Can Variation Analysis of Diminutive Suffixes Enhance the Understanding of the Estonian Runosongs?
Diminution is common to the poetic register of the Estonian runosongs both as a distinct linguistic feature and also in a more general sense of indicating a sense of smallness, intimacy or endearment of the object or quality named. However, the exact functions of diminutives in the context of runosongs are not yet very well understood and no corpus studies focusing on the diminutives of the Estonian runosongs have been carried out. In my presentation I will discuss some theoretical questions about how if at all quantitative analysis of distribution of diminutive word-formations with the most common diminutive suffixes (-kene, and –ke) in a large corpus of unlemmatized runic songs can contribute to our better understanding of the poetic language and the context of diminutive use in such texts of ancient origin. I will also discuss some other related studies connecting them with examples of my experiments with datasets extracted from the Estonian runic songs corpus.