[Lingtyp] Tripartite Differential Argument Marking?

Jussi Ylikoski jussi.ylikoski at utu.fi
Thu Dec 29 15:17:27 UTC 2022

Dear all,

Not knowing a better term, I have a question on Tripartite Differential Argument Marking. Put concretely, are there any studies on phenomena illustrated in the following examples from South Saami and Finnish (with rough translations)?

(1)        South Saami (Uralic)
a.         Byöpmedh                    peara-h!
            eat.imp.2sg                    potato-pl.nom
            ‘Eat (many) potatoes!’

b.         Byöpmedh                    pear-ide!
            eat.imp.2sg                    potato-pl.acc
            ‘Eat the potatoes!’

a.         Byöpmedh                    pear-ijste!
            eat.imp.2sg                    potato-pl.ela
            ‘Eat (partially some of the) potatoes!’

(2)        Finnish (Uralic)
a.         Suklaa              löyty-i.
            chocolate.nom   be.found-pst.3sg
            ‘The chocolate was found.’

b.         Suklaa-ta          löyty-i.
            chocolate-part   be.found-pst.3sg
            ‘(Some) chocolate was found / There was (some) chocolate.’

c.         Suklaa-ssa        löyty-i.
            chocolate-ine     be.found-pst.3sg
            ‘There was a lot of chocolate.’

Although the South Saami elative (ela) case or the Finnish inessive (ine) case have not been traditionally considered object (1c) or subject (2c) markers, my main concern here is not the terminology, but instead, I would be happy to know whether there are any studies – or any information, for that matter – on alternating argument marking involving more than two different grammatical markers, as seen in the above examples.

Best regards,


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