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Negative Participle in -maton in Finnish

Student: Nataliya Ozerchuk

Supervisor: Natalia Ivlieva

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Fundamental and Computational Linguistics (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 9

Year of Graduation: 2020

In this paper we discuss the negative participle in -maton in Finnish. This participle differs from other Finnish participles in that it is contextually orienter, that is, it can relativize various participants depending on context. The goal of this research was to define the limits of the orientation of this participle. To do that, we conducted a corpus-based study, having processed more than 21.000 examples. We have shown that the participle can relativize subjects and direct objects of the verbs, and various obliques including time, location, goal, topic, reason, and content (stimulus). It cannot relativize indirect objects, contradicting Keenan and Comrie's Accessibility Hierarchy (1977). We also could not find unambiguous cases of relativization of instruments or comitative participants. The three restrictions on relativizations can be explained by saying that the relative clause must have an explicit subject in order for the interpretation in question to appear, but the participle in -maton rarely expresses the subject. The participle can relativize various participants, be it an argument or an adjunct. In some cases, it also relativizes participants which do not have a syntactic role. These cases allow us to propose that the participle is a general noun-modifying clause construction, or a GNMCC (Matsumoto 2017). The orientation of the participle in -maton correlates with the tense of the relative clause. Relativization of subjects usually implies non-past tense, whereas relativization of direct objects and time adverbials is more often interpreted in the past. In the paper, we have also formulated some important questions. Firstly, there are participants that we did not cover in this paper, but which require further investigations. Secondly, during the research, we proposed that the possibility of relativization of a participant depends on the necessity and frequency of expressing this participant with this verb in the independent clause. Thirdly, sometimes the participle has non-trivial modal meanings, which would be interesting to investigate in relation to other features of the pariticiple. Lastly, we have noticed that there is a certain correlation between the lexical meaning of the predicate and the range of the relativizable participants.

Full text (added May 29, 2020)

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