Experiencing time in Estonian constructions with an adjective and an MA-infinitive



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Baltistica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web http://www.baltistica.lt/index.php/baltistica/article/view/2372
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.15388/baltistica.55.1.2372
Keywords Estonian; constructional schema; time domain; MA-infinitive; adjective
Description The article is concerned with an Estonian construction such as in Sügis on kiire tulema ‘Autumn is quick to come’, Aastad on kärmed kuluma ‘Years are quick to pass’, Petlik mulje on kerge tekkima ‘False impression is easily formed (lit. false impression is easy to come into existence)’, Haavad on raksed paranema ‘Wounds will heal with difficulty (lit. wounds are difficult to heal)’ in which a combination of an adjective and an infinitival form (the MA-infinitive in illative) is used to characterize the subject. I analyse this construction as a specific variant of a semantically less specific and more widespread Estonian construction with the same components (X is ADJ V-MAINF). The meaning of the specific variant analysed here is related to experience of time and the sentences such as those above give a prediction as to how likely or unlikely an event is to occur or is experienced as such. The adjective usually specifies the change as swift, easily and inevitably coming or as hindered and improbable. The verb in MA-infinitive is mostly a dynamic existential verb denoting either coming into existence or ceasing from it. The subject of the sentence gets an event-like interpretation even if such meaning is not a primary one for the respective NP (c. f. petlik mulje ‘false impression’, haavad ‘wounds’). This specific variant is then due to its specific semantic features analysed as an extension in respect to the more general Estonian construction X is ADJ V-MAINF.
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