Supervisor: Professor Helle Metslang
Oponent: Professor Pirkko Nuolijärvi (Kodumaa keelte keskus, Soome)
The doctoral thesis "Some relationships between grammatical forms and social actions in spoken Estonian interaction" consists of seven articles, which are preceded by an introductory chapter. The introduction gives an overview of the research task of the thesis, of the research methods and the material used, sets out the results of separate articles and conclusions and findings. The topic of the articles is to analyze certain grammatical constructions and their relations with social actions (e.g. questions, directives) that they perform and the sequences where they are used in spontaneous Estonian interaction. The articles focus on the grammatical forms in different linguistic levels (a) question and statement (declarative); (b) different form variants of questions (e.g. kas, vä, jah); (c) different variants of the same verb forms (ei ole − pole), and (d) different grammatical forms of the same word in the main clauses of the et-complement clause (ütlesin - ütlen etc). The analysis of questions is complemented by an analysis of the relationships between the form of questions and the epistemic status and stance of the interactants. The use of the language varies, which calls for explanation. The articles of the present thesis seek a solution to this problem combining two methods of analysis: qualitative interactional linguistics and descriptive statistics. The data come from the Corpus of Spoken Estonian of the University of Tartu. The study indicates that social action and the sequential position of the linguistic expression are major factors in choosing different forms in Estonian everyday and institutional interaction. The relationships are represented at different grammatical levels.