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Re: Affix terminology (was: Naming the conlang)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 21:16
On Monday, July 12, 2004, at 11:10 , Trebor Jung wrote:

> Isaac wrote: "Some people say there is also a TRANSFIX, like vocalzations > in > Semitic langs, e.g.: > s-g-r - a Hebrew root 'to close'; > sagar 'he closed' - ...A...A... is a transfix; > sagur 'closed' - ...A...U...; > soger 'closing' - ...O...E. > .."
Interesting - I don't find 'transfix' listed in Trask. My first reaction is that these are affixes realized as two or more infixes.
> I call that grammatical device 'triconsonantalism', which I suppose isn't > exactly the best term for it...
No, it ain't. Triconsonantalism is simply a description of the root words in Semitic. The feature that Isaac refers to is the vocalization of those consonants. I see reason why this feature has to be confined to triconsonantal roots per_se. Indeed, I believe the same feature occurs in the Hamitic languages and, although IIRC triconsonantalism is common, there are biconsonantal & quadriconsonantal roots - I think. In any case, even if I'm mistaken about the Hamitic languages, I see no reason why 'transfix' per_se has to be confined to triconsonantal roots. ========================================================================= ===== On Monday, July 12, 2004, at 11:23 , Garth Wallace wrote:
> Isaac Penzev wrote:
>> Some people say there is also a TRANSFIX, like vocalzations in Semitic >> langs, e.g.:
> The SIL glossary seems to call these "simulfixes".
I don't find that term in any of my reference books either. When I reflect more carefully, I realize that this type of affixing is not always a combination of infixes, since one of the vowels could be suffixed or prefixed, e.g. *asgur, *segru etc. (I just make the examples up). In fact, natlangs don't slot neatly into the simple list I gave. I'm reminded that in ancient Greek, there are a few verbs who form their 'present stem' by suffixing -an- at the same time (hence, I guess, SIL's coining of "simulfix") as infixing a homorganic nasal before the final consonant of the root; with these verbs the simple root is used as the aorist stem, e.g. ROOT PRESENT STEM EXAMPLES math- manthan- emathon = I learnt ~ emanthanon = I was learning lab- lamban- elabon = I took ~ elambanon = I was taking lakh- laNkhan- elaknon = I obtained by lot ~ elaNkhanon = I was obtaining by lot tykh- tyNkhan- etykhe = it happened ~ etyNkhane = I was happening khad- khandan- ekhadon = I held ~ ekhandanon = I was holding 'Transfix', I think, is not a good term for this (tho it might be for Semitic/Hamitic vocalization) since the term surely implies that the affix is spread across the root, stem or base. The Greek examples apply only to the end of the root where a nasal is infixed before the last consonant and -an- is suffixed. I haven't consulted the SIL glossary, but 'simulfix' must refer, surely, to the feature whereby a affix is realized as two 'fixes' *at the same time*, i.e. a circumfix is one example of a simulfix, as is Issac's examples of transfix and my examples of the Greek verbs above. As I observed in my earlier post, a circumfix is, in the words of Trask, "an affix realized as a combination of a prefix and a suffix". I know of no separate term to denote "an affix realized as a combination of an infix and a suffix". ================================================================= On Tuesday, July 13, 2004, at 03:29 , william drewery wrote:
> --- Garth Wallace <gwalla@...> wrote: >> Isaac Penzev wrote: >> >>> Ray Brown wrote: >>> >>> >>> - >>>> SUPERFIX (also known as SURPAFIX) - > > What is a "superfix/surpafix"?
On Monday, July 12, 2004, at 06:39 , Ray Brown also wrote :) [snip]
> SUPERFIX (also known as SURPAFIX) - an affix realized as a suprasegmental > feature, i.e. stress or tone, e.g. the contrast between English 'record' > (noun: stressed on first syllable) and 'record' (verb: stressed on second > syllable)
If that example wasn't clear, let me give one of Trask's examples. In an African language called Ngbaka spoken in the DR Congo, four major tense/aspect forms of verbs are marked solely tones: FORM SUPERFIX TONES EXAMPLES (Diacrtics used - in case your mailer mangles Unicode) Form 1 - falling wà gbòtò (grave accents) Form 2 - level wā gbōtō (macrons) Form 3 - fall+rising wă gbòtó (breve on 'wa'; grave & acute on 'gboto') Form 4 - rising wá gbótó (acute accents) Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>