Publication details [#19484]

Helasvuo, Marja-Liisa. 2001. Syntax in the Making: The emergence of syntactic units in Finnish conversation. (Studies in Discourse and Grammar 9). John Benjamins. xiv + 176 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language
Language as a subject
90 272 2619 9


Research on the interplay between language structure and language use has shown that grammar is shaped, maintained, and modified by language use. In this view, then, grammar is not seen as existing apart from language use, but rather as a set of recurrent, grammaticized patterns of discourse. This book focuses on syntactic structuring in Finnish from the viewpoint of language use. The author sets out to study syntactic structures in their local contexts in order to discover the more global patterns and constraints on the use of these structures. The coding strategies point to the clause core as the locus of syntactic structuring: this is where syntactic relations emerge most clearly. It is shown that the key to understanding the coding of the core syntactic relations is the category of person. The clause core also shows strong intonational unity as it is most often presented in one intonation unit. Furthermore, analysis of spoken discourse shows the robustness of the category of noun phrase, both as a clausal constituent and as a free syntactic unit, the free NP.