Publication details [#1543]

Huumo, Tuomas and Kersten Lehismets. 2013. How far out is ‘out’? On the grammatical functions of the Estonian välja ‘out’. Language and Cognition 5 (4) : 375–408. 34 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton


The particular study is based on the Cognitive linguistics framework and explores the different grammatical functions of the lexical item välja which means “out” in Estonian. More specifically, the paper introduces a historical background of the item (i.e. the initial meaning was ‘field’) and presents a continuum of senses starting from concrete spatial ones which evolve into more abstract ones. The theoretical framework is based on the notions of subjectivity, trajectory and landmark (in the sense of Langacker 1987). Speakers when they use the adverb välja tend to adopt a metaphorical viewpoint: a location outside a container which indicates a change in the cognitive status of the conceptualizer, which is positive as the referent enters the speaker’s cognitive dominion. The selection of the viewpoint can also be reflected in other lexical elements of the utterance e.g. in the choice of motion verbs (She went out versus She came out). Finally it is shown that the clausal position of valja and the order of the other components of the respective utterance contribute to its metaphorical senses.