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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 7, 2020

The expression of change-of-state in the Finnic languages

  • Miina Norvik EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Linguistics


The present article studies verbs that are used to convey change-of-state in the Finnic languages: “to come”, “to go”, “to remain/stay”, “to get”, “will be”, “to make/do”, and “to be born/give birth”. These are polysemous core verbs, which can be expected to be integrated in constructions with (new) generalized grammatical meaning. As will be shown, in order to convey change-of-state typically they occur in constructions that either mark the goal and the source or leave both unmarked. In addition, change can be associated with experiential, existential, and possessive constructions, which also enable to shed more light on the development of the above-mentioned verbs, including the possible development change-of-statefuture. The article demonstrates that each Finnic language uses several verbs from the list presented above, but there are differences in what are the most commonly used ones and in what kind of constructions they occur. In some languages, there is a general change-of-state verb, which also appears as a future copula if there is no competing future copula. In the case of Estonian, Finnish, and Livonian, the results of previous studies on change-of-state predicates were used; for the other Finnic languages, a separate data set was compiled using various collections of texts.

1 Introduction

The present article studies the expression of change-of-state in the Finnic languages by means of intransitive analytic constructions. [1] The Finnic languages discussed here employ a verb meaning “to come”, “to go”, “to remain/stay”, “to get”, “will be”, “to make/do”, and “to be born”/“give birth”; see the use of Ingrian sāvva “to get” (e.g. 1) [2] and Estonian jääda [3] “to remain/stay” (e.g. 2). The fact that the study of change-of-state needs to take into account constructions becomes apparent when examples (3a) and (3b) are compared. change-of-state is here associated with predicates that convey inchoative meanings, i.e. beginning of a new state. As claimed, the respective verbs tend to set the focus on the new state although they imply a previous event: X located in state 1 → X located in state 2 (Bonnefille 2006: 22, Radden and Dirven 2007: 274); e.g. the grain not being clean/movement not being slow → the grain being clean/movement being slow (1).

(1) Sīs sa-i vil puhta-ks
then get-PST.3SG grain clean-TRA
“Then the grain got clean.”
(Ingrian; Laanest 1966: 224)
(2) Liikumine jä-i aeglase-ks
movement remain-PST.3SG slow-TRA
“The movement became slow.”
(3) a. Ma lähe-n
I go-1SG
“I am going/I will go”
b. Ma lähe-n hullu-ks
I go-1SG crazy-TRA
“I will go crazy”

Previous studies reveal that Finnic languages are rich in change-of-state predicates; see e.g. Pajusalu and Tragel (2007) for Estonian, Tommola (2010) for Finnish, and Norvik (2014a) for Livonian. It turns out that although the set of verbs that may occur in these predicates is similar in these languages, there are several differences in their use, such as in the most commonly used change-of-state predicates. In Livonian, the verb īedõ “stay/remain” is typically used to express change in general (Norvik 2014a), whereas the Estonian cognate jääda is primarily associated with the expression of negative changes (Pajusalu and Tragel 2007), and the Finnish cognate jäädä is all in all marginal in such usage (Tommola 1995, Huumo 2007). Differences in the syntactic behaviour have also been pointed out, e.g. the Finnish tulla “to come; to become”, when used in a source-marked (SM) construction (see the elative-marking in 4a), can code the resulting state with an adjective complement, which does not apply to Estonian (cf. 4b) (VISK § 904, Erelt 2005).

(4) a. Mei-stä tule-e kuuluis-i-a
we-ELA come-3SG famous-PL-PRT
“We will be famous”
(Finnish; Erelt 2005: 21)
b. *Mei-st tule-b kuulsa-i-d
we-ELA come-3SG famous-PL-PRT

In this article, the main aim is to give a general picture of the expression of change-of-state in the Finnic languages. To meet this goal, the usage of change-of-state predicates in Karelian (represented by Valdai and Livvi-Karelian), Veps, Ludic, Ingrian, Votic, and Lutsi (an Estonian-language island in Latvia) is analysed and placed against the background of Estonian, Livonian, and Finnish. Separate attention is devoted to the further development into future copulas [4] as change-of-statefuture is cross-linguistically a common grammaticalization path. The analysis takes into account the role of underlying constructions, the semantic differences the various verbs can exhibit as well as the outcomes of neighbouring languages (including cognate languages) on the use of these predicates.

The article proceeds as follows: Section 2 provides the background, Section 3 introduces the materials and methods, Section 4 provides the analysis of the main results, and Section 5 draws the conclusions.

2 Background

As follows, Section 2.1 introduces common sources of copulas and their paths of development. This enables later to regard the Finnic verbs against the broader background, i.e. how common they are cross linguistically. Section 2.2 devotes separate attention to the syntactic properties of the constructions that can be relevant in determining the various usages into which the constructions can be put.

2.1 Copulas and their development

There is cross-linguistic evidence, which suggests that copulas tend to develop out of verbs and less commonly out of pronouns (Pustet 2003: 54). According to Stassen (2004: 92–93), typical sources for copulas are the verbs with the original meaning “to do/make/build”, “to happen/occur”, “to go/turn into/come/become”, and “to act(like)”. As regards the expression of change-of-state, cross linguistically the commonest sources are the verbs “to go” and “to come” (Heine and Kuteva 2002: 74–5); see e.g. (5) and (6). Their development is sometimes explained using the conceptual metaphor states are locations, from which it is deduced that change of state is change of location (Radden 1996). Schematically it can be represented as follows: x moves to y locationx changes to y state (Bonnefille 2006: 22).

(5) She went (*came) out of his mind (Radden 1996: 432)
(6) He came (*went) round very slowly (Radden 1996: 432)

As examples (5) and (6) indicate, it is common for a language to contain several change-of-state predicates, which have developed out of different sources or out of similar sources at various times. An example of renewal/replacement within the concept of become is replacement of the Old English weorðan “to become” with becuman “to come; obtain” (Clancy 2010: 256). To compare, the German cognate werden can still be used to mean “to become” (7). Currently, the English get is claimed to show increase in the range of uses (Clancy 2010: 39).

(7) Er wurde Arzt
He will_be.pst.3sg doctor
“He became a doctor.”

Occurrence of several change-of-state predicates is typically possible due to the different usages into which they can be put. Often there are semantic constraints. For instance, the English become tends to be the most neutral change-of-state verb, whereas several process verbs, especially motion verbs, are used to convey more specific meanings: turn is associated with abrupt changes (The traffic light turned red), fall with sudden uncontrolled changes (Beverly fell in love), and grow with gradual changes (You never grow old; Radden and Dirven 2007: 274). The distinction between the English come and go, in turn, is explained by bringing in the distinction between metaphorical motion in “opposite directions”. When used metaphorically, go tends to express “motion” away from a normal course of events leading to unexpected and often abnormal or even unpleasant changes of state (ex. 5), whereas come expresses an event’s terminative and normal “outcome” and is usually associated with expected and gradual, often pleasant changes (ex. 6; Radden and Dirven 2007: 274–75). The Finnish tulla “to come” is also shown to adhere to the conceptual metaphor good is here (Huumo and Sivonen 2010).

The same way as there can be several change-of-state verbs, there can also be several future copulas. Bickel (1992) discusses the complementary use of the future copulas wèèrde n “to become; to get”, and überchoo “to get, receive” in Züritüütsch (a variety of Swiss German): if a predicate is constructed with sii “to be”, the corresponding future copula is wèèrde n , whereas in the case of haa “to have” überchoo is used.

2.2 Underlying constructions

The same way as there can be semantic constraints on the usage of change-of-state predicates, there can be syntactic restrictions. Whereas German bleiben “to remain/stay” takes the following complements: noun phrase (NP), adjective phrase (AdjP), prepositional phrase (PP), and verb phrase (VP; ex. 8a); German werden “will be” appears only with NP, AdjP, and VP, but not with PP (marked with an asterisk; see e.g. 8b; Geist and Rothstein 2007: 2). A further example is the English verb get, which only combines with adjectival complements (9; Clancy 2010: 40). The Estonian tulla “to come” reveals a similar case as differently from the Finnish tulla (cf. 4.1.1), and it is incompatible with adjectival complements.

(8) a. Klara bleibt Lehrerin/gesund/in der Stadt/sitzen.
“Klara will remain the teacher/healthy/in the city/sitting.”
b. Klara wird Lehrerin/gesund/*in der Stadt/sitzen.
“Klara will become a teacher/healthy/be in the city/be sitting.”
(9) She got mad/* She got a doctor ≠ She became a doctor

Previous research shows that case marking can also play a role in distinguishing between different readings. In Russian, which is the main contact language of several Finnic languages, but also in Polish and Czech, the constructions associated with becoming require the instrumental case (10), but there is variation in the use of the nominative and the instrumental case for conveying being (Clancy 2010: 98). The choice of instrumental is sometimes attributed to the expression of temporary and non-inherent states related to professions (10) and periods of life (e.g. childhood), whereas the nominative is said to occur with permanent or inherent nouns (conveying identity). However, there are also other explanations. In the case of Russian, it has been pointed out that the instrumental is more common with past and future forms (11). In Czech, in turn, the instrumental forms are associated with literary language (Clancy 2010: 19, 98). To compare with Estonian, the differences between the nominative and the translative (12) are explained as follows: the nominative option “is just a non-marked form of time stability, denoting class-membership as such”, meaning that the nominative form can also be used for temporary situations (Erelt and Metslang 2003: 167).

(10) On sta-l vrač-om
he become-pst.m doctor-ins
“He became a doctor”
(Russian; Clancy 2010: 99)
(11) V ljuboj kompanii budet želannym gostem...
in any:loc company:loc will_be:3sg desired:ins guest:ins
“In any group he would be a much-sought-after guest...”
(Russian; Clancy 2010: 98)
(12) Kaja on Eesti suursaadik /
Kaja be.3sg Estonian.gen ambassador
suursaadiku-ks Inglismaa-l
ambassador-tra England-ade
“Kaja is the Estonian ambassador in England”
(Estonian; Erelt and Metslang 2003: 167)

The following analysis of change-of-state predicates in the Finnic languages considers the semantic differences between the usage of these verbs and the role of underlying constructions.

3 Materials and methods

I collected linguistic data from seven varieties of the Finnic languages: Ingrian, Votic, Veps, Ludic, Livvi-Karelian, Valdai Karelian, and Lutsi (a variety of Southern Estonian). For Estonian, Finnish, and Livonian, I did not compile a separate data set but I used the results of previous studies on the expression of change-of-state (e.g. Pajusalu and Tragel 2007 for Estonian, Tommola 2010 for Finnish, and Norvik 2014a for Livonian).

For data collection, I mainly used collections of texts. In the case of Veps and Ludic, I also included my own fieldwork recordings (Norvik 2012, 2014b in Table 1). The collections of texts used for the present study contain transcribed oral texts, which are mostly narratives about past events, descriptions of everyday activities, fairy tales, or other stories; most of them are translated into Finnish, Estonian, or Russian. As text collections vary in their size (approximate page numbers are given in Table 1) and coverage of dialects, it was necessary to consult several text collections to get a representative sample for some languages (e.g. for Veps and Votic). Whenever there were not enough examples (the goal was to collect 100 examples per language), I made use of the examples provided in dictionaries. Due to scarcity of written sources on Ingrian, only 47 examples in total could be gathered. In the case of Ludic, in turn, the total number of examples was 100, but the results are presented separately for the Northern and Central Ludic. The reason is that the examples in the data set revealed a clear divide between the means of expression. In the case of other languages, such striking differences could not be discovered.

Table 1

Overview of the data set

Language/language variety Time of collection of the linguistic data and publication details come go remain/stay get will be make/do be born/give birth Total
Ludic North. 1920s–1940s 3 1 1 34 8 47
Ojansuu et al. 1934 – 150 pp.
Kujola 1944 (dictionary)
Centr. 1920s–1940s 14 39 53
Ojansuu et al. 1934 (see above)
Kujola 1944 (see above)
Norvik 2012 (recordings)
Livvi-Karelian 1960s–1980s 3 4 5 88 100
NKK – 78 pp.
Veps (North., Centr., South.) 1910s 9 2 9 24 56 100
Kettunen 1920 – 63 pp.
NVM 1935 – 93 pp.
OVR 1969 – 140 pp.
Norvik 2014b (recordings)
Valdai Karelian 1950s–1960s 6 90 4 100
Palmeos 1962 – 71 pages
Ingriana 1880s 17 7 9 14 47
Porkka 1885 – 15 pp.
Laanest 1966 – 114 pp.
Nirvi 1971 (dictionary)
Votic (West., East.) 1960s–1970s 41 7 18 2 32 100
Ariste 1962 – 160 pp.
Adler 1968 – 91 pp.
Ariste 1977 – 85 pp.
Ariste 1982 – 52 pp.
Lutsi 1910s–1930s, 1950s–1970s 1 2 18 78 1 100
EM IX – 83 pp.
Total: 74 12 63 89 213 57 139 647
  1. Note: The page numbers only give an approximate idea of the size of the source material used to collect the linguistic data. In the case of Veps and Votic, several sources were consulted in order to have examples from different dialects.

The majority of the data originated from the 1950s to the 1970s, and to some extent also from the beginning of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In the case of Valdai Karelian and Lutsi, there are no data available from the twenty-first century as these language varieties have become extinct by now. Still both provide an interesting point of comparison as Lutsi and Valdai Karelian language islands were formed in the seventeenth century as a result of migration from South Estonia and South Karelia, respectively.

The final data set included 100 examples from each language. As collecting and coding of the examples were to a great extent done manually and, in some occasions, the total number of examples exceeded 100 by only a little (e.g. there were in all 110 in the Valdai Karelian source), I selected the final 100 examples randomly. It is important to note that Table 1 does not distinguish between the change-of-state and future usages.

The procedure for compiling the data set consisted of two stages. First, I detected the verbs, which in the case of each language/language variety could appear as change-of-state predicates. Overall, there were seven verbs, which deserved a closer look: “to come”, “to go”, “to remain/stay”, “to get”, “will be”, “to make/do”, and “to be born”/“give birth”. They are included in Table 1 (capitalization denotes the concept associated with the respective verb: come, go, remain/stay, get, will be, make/do, and be born/give birth). I only considered the above-mentioned verbs occurring in intransitive constructions. Second, in the case of each example, I coded the main change-of-state predicate, the underlying construction, the tense of the verb, and the time reference.

4 Results

The results show that all the Finnic languages contain several change-of-state predicates in various intransitive constructions. It only varies from language to language, which of the seven verbs (“to come”, “to go”, “to remain/stay”, “to get”, “will be”, “to make/do”, and “to be born”/”give birth”) commonly occur as change-of-state predicates, in what constructions and to what extent they function as future copulas. Map 1 gives an overview of the most frequently occurring verbs used to express change-of-state in various Finnic languages (for the other verbs used in a particular language, see Appendix 1).

Map 1 
               Most typical change-of-state predicates in Finnic.
                     The technical work for creating the map was done by Dmitri Kuznetsov; originally, the map is drawn by Timo Rantanen based on Grünthal and Sarhimaa (2004/2012).
Map 1

Most typical change-of-state predicates in Finnic. [5]

The constructions that could be associated with the expression of change-of-state are presented in Table 2. [6] Although in most cases Table 2 only contains one example to illustrate the various constructions in the data set, it is important to note that a verb can occur in most (if not all) of the constructions (see Appendix 1).

Table 2

Intransitive constructions used with change-of-state predicatesa

Construction Example Translation
i. Unmarked NP nom V NPnom/AdjP nom /AdvP
Valdai Karelian lie(nöy) “will be” mie lieńīn kohtuńe “I got pregnant”
ii. Goal-marked (GM) NP nom V NPtra/AdjP tra
Estonian jääda “remain; stay” Ta jäi haigeks “S/he fell ill”
(a) NP nom V NPess
Veps lindä “will be” sińä l'ińńed vanhamban “You will become our superior”
(b) NP nom V Adv(loc)
Lutsi mindäˀ “go” süä lät's lahki “The heart broke”
iii. Source-marked (SM) NP ela V NP nom /AdjPnom
Lutsi saada “get” must saa kume kannel' “I will become a zither“
iv. Existential (AdvP) V NPnom/AdjP nom
Votic tulla “come” tuli kõikkia pimmiä “It turned totally dark”
v. Experiential NP loc V AdjP nom
Ludic rodida “give birth” häллe rod'ī d'üged “It became hard for him/her”
vi. Possessive NP loc V NP nom
Veps t'ehtakse “make/do” meil' t'eghez koume l'ehmad “We were left with three cows”
  1. a

    Although the column Examples occasionally contains more than one option, the one used in the example sentence is indicated in boldface.

The unmarked, goal-marked (GM), and SM constructions in (i) to (iii) could be regarded as prototypical expressions of change-of-state. The constructions in (iv) to (vi) represent instances which convey change in a somewhat broader sense, e.g. by expressing the emergence of something and change of possession.

As follows, the usage of the seven verbs in different Finnic languages is presented in two main sections depending on whether a particular verb is used in the change-of-state function more widely (i.e. come, get, remain/stay, will be) or its usage is concentrated to particular areas (make/do, be born/give birth). In addition to change-of-state, the possible development into future is discussed. Each section starts with a description of the previous results, followed by the analysis of the examples collected for the purposes of the present study. A total list of constructions that can be associated with a particular verb in a given language is presented in Appendix 1.

4.1 The more widely spread change-of-state predicates

4.1.1 “To come” and “to go”

Both “to come” and “to go” are old motion verbs, which are traced back to the Proto-Finno-Ugric. The equivalents for “to come” are the following: Est. tulla, Liv. tūlda, Fin. tulla, Ingr. tulla, Vot. tulla, Kar. tulla, Lud. tulda, and Veps tulda. The equivalents for “to go” are Est. lähe-, Liv. lǟdõ, Fin. lähteä, Ingr. lähtiä, Vot. lätä, Kar. lähtie, Lud. lähtä, and Veps l’ähtta. Although both verbs occur as change-of-state predicates in the Finnic languages, “to go” appeared to be marginal in all the languages in the data set (typically only 1–2 instances could be attested among 100 examples; see Table 1 and Appendix 1).

As claimed by Huumo and Sivonen (2010), the Finnish mennä “to go” can be associated with negative (including abnormal, unexpected) changes, whereas the Finnish tulla “to come” tends to occur with positive (including normal) changes; cf. mennä koomaan (go:inf coma:ill) “go into coma” vs tulla tajuihinsa (come:inf concious:pl:ill:3px) “regain consciousness”. (This makes the situation similar to the English go and come described in Section 2.2.) However, the conceptual metaphor good is here, which is at play in the case of tulla “to come”, or more precisely, the quality “good” is shown to also capture the meanings “available”, “conscious”, “accessible”, “canonical”, “brought about intentionally by an agent”, etc. (Huumo and Sivonen 2010). As a result, agentivity is said to explain the choice of tulla in example (13a) and the lack of agentivity in the choice of mennä in (13b).

(13) a. Tul-i-ko ovi lukko-on?
come-pst.3sg-Q door lock-ill
“Did the door get locked?”
b. Tankki men-i tyhjä-ksi
tank go-pst.3sg empty-tra
“The tank went empty.”
(Finnish; Huumo and Sivonen 2010)

Whereas the Finnish tulla appears to be a common change-of-state predicate, the Estonian counterpart is used less frequently (Pajusalu and Tragel 2007). Still the Estonian tulla is also associated with notions such as “conscious” (e.g. tulla teadvusele come:inf conscious:all “regain consciousness), “accessible”, and “available”; it is also used with professions, e.g. (14). In both languages, there are GM (13a) and SM cases (14).

(14) Tema-st tule-b uurija
s/he-ela come-3sg researcher
“S/he will become a researcher.”
(Estonian; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007: 304)

The Estonian minna “to go”, in turn, in the case of animate referents, is argued to express “involuntary change in mental or physical condition, particularly towards a state of increased agitation” (15); whereas with inanimate referents (e.g. weather conditions), it is claimed to express increase or change in them (16a) (decrease is typically covered by jääda “to remain/stay”; cf. 16b; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007).

(15) Ta läks punase-ks
s/he go.pst.3sg red-tra
“He became red.”
(Estonian; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007: 299)
(16) a. Vihm läks tugeva-ma-ks
rain go.pst.3sg strong-comp-tra
“The rain became heavier.”
b. Vihm jä-i nõrge-ma-ks
rain remain-pst.3sg weak-comp-tra
“The rain became softer.”
(Estonian; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007: 300)

Previous results on Livonian show that neither tūlda “to come” nor lǟdõ “to go” commonly function as change-of-state predicates (Norvik 2014a). The domains listed above are frequently expressed by īedõ “to remain/stay”, which can be argued to be the most general change-of-state predicate in Livonian (see more in Section 4.1.2).

As regards the Finnic languages represented in the data set, only Ingrian and Votic showed considerably more instances of “to come” (see Table 1 and Appendix 1). In both languages, the expression of change was mainly conveyed using the GM construction as in (17). There unmarked constructions conveying change-of-state were mostly instances of an adjective complement used in a comparative form. In fact, majority of the examples contained an adjective in the complement position; there was only one clear example of a substantive used as the subject complement. The data sets of Ingrian and Votic also contained examples of experiential and existential clauses, where tulla was used to express change (e.g. 18). There were no examples of the Ingrian tulla used in SM construction or possessive constructions, but this could be attributed to the scarcity of data. As tulla was in both languages spread across various constructions to express change, it could be regarded as a common change-of-state verb in these languages. To compare, the data sets of the other Finnic languages contained only a few examples of “come” in one to two different constructions:

(17) jo tul-i vahva-ks
ice already come-pst.3sg strong-tra
“The ice already became strong.”
(Ingrian; Laanest 1966: 156)
(18) siel tul-i paha
there come-pst.3sg bad
“There it became bad.”
(Votic; Ariste 1982: 10)

Instances with “to go” turned out to be infrequent in the case of each language – among 647 instances there were only 12 examples (see Table 1 and Appendix 1). Thus, there is no one Finnic languages in which “to go” would be the most widely spread change-of-state predicate. In Votic that contained relatively more instances of “to go” (altogether nine instances), further research is needed to determine its more precise usage. The nine examples in the data set expressed negative change (see 19) or change in mental or physical condition towards increased agitation (see 20).

(19) mie men-i-n sõkka-ssi
I go-pst-1sg blind-tra
“I went blind.”
(Votic; Ariste 1982: 48)
(20) hukko men-i hullu-ssi
old_man go-PST.3SG mad-tra
“The old man went mad.”
(Votic; Ariste 1982: 16)

The data set also contained instances like (21) and (22) that do not express change in the prototypical sense but rather reveal something about the origins of the development. For instance, example (21) presents the source but does not say that something turns into something else; example (22) can be seen as an extension of prototypical motion (eht “evening” is not an animate agent), but again, it is not possible to apply the schema X located in state 1 → X located in state 2 (cf. Section 1). Thus, both usages seem to be close to the source meaning of the construction.

(21) Maima-z lähtöu rok hüvä
whitebait-ela go:3sg soup good
“One gets good soup out of whitebaits.”
(Ludic; Kujola 1944: 223)
(22) Tul'-ī eht
come-pst.3sg evening
“The evening arrived.”
(Veps; NVM 1935: 19)

4.1.2 “To remain/stay”

The predicate associated with the meaning “to remain/stay” is present in all the Finnic languages: Est. jääda, Liv. īedõ, Fin. jäädä, Vot. jäävvä, Ingr. jäävvä, Kar. jeähä, Lud. d’iädä, and Veps jädä. They are usually traced back to the Proto-Finnic root *jǟ-, which is considered to be a loan from Proto-Indo-Iranian (ETY).

Previous research on Estonian, Livonian, and Finnish demonstrates that while the Finnish jäädä is the least productive in the sense of expressing change (Huumo 2007: 89, Tommola 1995: 126), the Livonian īedõ shows the widest range of usages (Norvik and Prillop 2017). Estonian jääda, in turn, appears to display certain restrictions: it is often associated with the expression of negative change, such as falling ill (23a); to convey a positive change (e.g. getting healthy), another verb has to be used – saada ““get; become” (23b; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007). Norvik and Prillop (2017) show that instances of negative change may also be subsumed under the terms “difference from the majority”, “unexpectedness,” or the like:

(23) a. laps jää-b haige-ks
child remain-3sg ill-tra
“The child will fall ill.”
b. laps saa-b terve-ks
child get-3sg healthy-tra
“The child will get well.”
(Estonian; personal knowledge)

Different from Estonian, the Livonian īedõ cannot be explained in terms of negative versus positive change as īedõ is used for both; cf. examples (24a) and (24b). In addition, īedõ can also convey emergence of something, change in physical or mental conditions (25), where Estonian or Votic would use the verb meaning “to go” (see examples (15) and (20), respectively, in Section 4.1.1). Although according to the Livonian–Estonian–Latvian dictionary (Viitso and Ernštreits 2012), the verb lǟ’dõ “to go” could be used in Livonian as well (e.g. ma’rrõ lǟ’dõ “become agitated”), īedõ in any case proves to convey change-of-state in the widest sense in a variety of constructions (further examples and discussion available in Norvik and Prillop 2017).

(24) a. läpš īe-b rujā-ks
child remain-3sg ill-tra
“The child will get ill.”
(Mägiste 1964: 14)
b. ta kakš nädīļt vȯ’ļ ma’ggõn,
ta ei tierrõ-ks
s/he remain.3sg healthy-tra
“It was only after s/he had been lying down for two weeks before s/he became well.”
(Mägiste 1964: 14)
(25) se pi’ņ īe-nd ma’rrõ
this dog remain-app agitation.ill
“The dog became agitated.”
Livonian (Setälä 1953: 116)

The data sets of other Finnic languages/language varieties (except Lutsi and Votic) tended to contain only some instances of “to stay/remain”-verbs per 100 examples (Table 1 and Appendix 1). The few instances that occurred in the data set could primarily be associated with negative change, such as becoming poor (ex. 27). In addition, the corresponding instances often expressed remaining in a previous state (ex. 26), or remaining in a state after a particular entity had emerged (ex. 28). (Norvik and Prillop 2017 discuss similar examples in Estonian and Livonian.)

(26) d'ä-i-n mińä tühd' miež
remain-pst-1sg I poor man
“I became a poor man.”
(Ludic; Kujola 1944: 31)
(27) jǟ-kǟ tervehe-ks
remain-imp.2pl healthy-tra
“Stay well!”
(Ingrian; Laanest 1966)
(28) leivä-d jäi-väd di-kse
bread-pl remain-pst.3pl cloggy-tra
“Breads turned out cloggy.”
(Ingrian; Nirvi 1971: 117)

To compare, in Estonian but also in Finnish, remaining in a state after an emergence of a particular entity may also be expressed using the verb “to come” (Erelt 2005: 23, VISK § 904). The data set contained one such example in Votic (29). Dahl (2000: 353) has called the respective use the “turn out” use, the motivation of which becomes clear also from the translations of examples (28) and (29) into English:

(29) leivä-t tul-i-vat paha-d
bread-pl come-pst-3pl bad-pl
“The breads turned out bad.”
(Votic; Ariste 1962: 65)

As regards the examples in the data set, only Lutsi jääda and Votic jäävvä had considerably more occurrences. Although they mainly conveyed change-of-state, neither of them revealed such a general usage as the Livonian īedõ. Primarily they could be associated with negative change (e.g. getting old, blind, ill, drunk, etc.) or with a situation becoming more passive (e.g. becoming silent; both usages are listed by Pajusalu and Tragel 2007: 297 for the Standard Estonian jääda). However, it is of interest that the Lutsi data set contained a few instances of positive change. In the case of example (30), it becomes clear from the context that the predicate with jääda is used to denote getting rich. Thus, here, the usage of Lutsi jääda shows parallels with the usage of the Livonian īedõ rather than the Estonian jääda. In Estonian, to denote getting rich, the verb saada “to get; to become” should be used instead; using jääda could be possible only if one would like to express continuation of the previous state, i.e. being rich and remaining rich. As the Latvian palikt “to remain/stay” also shows a wide range of uses in the spoken language and can be held responsible for the broad usage of the corresponding verb in Livonian (Norvik and Prillop 2017), such broader usage of Lutsi jääda confirms the claims about the possible influence of Latvian:

(30) kaśvi peremehe-ɫ leibä pal'lo /…/
grow.pst.3sg master-ade bread.prt much
timä jä-i jo paha rikka- ss
s/he remain-pst.3sg ptcl bad rich-tra
“The master got [lit. grew] a lot of bread /…/ he became very rich.”
(Lutsi, EM IX: 158)

Further proof about the extension of the verb meaning “to remain/stay” in a language contact situation comes from Harju-Madise, a subdialect of Western Estonian, which has been under the Swedish influence. It is possible that the broader usages of the Estonian jääda can be attributed to the contact with Swedish (Evi Juhkam, personal communication, March 22, 2019). For instance, the Harju-Madise example (31) contains jääda to express change, whereas in literary Estonian another verb (e.g. muutuma “to change”) would be used in this case. In Swedish, the corresponding verb is bli, which in addition to change also conveys future (Dahl 2000). Such development cannot be detected in the Finnic languages, even in Livonian, where īedõ “to remain/stay” is the most general change-of-state verb. Most probably, the reason is that in Livonian there is already another future copula līdõ (see Section 4.1.4).

(31) kui sa rauwade-st tömma-d
when you pull-2sg
ta suu jää-b örna-ks
s/he.gen mouth remain-3sg sensitive-tra
“If you pull from the bridoons his/her [horse’s] mouth will become sensitive.”
(Harju-Madise, West Estonian; EDC)

The instances conveying change-of-state in the data set tended to be GM. Both in Lutsi and in Ludic, there was one unmarked example (for Ludic, see Ludic e.g. 26). In Lutsi, the corresponding example was an instance of a complement used in a diminutive form (bednakene “poor”). For drawing further conclusions, however, one needs additional examples.

4.1.3 “To get; to become”

A verb with the meaning “to get” can be found in all the Finnic languages: Est. saada, Liv. sǭdõ, Fin. saada, Ingr. sāvva, Vot. sāta, Kar. soaha, Lud. suada, and Veps sada. They are traced back to the Proto-Uralic root *saγe-; the original meaning is usually claimed to be that of “to come” (ETY, Häkkinen 2005). This means that in the Finnic languages there are two change-of-state predicates, which originally mean “to come” (see also Section 4.1.1).

As regards the Finnic languages, the verb “to get; to become” can be found to express change-of-state primarily in the southern Finnic languages. The Estonian saada is usually described as a commonly used change-of-state predicate; it is primarily associated with desired states, positive developments, brought about by intentional action (32; Pajusalu and Tragel 2007, Tragel and Habicht 2012). Similar notions are also associated with the Finnish tulla “to come” (see Section 4.1.1). The fact that Estonian saada is also found to express non-evaluative meaning or neither desired outcome nor intentional action (ex. 33; ibid.) could point to the generalization of the predicate.

(32) Tekst saa-b valmis
text get-3sg ready
“The text will be ready.”
(Estonian; Tragel and Habicht 2012: 1384)
(33) Lapse-d sa-i-d märja-ks ja musta-ks
child-pl get-pst-3pl wet-tra and dirty-tra
“The children got wet and dirty.”
(Pajusalu and Tragel 2007: 303)

The Livonian sǭdõ is also shown to function as a change-of-state predicate, however, its usage seems to be associated with literary texts rather than with clear semantic restrictions (a similar case was introduced for Czech in Section 2.2). Whereas in Bible texts, the Livonian sǭdõ appears to be the main means used to convey change-of-state, in colloquial texts the verb īedõ “to stay/remain” is common (see Norvik 2014a). This can be argued to mirror the Latvian model; as in literary Latvian, the verb kļūt is typically used to mean “to become” (roughly corresponds to Livonian sǭdõ), whereas in colloquial Latvian, the verb palikt “to stay/remain” tends to be used instead (roughly corresponds to the respective verb in Livonian – īedõ) (Norvik and Prillop 2017). Still, one can notice differences in the underlying constructions. Latvian kļūt takes the nominative case with adjectival complements, whereas the PP with par is used with substantives denoting professions, e.g. kļūt par ārstu “to become a doctor” (Kalnača 2013: 638). In Livonian, in turn, the GM construction is used in both cases; see (34) and (35). However, the Livonian GM constructions containing a substantive reveal a clear case of Latvian influence: they contain the Latvian prefix pa although the translative marker -ks already expresses change (see Norvik and Prillop 2017; for Latvian par, see also Kalnača 2013: 638).

(34) Võ’l sa-i kõzīzõ-ks
witch get-pst.3sg angry-tra
“The witch became angry.”
(Livonian; Setälä 1953: 178)
(35) nei’ sa-i se ǟrga pa rištīngõ-ks
so get-pst.3sg this ox PP human-tra
“This way the ox became a human being.”
(Livonian; Setälä 1953: 114)

The data sets compiled for the purposes of the present study revealed a wide range of uses for Lutsi saada – about three fourth of the instances collected from Lutsi texts were examples of saada in various constructions (see Appendix 1). Moreover, in addition to the expression of change-of-state (36), there were instances of saada functioning as a future copula, i.e. cases where the reading “to become” seemed to remain in the background (37). It is possible that here we are dealing with an internal development as the Estonian saada does not occur alone to express future (it also requires the “be”-verb in the infinitive form, i.e. saab olema “will be”) and the respective verb in Latvian (kļūt) does not show further development into a future copula. It is, however, possible that the Latvian future copula būt “will be” has played a role in this development.

(36) joˀ sa-i joˀ suur tutva
already get-pst.3sg ptcl big acquaintant
“Now they became big acquaintances.”
(Lutsi; EM IX: 146)
(37) su-л hüä jeлo
you-all get good life
“You will have a good life.”
(Lutsi; EM IX: 125)

Whereas in the case of Estonian and Livonian one mainly encounters GM constructions (33) or SM constructions (Pajusalu and Tragel 2007, Norvik 2014a); in Lutsi, the unmarked cases also turned out to be common (see 36 and 37). It may be argued that the unmarked constructions also license the future meaning more easily.

As regards other Finnic languages, the Ingrian saavva and Votic saata also occurred as change-of-state predicates (see 38). As in Ingrian, tulla “to come” turned out to be quite frequent among 100 examples in Ingrian (saavva had 17 occurrences and tulla had 9); further research is needed to determine the differences between them. Currently, they are both indicated as common change-of-state devices in the Votic- and Ingrian-speaking areas (see Map 1). In any case, from the part of “to come”, Ingrian and Votic show more similarities with Finnish, whereas from the part of “to get; to become” – with Estonian. The Finnish saada-verb even appears to be absent in become-constructions, the verb tulla or other expressions of change-of-state are used instead (see Pajusalu 1994: 91; Jokela and Nummila 2015); instances like (39) are regarded as archaic/poetic (see KS). Such examples of saada are closer to the original meaning “to come” (see etymological note above). The connection with motion is also visible in the Finnish verb saapu/a “arrive” (and its Estonian counterpart saabu/da) derived from saa/da (ETY, Häkkinen 2005: 1097). For a similar use of tulla “to come”, see example (22) in Section 4.1.1.

(38) sa-i vihaizõ-ssi med'd'e pääle
get-pst.3sg angry-tra we.gen on
“S/he got angry at us.”
(Votic; VKS)
(39) Kun aamu saa
when morning will_be.3sg
“When the morning comes”
(Finnish, KS)

Among 100 examples there were no instances of Ludic suada, Veps sada, and Karelian soaha used as change-of-state predicates.

4.1.4 “Will be”

In all the Finnic languages, there are at least traces of the futurate/modal verb, which goes back to Proto-Finno-Ugric. The cognate forms in the Finnic languages are the following: Est. leeda, Liv. līdõ, Fin. lienee, Ingr. leenöö, Vot. leevvä, Kar. lie(nöy), Lud. liettä, and Veps lindä (ETY, SSA). Whereas only the Old Literary Estonian and Insular dialects reveal examples of Estonian leeda, and the Finnish lienee is mainly found in the modal meaning; in the other Finnic languages the cognate verb can even appear as a future copula; see Veps example in (40; for more information, see Norvik 2015).

(40) m'ö l’ine-mai śid zivata-ta
we will_be-1pl then animal-abe
“Then we will be without an animal.”
(Veps; OVR 1969: 74)

It is highly probable that originally we are dealing with a verb which can be subsumed under the concept become rather than will be. There are clear indications of the change-of-state usage even in few instances of Livonian līdõ used in a participle construction clearly expressing becoming (Norvik 2015: 52–3). To compare, the Ludic and Karelian cognates occurring in the data set were commonly used to change-of-state; differently from Livonian, they also have the past tense form, which can be first and foremost associated with change, as in (41).

(41) mužikka lieńi road'i
man will_be.pst.3sg glad
“The man became glad.”
(Valdai Karelian; Palmeos 1962: 185)

The data set contained 213 instances of will be, which made it the most frequently occurring verb in the data set (the next most frequent verb was be born/give birth with 139 instances). However, 90 of these instances were noted down from Valdai Karelian. These were followed by 48 examples in Ludic. In Votic, Veps, and Ingrian, there were fewer examples, which all occurred in the present tense.

Especially in Valdai Karelian and Northern Ludic, the unmarked constructions turned out to be the commonest although there were some instances of SM or GM constructions. As example (41) shows, the unmarked construction was possible even in cases that clearly marked change-of-state. Thus, although one would want to associate goal-marking with change, it is not necessarily the case, especially in the easternmost Finnic languages.

Valdai Karelian and Northern Ludic dialect as well as the northernmost areas of Central Ludic stood out as next to clear instances of becoming (41), there were cases of being (42–43), i.e. Ludic liettä and Valdai Karelian lie(nöy) also functioned as future copulas (for Ludic liettä, see also Kehayov et al. 2013). The distinction between the two readings could mostly be made relying on the broader context; however, in the case of future time reference it was not always clear whether the primary meaning is that of “to become” or “to be (in the future)”. The fact that these two meanings intertwine has been already stressed before (e.g. Dahl 2000: 351). The Ingrian, Votic, and Veps examples, which only occurred in the present tense form, confirmed this claim: it was often hard to tell the difference between become and be as often both seemed to be relevant (44). However, if to compare the Ingrian and Votic tulla “to come” used with reference to future, the focus of tulla tends to be on becoming (see examples 17 and 18 in Section 4.1.1); whereas with leevvä/leenöö, it is on being (44). In addition, the suffix -ne- may be responsible for the accompanying modal meanings, as the suffix is a potential suffix conveying epistemic modal meaning (Laanest 1975: 155). However, as has been shown, the presence of -ne- does not necessarily evoke a modal meaning (see discussion in Norvik 2013).

(42) i liene-m müö ozatomma-d igakš
and will_be-1pl we unhappy-pl forever
“And we will be unhappy forever.”
(Northern Ludic; Ojansuu et al. 1934: 40)
(43) eruo-n, liew pieńi p'eŕeh'
divorce-1sg will_be.3sg small family
“I will get divorced, will have a small family.”
Valdai Karelian (Palmeos 1962: 82)
(44) i liene-n mie mokoma niku työ
and will_be-1sg I such like you
“And I will be(come) like you.”
(Votic; Ariste 1962: 17)

4.2 Change-of-state predicates restricted to particular areas

In this section, I discuss predicates that appear as change-of-state predicates only in restricted areas. Such predicates are the Veps t'ehtakse “to make/do” and Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh)/Ludic rodida/rodizetta “to be born; to give birth”.

4.2.1 “To make/do”

In Veps, the verb t'ehtakse, which is a reflexive form of the verb t'ehta “to make/do”, appeared to be a general change-of-state predicate (45–46). It is described as a change-of-state verb also by Grünthal (2015: 146–147). Among the 56 instances of t'ehtakse, the unmarked construction (45) turned out to be the commonest (20 examples); there were only three instances of GM and two instances of SM constructions (46 and 47, respectively). The examples of GM constructions in the data set were all instances of substantives in the complement position (e.g. ex. 46).

(45) viл t'ege-se tšoma
grain make-refl.3sg beautiful
“The grain will be beautiful.”
(Veps; NVM 1935: 24)
(46) lopei t'eg-i-he neitše-ks
frog make-pst-refl.3sg girl-tra
“The frog turned into a girl.”
(Veps; NVM 1935: 184)
(47) nügüt t'eg-he mugōne bohat pakitšeia-spä
now make-pst.refl.3sg such rich beggar-ela
“Now from this beggar became such a rich (man).”
(Veps; Kettunen 1920: 56)

The Veps t'ehtakse could be regarded as a general change-of-state predicate as in addition to the examples mentioned above, it also appeared in the existential, experiential, and possessive constructions (see Appendix 1). These occurrences could be associated with change in a physical/physiological state (ex. 48, which is an instance of an experiential construction) or in the general state of affairs (ex. 49, which is an example of a possessive construction).

(48) Kondja-le žal t'eg-he vanhud
bear-all sorry make-pst.refl.3sg old.prt
“The bear felt sorry for the old (one).”
(Veps; Norvik 2014b)
(49) sit teg-he mei-le jo koulme lehmas-t
then make.pst-refl.3sg we-all already three cow-prt
“Then we were already left with three cows.”
(Veps, NVM 1935: 34)

The Veps t'ehtakse most probably reveals a case of pattern-borrowing (PAT-borrowing) as in Russian the corresponding reflexive verb (s)delat'sja “to make/do” can also be found as a change-of-state verb in various constructions; see the GM construction in (50) (cf. 45) and the experiential construction in (51) (cf. 48). According to Sakel (2007: 15), PAT-borrowing has to do with borrowing the “organization, distribution and mapping of grammatical or semantic meaning, while the form itself is not borrowed”. The Veps case is an instance of borrowing the semantic meaning. To compare, whereas the Veps t'ehtakse tends to occur in unmarked constructions, the various examples of the Russian (s)delat'sja in Russian–Estonian and Estonian–Russian dictionaries (VES, EVS) did not contain any unmarked constructions; the typical construction appeared to be the GM construction as in example (50).

(50) razgovor sdelalsja skučnym
conversation make:pst.refl.n boring:ins
“The conversation became boring.”
(Russian; VES)
(51) emu sdelalos' ploho
he:dat make:pst.refl.n sick
“He got sick.”
(Russian; VES)

Although the Veps t'ehtakse was commonly used to express change-of-state, there were no instances that would reveal its further development into the future copula. In fact, in the data set t'ehtakse mainly appeared in the past tense (there were only two instances containing a present tense among 56 examples). It is most probably because Veps already has a future copula – lindä “will be”, which may also show instances of intertwining of being and becoming. This makes the Veps situation similar to Livonian, where īedõ “to stay/remain” only occurs as the general change-of-state predicate but no further development into future can be detected as there is the future copula līdõ “will be”, which is a cognate to Veps lindä (see more in Section 4.1.4).

Among the examples collected from the other Finnic languages, there were hardly any examples of a “to make/do”-verb used to express change-of-state. Still one such example seemed to occur in Lutsi (52). Differently from Veps, the Lutsi tetäˀ is not a reflexive verb. But as it appears, the uses of non-reflexive can also be attested in other languages; e.g. in Texas English, make may be used to convey “to become”: She made a teacher = “She became a teacher” (Clancy 2010: 35).

(52) tekk' kuŕa-st
make.pst.3sg angry-tra
“[s/he] got angry”
(Lutsi; EM IX: 143)

4.2.2 “To be born; to give birth”

Predicates meaning “to give birth”/“to be born” were attested to express change-of-state in Livvi-Karelian (53) and Ludic (54). Differently from Veps t'ehtakse, which is a native verb employed to express change-of-state as in Russian (i.e. a case of PAT-borrowing), the Ludic rotie(kseh) and Livvi-Karelian rodida/rozdizetta are instances of matter-borrowing (MAT-borrowing) as the “material” is taken from Russian: < rodit'sja “to be born”, rodit' “to give birth” (for MAT-borrowing, see Sakel 2007). Both the non-reflexive and the reflexive forms were used (cf. the reflexive uses of the Veps t'ehtakse in Section 4.2.1).

(53) vezi roih ruskei
water be_born.3sg red
“Water will become red.”
(Livvi-Karelian; NKK 1994: 290)
(54) hää rod'ī-he hüviń t'ühjä-kši
it be_born.pst-REFL.3sg very empty-tra
“It got totally empty.”
(Central Ludic; Kujola 1944: 362)

The Ludic rodida/rodizetta as well as Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh) occurred in various constructions to convey change-of-state. Most typically, change was expressed by unmarked forms; there were only a few instances of the GM construction (54) (this was true also for the Veps t'ehtakse; see Section 4.2.1). There were also examples conveying change in physical/physiological state (55), and the emergence of something (56). The Ludic data set did not contain any examples only of SM construction, which does not necessarily mean that the SM construction is impossible. However, as regards Ludic, rodida/rodizetta appeared to be as a general change-of-state predicate only in Central Ludic; in Northern Ludic, there were only few examples of rodida/rodizetta as liettä “will be” is used instead (see Appendix 1).

(55) häллe rod'ī d'üged
s/he:all be_born.pst.3sg hard
“It became hard for him/her.”
(Central Ludic; Kujola 1944: 361)
(56) pahai pīrai rod'ī, ka?
bad pie be_born.pst.3sg yes
“The pie turned out bad, right?”
(Central Ludic; Norvik 2012)

In Central Ludic as well as in Livvi-Karelian, one can observe further development into the future copula (for Ludic, see also Kehayov et al. 2013). Namely, there are instances such as (57) and (58) that primarily convey being with reference to the future rather than becoming. Such further development is probably licenced by the fact that liettä/lie(nöy) “will be” do not function as primary future copulas in these areas. The Central Ludic liettä had only 14 occurrences of which 7 examples were instances of an existential clause, which could be rather associated with the emergence of something rather than prototypical change-of-state usage. Thus, the usage of the Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta and Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh) “be born/give birth” can be argued to reveal a case of renewal/replacement as they seem to be used in the same functions as the native verbs liettä and lie(nöy) “will be” (for renewal/replacement, see also Section 2.1).

(57) rodi-memmo kod'i-s tuл-gat
be_born-refl.1pl home-ine come-imp.2pl
“We will be at home, come!”
(Central Ludic; Norvik 2012)
(58) sügüsü-l hei-le rodi kuldane svadba
autumn-ade they-all be_born.3sg golden wedding
“In the autumn, they will have golden wedding.”
(Central Ludic; Norvik 2012)

In the North Russian dialects, the respective Russian verbs rodit'/rodit'sja are attested to mean “begin”, “become”, “appear”, “take place”, etc. (SRNG). The fact that we are dealing with an areal-specific phenomenon found further support from other Karelian dialects. For instance, the Valdai Karelian data set contained only a few instances of rotie(kseh) that all occurred in an existential construction to express change in weather conditions (59). As the verbs studied in this article were all used in such function (see also example 17 for “to come” and example 39 for “to get”), it is possible that such usage represents an initial stage on the path towards “real” change-of-state predicate:

(59) rod'ih pimie
be_born.PST.3sg dark
“It became dark.”
(Valdai Karelian; Palmeos 1962: 160)

5 Conclusion

The present article studied the expression of change-of-state in the Finnic languages. The following languages/language varieties were discussed: Karelian (represented by Valdai Karelian and Livvi-Karelian), Lutsi (a South Estonian language island in Latvia), Veps, Ludic, Ingrian, Votic, Livonian, Estonian, and Finnish. As regards Livonian, Estonian, and Finnish, the results of previous studies were used, whereas for the other varieties named above the linguistic data to be analysed were mainly collected from various collections of text. The verbs that were regarded as possible candidates of change-of-state predicates could be associated with the following concepts: come, go, remain/stay, get, will be, make/do, and be born/give birth. For each language, the set of verbs to be studied was determined by reading collections of text.

The main objective of the article was to give a general picture of the expression of change-of-state in the Finnic languages. The results showed that although the set of verbs used for conveying change in the Finnic languages is similar, the languages differ in terms of what are the most common change-of-state predicates. As appeared, in Livonian the verb īedõ “to stay/remain” is the most general change-of-state predicate, in Valdai Karelian we find lie(nöy) “will be”, in Veps t’ehtakse “to make/do”, in Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta, and in Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh) “to be born/give birth”. Whereas cross linguistically the verbs meaning “to come” and “to go” turn out to be the commonest sources of change-of-state predicates, in the Finnic languages “to come” was used as the main means in two languages – Votic and Ingrian, but none of the Finnic languages contained “to go” as the main means of expressing change.

The study also considered the role of language contacts in the development of change-of-state predicates. Among these predicates there were cases of MAT- and PAT-borrowings. The clearest instance of MAT-borrowing was the Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta/Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh), and the PAT-borrowing was represented by Veps t'ehtakse. Although in some other cases one can also suspect a foreign influence (e.g. Latvian palikt has evidently had influence on the Livonian īedõ), the extent of influence is occasionally somewhat hard to determine. At the same time, the Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta and Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh) could also be regarded as cases of renewal/replacement. On the one hand, this is supported by the fact that the verb is a clear borrowing from Russian. But on the other hand, this becomes evident from the fact that the Northern Ludic liettä “will be” (also used in some northernmost villages of Central Ludic) is found in the same constructions and functions as the Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta and Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh). Thus, there is reason to claim that the new means (be born/ give bith) have pushed out the old means (will be).

Comparison of the underlying constructions showed that the GM construction is a typical change-of-state construction. However, there are differences to what extent it is used. For instance, in the case of Livonian īedõ “stay; remain” the expression of change-of-state could be associated with marking the goal. This also applies to Ingrian, Votic, and Lutsi change-of-state predicates, although there is some variation. In the case of Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta and Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh) “be born/give birth”, Veps t’ehtakse “make/do”, North Ludic liettä, and Valdai Karelian lie(nöy), in turn, the unmarked construction turned out to be the commonest when expressing change-of-state. Thus, the more east we move, the less GM marking we get with the expression of change. As was argued, this does not follow the Russian model, as in Russian the expression of change can be associated primarily with GM constructions.

The analysis of the predicates also revealed instances of the expected grammaticalization path change-of-state > future. Such further development could be attested in the case of Valdai Karelian lie(nöy), North Ludic liettä, Veps lindä (these three are cognate verbs, which originally could be most probably associated with becoming rather than being), Livvi-Karelian rotie(kseh), Central Ludic rodida/rodizetta, and Lutsi saavva. As argued in this article, the unmarked constructions could license such a development. Still there were cases of a verb appearing as a general change-of-state predicate in unmarked constructions without any indications of further development into the future copula. This was the case with Veps t'ehtakse and Livonian īedõ. This was explained as being conditioned by the fact that both languages already contain a future copula – Veps uses lindä and Livonian līdõ.

The results of the present analysis enabled to give a general picture of the most commonly used change-of-state predicates in the Finnic languages and enrich understanding of such a fascinating phenomenon as change-of-state. It remains the task for future research, i.e. to go more in-depth language-wise and discuss in detail the semantic differences between the various means of the expression of change-of-state.


1, 2, 3









active past participle








































possessive suffix













Appendix 1: Distribution of the constructions in the data set


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Received: 2018-10-17
Revised: 2020-03-27
Accepted: 2020-03-27
Published Online: 2020-06-07

© 2020 Miina Norvik, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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