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Abstract

Abstract

The object has two variants in Estonian: partial object (in partitive, the functionally unmarked variant) and total object (in genitive or nominative). We examine the variation in object case in Estonian texts from the 17th to the 20th century, focusing on the 19th century and regarding this variation as an indicator in assessing the sociolinguistic variation of Estonian in texts. The texts of Old Literary Estonian were written by German scholars for whom Estonian was a collective interlanguage. In the 19th century the development of written Estonian came gradually into the hands of native speakers, who were surrounded by a predominantly German-language cultural space. In the Estonian of Germans the total object was overused. The 19th-century texts written by native Estonians represent an amalgam of native language and earlier interlanguage, they show fluctuations, and overuse of the partial object. By the turn of the 20th century, object case usage has stabilized.

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/content/journals/10.1075/lv.20016.met
2022-01-27
2022-05-21
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: partitive ; genitive ; variation ; written language ; sociohistory ; Estonian ; object ; interlanguage ; nominative
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