Object-like adverbials

Maria Vilkuna mvilkuna at DOMLANG.FI
Wed Dec 16 14:35:11 UTC 1998

For data freaks:

After the recent contributions to the question of object-like marking
of certain adverbials, it's probably no surprise that Finnish
conforms to the general picture: certain adverbials of duration
are marked like objects (in fact, a longish tradition calls them
just that, object-casemarked adverbials). See

    Maling, Joan: Of Nominative and Accusative: The Hierarchical
    Assignment of Grammatical Case in Finnish. In: Anders Holmberg
    and Urpo Nikanne (eds.) Case and Other Functional Categories in
    Finnish Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter 1993.

Finnish and Polish (see Bjoern Wiemer's posting) also seem to indicate
that the correspondence with objects is not perfect.  The Finnish facts
are quite complex. To put it "simply"  the following generalizations are
common to objects and the type of duration adverbial under discussion
(contact me if you want real Finnish sentences):

 -- Partitive case in negative contexts, e.g.
       "I didn't wait whole day-PARTITIVE"
 -- Nominative case (unmarked form) in imperatives, e.g.
       "Wait whole day(NOM)"
 -- Nominative case (unmarked form) in impersonal passives, e.g.,
       "Was danced whole day(NOM)" 'they danced for the whole day'
 -- Nominative case (unmarked form) with predicates like _must_:
       "You(GENITIVE) must wait whole day(NOM)"
 -- n-marked case ("accusative", if you like) otherwise -- or,
    simplistically speaking, when there is agreement with a subject:
       "I waited whole day-ACCUSATIVE"

Interestingly, exceptions to these generalizations seem to incline towards
n-marking. For example, a cursory corpus search of "the whole day "
brought to light a considerable number of n-markings in impersonal
passives -- something that never occurs with objects proper. Another
context that showed n-marking is interesting in that no strong prediction
is available from object-case marking, e.g., in intransitives like the
''have'' construction, and impersonals like ''rain''.  These do not allow
for objects, after all.

	Satoi koko p\"aiv\"an.
        rained whole day-ACCUSATIVE

	Minulla oli se kirja koko p\"aiv\"an.
	I-ADESSIVE was that book whole day-ACCUSATIVE
	'I had that book for the whole day'

       (NB: "book" here could be said to be an object, but
	it does not bear ACCUSATIVE like the adverbial.)

As far as I know, the whole extent of the variation has not been

With Season's Greetings,
Maria Vilkuna

Maria Vilkuna					  mvilkuna at domlang.fi
Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus /
Research Institute for the Languages of Finland   www.domlang.fi
S"orn"aisten rantatie 25  			  FIN-00500 Helsinki
tel: {09/358-9}-7315 298			  fax: {09/358-9}-7315 350

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list