University of Helsinki, Finland

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

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