Change Versus Force in the Finnish Case System

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In the recent linguistic literature, an increasing attention has been devoted to the role of force dynamics in natural language. The present paper argues that the concept of force plays an important role in the Finnish case system. Translative case in this language is conventionally associated with change of state and the illative and allative cases, with change of location. Unexpectedly under such an approach, these forms are sometimes acceptable (and even required) in sentences that do not entail a change and superficially seem to be stative. This paper argues that translative, illative and allative are licensed by predicates that entail force exertion. While in many instances, force exertion results in a change, this is not an obligatory configuration, which explains the distribution of the cases under discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-693
Number of pages45
JournalLinguistics and Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Allative case
  • Change of location
  • Change of state
  • Finnish
  • Force dynamics
  • Illative case
  • Semantics
  • Translative case

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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