A case in search of an independent life

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The present study discusses senses of the Finnish verbless allative-initial construction with particular attention to the allative element. I argue that the construction under investigation cannot be defined as an elliptic structure, but rather is an independent and genuinely verbless construction and that there are at least eight distinct senses for the allative element. These senses are called <sc>actor, purchaser, target group, exploiter, receiver, affected, implicated actor</sc>, and <sc>encounterer</sc>. I argue that the first two have agentive features, which is cross-linguistically extraordinary for a goal-marking morpheme, whereas the other six relate to senses which the Finnish allative case is known to have in other constructions as well. For a semantic analysis, both an intuitive categorization and an experimental method, a paraphrase test, have been applied to the data of 500 headlines.


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