Chapter published in:Fixed Expressions: Building language structure and social action
Edited by Ritva Laury and Tsuyoshi Ono
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 315] 2020
► pp. 133–166
When an expression becomes fixed
mä ajattelin että ‘I thought that’ in spoken Finnish
This chapter concerns the first person past tense form of the verb ajatella ‘to think’ as a semi-fixed expression in spoken Finnish. We examine this expression in present-day conversation and in older dialect interviews, focusing on its interactional functions, the types of complements it takes, and its patterns of morphosyntactic fixedness and morphophonetic erosion in our two datasets. We show that the verb ajatella is most frequently used in its first person past tense form, mä ajattelin että [1sg + think-pst-1sg + comp] ‘I thought that’, and as has been shown for ‘think’ verbs in many other languages, it is commonly used to frame stance expressions, but another frequent use in our Finnish data is in prefacing the speaker’s expression of her own plans as well as proposals of joint action. Most commonly, mä ajattelin että is followed by clausal complements in our older data, while the complements are more diverse in the newer data, and the expression can also occur without any complements. We also show that while mä ajattelin että ‘I thought that’ occurs in our data in drastically reduced form and shows signs of morphosyntactic fixedness especially in the newer data, it cannot yet be said to have become an epistemic particle.
Keywords: ‘think’ verbs, semi-fixed expression, spoken Finnish, stance expression, planning, proposal for joint action, complementation, phonetic reduction, past tense, first person
- 2.Data and methodology
- 4.Interactional functions of mä ajattelin että
- 4.1 Planning and proposing function
- 4.2Expression of stance
- 4.3Expression of speaker’s own thoughts
- 4.4Interim summary
- 6.2 Comparison of fixedness with a consensus analysis
Published online: 10 December 2020
2018 A morphosyntactically coded database of conversational Finnish. Database compiled at the University of Turku, with material from the Conversation Analysis Archive at the University of Helsinki and the Syntax Archives at the University of Turku. Department of Finnish and Finno-Ugric Languages, University of Turku.
Boersma, Paul, and David Weenink
2018 Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 6.0.37, retrieved 3 February 2018 from http://www.praat.org/
Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, and Margret Selting
Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, and Sandra A. Thompson
Deppermann, Arnulf, and Silke Reineke
2005 ”Sanottua, ajateltua ja melkein sanottua: Puheen ja ajatusten referointi valituskertomuksissa. [Thought, said and almost said: Quoting talk and thought in complaint stories].” In Referointi ja moniäänisyys, ed. by Markku Haakana, and Jyrki Kalliokoski, 114–149. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.
Helasvuo, Marja-Liisa, and Aki-Juhani Kyröläinen
Hopper, Paul J.
Hopper, Paul J., and Sandra A. Thompson
Keevallik, Leelo, and Ann Weatherall
Laury, Ritva, and Marja-Liisa Helasvuo
Laury, Ritva, and Shigeko Okamoto
Laury, Ritva, and Tsuyoshi Ono
Lindström, Jan, Camilla Lindholm, and Ritva Laury
Ochs, Elinor, Emanuel A. Schegloff, and Sandra A. Thompson
Pekarek Doehler, Simona
Routarinne, Sara, and Outi Duvallon
Schegloff, Emanuel A.
Scheibman, Joanne, and Joan Bybee
Selting, Margret, and Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen
2000 “Argumente für die Entwicklung einer interaktionalen Linguistik.” Gesprächsforschung – Online-Zeitschrift zur verbalen Interaktion 1: 76–95. [www.gespraechsforschung-ozs.de]
Thompson, Sandra A.
Thompson, Sandra A., and Anthony Mulac
Stevanovic, Sandra A., and Anthony Mulac