The partitive split in Finnish and Estonian

Saara Huhmarniemi, Merilin Miljan


Finnish and Estonian have several types of split noun phrases where a noun phrase is separated from the modifying quantifier or numeral. This paper provides a preliminary classification of split noun phrases in both languages and proposes a syntactic analysis of a specific type of split NP, the partitive split, where the noun phrase is in the partitive case. We propose that the partitive split is derived by discourse-related movement of the partitive NP. Particular attention is paid on contexts where the partitive noun phrase does not reconstruct to its position prior to movement. For example, numerals higher than one induce morphological mismatches in partitive split in both languages. A solution is proposed, where the partitive split involves an optionally pronounced classifier head, which facilitates the semantic selection and morphology. This analysis is shown to apply to Finnish, but the evidence for Estonian is not conclusive.

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