Edited by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Tuomas Huumo
[Constructional Approaches to Language 16] 2015
► pp. 43–72
Hidden subjects in conversation
Estonian personless verb forms as referential devices9
The chapter deals with implicit unspecific group referents introduced by verb forms (the conditional and the impersonal) which lack person marking. They have different contexts of use: the personless conditional is preferred when the aim of the conversation is to plan a future activity, while the existential impersonal is first and foremost used in narratives. The personless conditional is typically inclusive, incorporating one or both of the interlocutors into the group. The impersonal is typically speaker-exclusive and refers to a group that does not include the participants of the conversation. For the analysis, the data from the Corpus of Spoken Estonian (University of Tartu) are used.