The exessive case (abbreviated EXESS) is a grammatical case that denotes a transition away from a state. It is a rare case found in certain dialects of Baltic-Finnic languages. It completes the series of "to/in/from a state" series consisting of the translative case, the essive case and the exessive case.

The exessive case has been described in Estonian, South Estonian, Livonian, Votic, Ingrian, Ludic, Karelian, and Finnish.[1][2]


In the general pattern of the loss of a final vowel when compared to Finnish, the Estonian exessive ending is -nt.

Exessive case is unproductive in contemporary Estonian. It appears in words such as kodunt 'away from home' and tagant 'from behind', or South Estonian mant 'away from the vicinity of something'. The exessive is more common in the language of Estonian folk songs.[3]


The exessive is found only in Savo and southeastern dialects. Its ending is -nta/ntä.[4] For example, tärähtäneentä terveeksi = "from loony to healthy", or a state change from mental illness to mental health.

There are some word forms in Finnish dialects in which the exessive appears in a locative sense. These are somewhat common, though nonstandard, for example takaanta/takanta (from behind, standard Finnish takaa), siintä (from that/it or thence, standard Finnish siitä).[5]


See also


  1. ^ Ariste, Paul. 1960. "Ekstsessiivist läänemere keeltes." In Emakeele Seltsi Aastaraamat, VI, 145-161.
  2. ^ Särkkä, Tauno. 1969. Itämerensuomalaisten kielten eksessiivi. (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia 291.) Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.
  3. ^ Prillop, Külli et al. 2020. Eesti keele ajalugu. Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus. p. 201.
  4. ^ Korpela, Jukka K. "93. Constructs sometimes regarded as cases". Handbook of Finnish. Turku: Suomen E-painos Oy. p. 332. ISBN 978-9-5266-1334-5. Retrieved April 15, 2019. Sometimes a case, exessive, with an ending ntA (combined from the ending nA of essive and tA of partitive) is suggested, meaning "from the role of", thus making the system of locational cases more orthogonal. It is used in a few dialects, though often in a few words only, e.g. using luonta instead of ...
  5. ^ Anhava, Jaakko (2010). "Criteria for case forms in Finnish and Hungarian grammars" (PDF). Studia Orientalia. pp. 241–242. Retrieved April 15, 2019. A rare case form attested in some dialects of Finnish is the exessive, -nta/-ntä; it has developed on the basis of the historical separative case -ta/-tä (which is also the origin of the contemporary Finnish partitive case, which has changed from its historical local meaning into a grammatical case) and has been used in roughly the same meaning: luonta "from the vicinity of", takanta "from behind". The form is relatively young, which can be seen from the fact that it does not take part in Finnish consonantal gradation of stops (takanta, never *taanta – although taakse "(to) behind" where the gradation does take place). In contrast to the Estonian terminative, neither the exessive nor the above-mentioned prolative have become productive case endings in any Finnic language.

Further reading