Eva Saar will defend her doctoral thesis titled "Inflectional system of Soikkola Ingrian" on Friday, 3 November 2017 at 14.15 at UT Senat hall.
Professor emeritus Tiit-Rein Viitso
Associate Professor Heinike Heinsoo
Doctor Külli Prillop
Professor Klaus Laalo (University of Tampere)
Description of the problem
The description of the inflectional morphology of Soikkola Ingrian is important from the point of view of the documentation of minority languages and for the general world knowledge. As an example material of a morpho-phonologically interesting language, it contributes to the general morphological theory. The doctoral dissertation forms a useful link in the study and description of the inflectional systems of Finnic languages. Ingrian, a highly endangered language, has been studied relatively little as compared to its close relatives. The first and so far the last scientific research that presents the inflectional types of nouns and verbs of Ingrian dates back to the 19th century. At the same time, next to Estonian dialects and Livonian, Soikkola Ingrian has one of the most complicated and unique systems of gradation and lengthening alternation because of their co-occurrence in the paradigm. The importance of the dissertation lies in the clarification of the formation principles of the Finnic sound and form system, seeking answers to the following questions: What should be the form of a word in order to express specific grammatical meanings in Soikkola Ingrian? Which stem-alternations are necessary? Which are the inflectional suffixes and their attachment conditions for words of different structures?
Outcome and importance
The description of the inflectional system of Soikkola Ingrian adds to earlier treatments of Ingrian morphology. The inflectional types of the noun and verb are identified through sub-classifications based on different classification principles. Of vital importance here was the linguistic data collected by the author during several field-trips to the Ingrian-speaking region. In Ingrian, there is a large variation of word stems and inflectional endings, and therefore the number of inflectional types is relatively large: there are 179 inflectional types for the noun and 113 for the verb. Variation as a richness of the language has not appeared by itself, but is due to the former word structure as a whole and its sound structure.
In the light of the inflectional system, Soikkola Ingrian can be placed in an interesting position on the continuum of Finnic languages and dialects. While, for instance, according to the location of the weak grade in the paradigm, the Soikkola dialect has most similarities with the Karelian language, the lengthening alternation brings Soikkola Ingrian closer to Estonian and in particular South Estonian language varieties. Considering that in the beginning of the 21st century there is a newly found interest in the study of mother tongue (grandmothers’ language) in the Soikkola Peninsula, one could optimistically hope that the present work will have a practical value in the future as a basis for compiling study materials, which would support the attempts at revitalising the Ingrian language.