The division of labour between synonymous locative cases and adpositions

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In Estonian the location of one object placed on top of another object may be expressed using either the adessive case construction or the adpositional construction with the postposition <i>peal</i> &#8216;on&#8217;. This paper addresses the question which semantic factors determine the use of these alternative constructions. For this purpose two linguistic tasks were conducted &#8211; a forced choice task and a production task. The results of these studies indicate that there are differences in how these two constructions are used in Estonian: the adessive is used when there is an abstract relation between Trajector and Landmark and the Landmark is a place; the adposition <i>peal</i> &#8216;on&#8217; is used when there is an unconventional spatial relation between Trajector and Landmark and when the Landmark is a thing.


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