The need and complexity of describing discourse particles in minor Uralic languages

Keywords: common ground, uncontroversial information, particle combination, ­language contact, grammaticalisation

A better description of discourse particles and discourse markers and their anchoring in grammar is undoubtedly a desideratum for many of the minor languages of the Uralic language family. In comparison with research traditions of Estonian or German, the lack of studies in which native speaker authors follow their intuitions about the meaning and function of so-called small words is particularly noticeable. In the present article, the author uses data from Komi, Udmurt, Mari, Selkup and Kamass to discuss some problems in connection with typical discourse particles functions such as the marking of mutual knowledge and epistemic support, as well as with questions of grammaticalization and language contact.


Gerson Klumpp (b. 1967), PhD, University of Tartu, Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages (Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu),