On psycholinguistic reality of some word order patterns of Estonian Cover Image

Mõnede eesti sõnajärjemallide psühholingvistilisest reaalsusest
On psycholinguistic reality of some word order patterns of Estonian

Author(s): Annekatrin Kaivapalu
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: learner language; corpus-based error analysis; word order; native speaker; Estonian; Russian

Summary/Abstract: One of the aims of the project VAKO (Development of language software and language technology resources for the Estonian Interlanguage Corpus) is to create the grammar checker prototype for second language writers of Estonian. According to the error statistics of the Estonian Interlanguage Corpus the most frequent errors are word order errors. Estonian is regarded as a free word order language, as usually more than one word order pattern is acceptable. Although the tagging of the word order errors in EIC is based on the norms of Standard Estonian, different annotators can sometimes still interpret the errors differently. At the same time the real use of word order by native speakers of Estonian is not always in accordance with the norms of Standard Estonian. From the perspective of teaching Estonian as a second language it is of crucial importance for the learner language to be as similar to the language use of native speakers of Estonian as possible. The aim of this paper is to explore the psycholinguistic reality of some word order patterns of Estonian from the point of view of Russian learners of Estonian as well as from that of native Estonian speakers. The perception of the following word order patterns of Estonian is discussed: 1) SVXX(X), 2) XVSX(X), 3) XSVX(X), 4) SXVX(X) where S stands for subject, V for verb, and X for any complement or modifier other than subject. The study concludes that the main difference in the word order perception of Estonian native speakers and Russian learners of Estonian concerns the V2-rule. The pattern XVSX(X) was perceived as natural by most Estonian native speakers and the pattern XSVX(X) as rather unnatural. The most unnatural pattern for Estonian native speakers was SXVX(X). The Russian speakers of Estonian did not perceive either order of subject and verb as distinctive but considered the patterns SVXX(X), XVSX(X), XSVX(X) and SXVXX as equally natural.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 6
  • Page Range: 103-120
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Estonian