GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Online ISSN : 2185-6710
Print ISSN : 0024-3914
On the Grammatical Interpretation of the Quantifying Sentence in the Finnish Language
Jun'ichi SAKUMA
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Volume 1992 (1992) Issue 102 Pages 121-147

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Abstract

In the Finnish language, there is a type of sentence called the quantifying sentence. The grammatical interpretation of this type of sentence has long been controversial. In its initial position, there appears a noun phrase (NP) in the partitive plural form, and a quantifier (Q) after the verb indicates the quantity of the referent of the initial NP.
The initial NP of this type of sentence functions either as the object or as the obligatory argument of existential sentences. In both cases, the initial NP is in apposition with the Q. This is the reason why the case ending of the Q changes in the same way as that of the object or the obligatory argument of existential sentences.
The quantifying sentence, however, cannot be properly interpreted without considering its pragmatic functions along with its grammatical ones. The initial NP functions as the theme of the sentence, which represents what is already known, and which hints at what is going to be said in the rest of the sentence. When the initial NP is accentuated, it also serves to isolate a piece of information from an already known set.

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