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possessors (was: Re: More about the morphology...)

From:JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON <mpearson@...>
Date:Sunday, August 29, 1999, 18:26
On Fri, 27 Aug 1999, Fabian wrote:

> > long form short form > > > > my (inanimate) -(u)darc /(@)d@Rk/ > > -(a)c /(@)k/ > > my (animate) -(u)tarc /(@)t@Rk/ > > This morphology looks decidedly Arabic. Here is the Maltese version: > > ktiebi - my book > ktiebek - thy book > ktiebhu - his/its book > ktiebha - her/its book > ktiebna - our book > ktiebkom - your book > ktiebhom - their book
Indicating the person/number of the possessor by adding a suffix to the possessed noun is actually extremely common. There's nothing peculiarly Arabic about it. Malagasy does it too, as does my conlang Tokana: Malagasy: ny tranoko "my house" ny tranonao "your house" ny tranony "his/her/their house" ny tranonay "our (Excl) house" ny tranontsika "our (Incl) house" ny tranonareo "your (Pl) house" Tokana: te katiama "my house" te katiako "your house" te katiana "his/her house" te katiakma "our house" te katiakia "your (Pl) house" te katiasa "their house" (Note that "ny" is the Malagasy definite article "the", while "te" is the Tokana singular inanimate determiner.) This strategy for indicating the possessor seems to be particularly common among verb-initial languages like Malagasy, as well as languages which were once verb-initial and preserve a lot of verb-initial characteristics, like Arabic and Tokana. But it's also widespread among languages of other types. I would even venture to say that it's just as common as having a separate set of possessor pronouns, like English "my", "your", etc. Matt.