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Concession: when’s it kuid and when’s it kuigi?

Keywords: concession, coordination, subordination, but, although, contemporary Estonian

The article analyzes the concessive usage of coordinative kuid- (’but’) and subordinative kuigi-sentences (’although’) in contemporary Estonian.

In this study, a corpus-driven analysis of 242 kuid-sentences and 263 kuigi-sentences was complemented with an experiment with 53 test subjects. The data from the experiment was also analyzed using Pearson’s chi-squared test for independence and correlation coefficent.

The corpus analysis found considerable semantical differences between the two constructions; which were categorized into a network, which was the basis for modeling the independent variables of the experiment.

The corpus analysis revealed that the contrasted situations in direct and indirect concession (see Izutsu 2008) can have a temporal (one situation logically entails that the second would not take place) or a conditional relation (one situation entails that the other situation is unexpected in terms of a cultural background), and that these sentences may be used to express an evaluation. With thoughtback concession (see Sokk 2013), the situations expressed in the clauses are switched (result → cause) to emphasize a different evaluation. The experiment revealed that kuigi-sentences are more often used to display a polite negative evaluation, by placing the subordinate clause (’although’) with a positive attribute at the end of the main clause which stresses a negative evaluation. In situations where politeness is not a factor, kuid is preferred in order to emphasize an evaluation. This may indicate that the choice between a concessive coordinative and a concessive subordinative construction lies greatly in pragmatics.

 

Olle Sokk (b. 1991), MA, doctoral student of Estonian and General Linguistics at the University of Tartu, olles@ut.ee

 

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