The effects of planned change on Estonian morphology

Abstract: This work is a contribution to the fascinating and highly controversial issue of language planning, i.e. intentional human intervention in language change. Language planning, as any intentional alteration of language, is always interconnected with questions of natural development and change in language. In order to detect the outcome of the processes initiated in Estonian language planning during the last century, the adoption and use in modern standard Estonian of four grammatical features launched by Estonian language reformers in the 1910s have been compared to the use of corresponding means of expression in written Estonian prior to the introduction of the new features. It appears that the adoption of the new modes of expression was conditioned by whether or not they were accepted by language planners, and whether or not they also were included in prescriptive dictionaries and school grammars.

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