The encoding of motion events in Estonian

Renate Pajusalu, Neeme Kahusk, Heili Orav, Ann Veismann, Kadri Vider and Haldur Õim

in Motion Encoding in Language and Space

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661213
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745348 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Language and Space

The encoding of motion events in Estonian

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The chapter deals with the analysis of sentence structure on the layer where semantic role categories such as AGENT, PATIENT, OBJECT, etc. play a crucial role. The main objective is to find out which regularities prevail in categorization of spatial characteristics of motion events in Estonian in terms of these categories, and which morphosyntactic means are used to encode them. For the analysis a (mini) corpus containing sentences with a motion verb as predicate was automatically created. First, a brief overview of verbs of motion in Estonian is given. After that, the chapter concentrates on the analysis of semantic roles and their encoding in motion sentences in Estonian. We found it necessary to differentiate between the following roles: SOURCE, GOAL, ROUTE, LOCATION. The realization of each category by morphosyntactic means of Estonian is described in detail: NPs in certain case forms, PPs, adverbs. One of the results of the chapter is the fact that there is a statistical asymmetry in the use of SOURCE, GOAL, and LOCATION: GOAL is the most frequently encoded category of these three.

Keywords: motion event; syntax; locative cases; locative adverbs; Estonian

Chapter.  8914 words. 

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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