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Re: Where does inflection change to agglutination?

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Thursday, December 26, 2002, 22:16
From: "Roberto Suarez Soto" <ask4it@...>

> I just realized a few days ago (silly me) that in spanish, we > could speak about "agglutination" in verbal forms. Why? Take this > example:
> So, unless in the 1s person of the Indicative, there are > suffixes that are the same for every verbal form, and that carry the > person and number meaning. And there's also a suffix for each verbal > term. Isn't this agglutination, with only some cases of inflection, or > am I missing something? > > My first bet is that I have the "agglutination" and "inflection" > concepts a bit confused, but wanted to ask just in case :-)
Well you're on the right track. Remember that Proto-Indo-European became inflected after various alternations of an originally agglutinative form. Semitic languages are more inflectional, particularly in all those verb forms; they change vowel configurations. But even those has agglutinative properties, in both prefixes and suffixes (and at least one infix, -n- for one verb class I forget, or you can count C2 gemination in Arabic Class II). No language is completely inflecting, agglutinative or isolating, of course; English is a little of all three. Spanish would still be considered inflecting, but less so than Latin. There are still internal changes, like |conocer| (inf. "to know someone") > |conozco| "I know (someone)", which reflects not an infix, but a phonetic rule. Also, there are isolating aspects of Spanish, like the use of the preposition |de| in genitive constructions. I still am confused as to how you *properly* define "inflecting language". I just know agglutinative means the attachment of bound morphemes and isolating means the use of co-words with independent meaning (like Chinese). ~Danny~


Roberto Suarez Soto <ask4it@...>