Article published in:Subjects in Constructions – Canonical and Non-Canonical
Edited by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Tuomas Huumo
[Constructional Approaches to Language 16] 2015
► pp. 231–251
The syntactic and semantic history of the Finnish genitive subject
Construction networks and the rise of a grammatical category
Prototypical Finnish subjects are marked with the nominative case. In many non-finite expression types, however, the subject is marked with the genitive case. The genitive subject has grammaticalized from three different sources. In some constructions, it developed from an earlier adverbial expressing a recipient, beneficiary or experiencer; in others, it originates in an adnominal possessive genitive; and its background is a syncretistic accusative. The present paper analyzes the properties of the different predecessors of the genitive subject which have made earlier adverbials and objects susceptible to a reanalysis into grammatical subjects. The paper sheds light on the nature and origins of the genitive subject, and tackles the development of abstract grammatical categories from more concrete context-specific ones on a more general level.
Published online: 14 January 2015
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