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Re: THEORY: genitive vs. construct case/izafe

From:Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 26, 2005, 5:45

On 7/23/05, tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...> wrote:

[snip snip]

> From the Wikipedia article on "Arabic grammar", > "construct" is the "third horn on the bull" > whose more familiar two horns are "definite" and "indefinite". > > So, for example, in a Semitic language like Hebrew or Arabic, > the opposition might be --- > "the mine" vs "a mine" vs "Solomon's mine".
Now that you mention it -- Until now, I would have said that the construct form of an Arabic noun (say, _kitAb_ "book"; constr.(nom.) _kitAbu_) is sort of the "basic form", or at least happens to look like such a basic form (for most nouns), that never occurs by itself. You can attach an article to it (to make it definite: _al-kitAbu_ "the book"), or an indefinite suffix (to make it indefinite: _kitAbun_ "a book"), or a genitive NP or possessive suffix (to get a possessive construction: _kitAbu-hu_ "his book", _kitAbu 'l-mu`allimi_ "the teacher's book"). (Kind of like Nahuatl nouns that cannot occur "as such" ["naked" if you will]... there always has to be either an absolutive suffix [_xochitl_ "flower", stem _xochi_] or a possessive prefix [_toxochi_ "our flower"] or some sort of plural marking [_xochime_ "flowers"; for other stems, there may be reduplication instead of a suffix]. A noun stem can only occur without such affixes [or reduplication] if it is either incorporated into a verb [_xochimanazque_ "they will lay flowers"] or if it appears as a non-final part in a compound noun [_xochicuzcatl_ "garland of flowers"]. But I digress.) Of course, now that I've done a little research about the construct state, I know that it's a little more complicated in other Semitic languages. At the very least, the Hebrew and Maltese construct forms aren't substrings of the other forms of the same noun. ;-) Anyway, the definite : indefinite : construct trichotomy does make sense to me.
> Is that kind of information also part of > what Julia's question asked for?
I think so. :-) It's something I hadn't expected when I asked the question, but it certainly feels like something that'll eventually lead me to fascinating new linguistic realizations if I spend enough time pondering... Regards, Julia -- Julia Simon (Schnecki) -- Sprachen-Freak vom Dienst _@" schnecki AT iki DOT fi / helicula AT gmail DOT com "@_ si hortum in bybliotheca habes, deerit nihil (M. Tullius Cicero)