Professor Tuomas Huumo, University of Tartu
Research Fellow Ann Veismann, University of Tartu
Professor Jari Sivonen, University of Oulu
The aim of the current Ph.D. thesis was to examine the semantics of Finnish Path Adpositions yli 'over', läpi 'through', kautta 'via' and pitkin 'along', in the framework of Cognitive Linguistics. All the adpositions of interest were bipositions (adpositions that can be used both as prepositions and postpositions) but they can represent also several other word classes. Without a complement they can serve as adverbs; in the case where the grams are closely associated with a verb, they represent the class of verb particles. Some of these adpositions can also have their complement in locative case. Such multifunctional words are called grams.
The focus of the analysis was on the uses of these bipositions in sentences expressing a spatial meaning, thus leaving out their use in sentences with a temporal or an abstract meaning. The results are based on data that has been systematically collected from Kielipankki, The Language Bank of Finland. Thus far, there have been studies that focus on path adpositions individually, but there had not been comprehensive studies of the adposition class as a whole.
Central concepts I have used in that work include fictive and actual motion, sequential scanning and force dynamics, among others. Force Dynamics has not been used in earlier studies of Finnish Path Adpositions. When analyzing the semantic properties of Path Adpositons, it was also essential to take into account the other elements of the sentences because they also contribute to the meaning of the whole sentence. Special attention was paid on verb semantics.