Fluid intransitivity in Old Finnish





Fluid intransitivity designates the phenomenon that the intransitive subject (S) may be marked like a transitive subject (A) or an object (O) depending on the syntactic construction where it occurs. In Finnish, the S of existential and possessive clauses is marked like O in terms of case-marking and agreement.

This paper examines fluid intransitivity in Old Finnish through a corpus of intransitive clauses with indefinite subjects from Agricola's New Testament and the NT portion of the 1642 Biblia. I will examine various factor groups that may influence the variation found between A-like and O-like subjects in these clauses, such as polarity, quantity, clause type and others. I will then examine the relative strength of these factor groups by a multivariate analysis.

Results are that polarity is a stronger factor than quantity, and that possessive clauses exhibit O-like subjects to a greater degree than other clauses. Possible explanations for these results will be discussed.




How to Cite

De Smit, Merlijn. 2016. “Fluid Intransitivity in Old Finnish”. Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen 2016 (63):153–213. https://doi.org/10.33339/fuf.86124.