The form choices of the expression of negation in the 17th- and 18th-century North Estonian texts Cover Image

Eituse väljendmise vormivalikutest XVII-XVIII sajandi põhjaeesti tekstides
The form choices of the expression of negation in the 17th- and 18th-century North Estonian texts

Author(s): Liina Pärismaa
Subject(s): Historical Linguistics, Finno-Ugrian studies
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: old literary language; negation; variation; usage-based method;

Summary/Abstract: This article deals with the expression of clausal negation and its variation in the 17th- and 18th-century North Estonian ecclesiastical and didactical texts. The aim of this study is to find out which forms convey clausal negation, how their usage changes during the two centuries, and how large the extent of variation is in the scope of particle-like negation forms. The broader goal is to observe how the literary standard develops during that time.This study is usage-based and explores 600 different negation clauses (300 tagged examples from either century). The negation forms were chosen randomly from the Corpus of Old Written Estonian. It was found that during the 200 years the expression of negation changed more towards the vernacular language and the effect of German diminished. Symmetric negative constructions were replaced with asymmetric ones and the extent of variation decreased from nine different particle-like negation forms to six different forms. Some negation forms disappeared by the beginning of the 18th century (e.g. mitte) and others appeared (e.g. eks). The usage of the native negation form ei increased considerably. The change towards vernacular use was apparent in lexical verb forms as well. During the 17th and 18th centuries the authors started to use more connegative verb forms instead of the inflected ones.The tendency towards more native usage of negation and the diminishing of variation were caused by the literary language reform, which started at the end of the 17th century and ended in 1739, when the first North Estonian full Bible was published.

  • Issue Year: LXI/2018
  • Issue No: 07
  • Page Range: 560-578
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Estonian