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The essive case in Skolt Saami

Feist, Timothy (2013) The essive case in Skolt Saami In: Grammar and Context 2013, 2013-06-06 - 2013-06-09, The University of Tartu, Estonia.

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Skolt Saami is one of a number of Uralic languages which makes use of the essive case. The essive case appears to be exclusively used by Uralic languages and is thus a typologically rare case. In this presentation, I discuss the form and the function of the essive in Skolt Saami and also consider how this is similar to, and how it differs from, the essive in other Uralic languages. The form of the essive case in Skolt Saami is –n or –Vn (where V is a vowel which depends on the inflectional class of the stem). This is similar, therefore, to the Finnish essive marker – na/–nä and it is possible that the Skolt Saami essive was historically vowel-final, since many word-final vowels have been lost in the language. The essive case, together with the rarely-used partitive case, are unique among the nine cases of Skolt Saami in that they each display only a single form for both singular and plural referents. Consider the following example (Feist 2010), where the essive marker -n on jälstempõrttân is clearly being used for a plural referent as indicated by the presence of a plural accusative object, here the plural demonstrative pronoun tõid. tõid oummu aʹlǧǧe laaddâd jiõcceez jälstempõrttân DIST.PL.ACC person.PL.NOM begin.PST.3PL repair.INF REFL.ILL.3PL people started to repair those (barracks) for themselves as residential houses With regard to its function, the essive case in Skolt Saami is used to indicate a state or mode of existence, as observed in other Uralic languages. koon muõr vaʹldde, tõn mâŋŋa puäʹldde leʹbe REL.SG.ACC tree.SG.ACC take.PST.3PL DIST.SG.ACC later burn.PRS.3PL or aunnsen õʹnne material.ESS use.PST.3PL whichever tree they took, they later burnt it or used it as material (Feist 2010) In addition to being used to mark nouns, the essive can be used on predicate adjectives, as the following example illustrates. âʹlmmredd lij jeäʹǩǩää ruõpsseen horizon.SG.NOM PRS.3SG in.the.evening red.ESS in the evening, the horizon is red (Moshnikoff et al. 2009) A second function of the essive in Skolt Saami is particularly noteworthy, as this use of the essive case appears to be unique to Skolt Saami. In addition to indicating a state or mode of existence (essive), the Skolt Saami essive is used to indicate a change of state, which in other Uralic languages (such as Finnish) are marked with a separate translative case. The essive case in Skolt Saami might, therefore, be more accurately referred to as the essive-translative case. teʹl Eʹmmel muuʹtti siʹjjid låʹdden: paaʹrnid čuânjan then God.SG.NOM change.PST.3SG 3PL.ACC bird.ESS boy.PL.ACC goose.ESS da niõđid njuhččân and girl.PL.ACC swan.ESS then God changed them into birds: the boys (he turned) into geese and the girls (he turned) into swans (Feist 2010) This use of the essive to express a change of state is not limited to nouns, but can also be used in predicate adjective constructions, where the adjective is an object complement. åålm kälkkii põõrt čappeen man.SG.NOM paint.PST.3SG house.SG.ACC black.ESS the man painted the house black (Feist 2010) It is hoped that this overview of the form and function of the essive case in Skolt Saami will help to inform the study of the essive case in the Uralic family as a whole.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Paper)
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : 6 June 2013
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 18 Aug 2017 14:14
Last Modified : 23 Jan 2020 13:14

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