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Internal development and borrowing of pragmatic particles: the Estonian vaata/vat 'look', näed 'you see' and vot.
Uppsala universitet, Finsk-ugriska institutionen.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2175-8710
2008 (English)In: Finnisch-Ugrische Mitteilungen, ISSN 0341-7816, Vol. 30/31, 23-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The paper compares the pragmatic usage patterns of the Estonian particles vaata/vat ‘look’, näed ‘you see’ and vot in interaction. The two first of these have most probably developed language-internally — the frequent usage of a particular verb form in a specific function has resulted in its grammaticalization as a particle. Näed is predominantly an evidential particle and vaata/vat an explanatory and focusing particle. The particularized forms may be phonologically assimilated or shortened and they do not behave as predicates. No arguments can be attached to them and they have acquired new functions that instead concern text structure and interaction. The Russian loanword vot, on the other hand, has been stigmatized in Estonian linguistics and instead, the literary form vaat has been officially promoted. The present article shows why this is a mistake. The particle vot may occasionally fulfill the same functions as näed and vaata/vat but it also displays completely idiosyncratic interactional functions, such as topic closure and handing over the turn to the interlocutor who can then introduce a new topic or alternatively a closure of the conversation. The nature of these efficacious particles can only be revealed in conversational sequences and for their adequate analysis one has to account for the dynamics of interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 30/31, 23-54 p.
Keyword [en]
pragmatic particle, evidentiality, language contact, language change, Estonian, interactional linguistics
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Finno-Ugric Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103122OAI: diva2:686822
Available from: 2009-03-05 Created: 2014-01-13 Last updated: 2014-01-13

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Keevallik, Leelo
General Language Studies and Linguistics

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