A Short Grammar of Latvian by Terje Mathiassen

By Terje Mathiassen

A descriptive grammar of Latvian

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4 SRXTVT/R SXV clause patterns are attested most frequently in ID, and among them the most common pragmatic structure is SR(XV)T. The examples are largely formulaic, however: 11 out of 27 take the form (i) S tu ležit/ležat. In most instances, the . The fact that several of the clauses either have verbs prefixed with iz- or have mnogo or a related form in the subject phrase is curious, but ultimately does not appear to be significant in its own right: there are many clauses with similar lexical features but different syntactic and pragmatic arrangements.

1 below, any interpretations of the difference between the patterns must be based on observations of the medieval data themselves rather than argued from general assumptions, be they about the Russian language in particular or about wider principles of synchronic linguistics. That said, on a first inspection many of the examples in the (SV)RXT category do seem to lend themselves to an expressive interpretation. ’ (Th 44a. 14) (Th 47a. ’ (Th 28c. ’ (Th 46c.  The particle se is of limited usefulness as a diagnostic of expressiveness, for its appearance is restricted to only the highest-style texts, primarily Th.

However, all the sources also contain clauses in which the theme-rheme progression is not observed. Alternative patterns typically involve the placement of Clause and text organization in early East Slavic a thematic constituent medially, after a rhematic verb. In the case of Nov and ID, the interposed thematic constituent is typically the subject; for BG and Const, it is the spatial expression; the data from Th and SN are respectively too varied and too sparse to allow for generalization. One factor encouraging this medial placement of the theme seems to be the use of the verb byti (‘to be’): all but one of the 13 verb-first clauses in Const begin with estь (‘is’), though estь may also appear in later positions in the clause; over a third of all byti clauses considered in ID begin with the verb and have a thematic medial constituent.

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