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Re: Possessive Suffixes

From:Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>
Date:Friday, May 20, 2005, 14:44

On 5/18/05, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:

[snip snip]

> Although enclitics and suffixes are the more common developments, a Google > search will quickly find languages with possessive procltics (preposited > clitics) and possessive prefixes.
I don't know about proclitics, but I've found a language with possessive prefixes right there on my bookshelf -- Nahuatl. (ObDisclaimer: I don't know much Nahuatl, I only attended two courses and bought a bunch of books. The material below comes from James Lockhart's commented translation of Horacio Carochi's "Arte de la lengua mexicana" and from R. Joe Campbell and Frances Karttunen's "Foundation Course in Nahuatl Grammar".) (In the following, I'm using a circumflex instead of a macron for long vowels.) The possessive prefixes are: 1sg no- 2sg mo- 3sg î- 1pl to- 2pl amo- 3pl îm- (în- before nonlabial consonants IIRC) The independent pronouns are: 1sg nehhuâtl/nehhua/neh 2sg tehhuâtl/tehhua/teh 3sg yehhuâtl/yehhua/yeh 1pl tehhuân/tehhuântin 2pl amehhuân/amehhuântin 3pl yehhuân/yehhuântin (syllable-final <h> represents a glottal stop) The 3rd person forms, like many Nahuatl words beginning with /ye-/, have alternative forms beginning with /e-/. -- The longer forms are more emphatic, and according to Carochi, the short forms of the singular cannot be used without a verb, whereas the other forms can be used either by themselves ("who did this?" -- "I/we") or in a sentence to add emphasis ("as for me/us, I/we did the other thing"). -- The -huân suffix is a plural suffix that is apparently used mostly (exclusively??) with nouns that have a possessive prefix; -tin is another plural suffix (or, more cautiously put: one of the other plural suffixes has the form -tin). Now if we add to this the subject, direct object, and reflexive prefixes for verbs: S DO refl 1sg ni- nêch- no- 2sg ti- mitz- mo- 3sg 0- qu(i)-/c- mo- 1pl ti- têch- to- 2pl am- amêch- mo- 3pl 0- quim- mo- we find that there seem to be elements /n-/ for 1sg, /t-/ for 1pl, and /am-/ for 2pl. I'm also suspecting a zero element for the 3rd persons, and Karttunen apparently agrees -- the entry under _(y)eh_ in her "Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl" states that this stem "seems to be a constituent of the Nahuatl pronominal system, _neh_, _nehhuâ-tl_, etc., being derived from the personal prefixes plus _eh_". The 2sg confuses me, though. It looks as if it can't decide whether it wants to be /t-/ or /m-/. ;-) The 3sg DO prefix looks more complicated than it is. It's pronounced /k/ before a vowel and /ki/ before a consonant (the underlying form is /ki/ IIRC, and the /i/ is dropped when followed by a vowel); and the /k/ sound is represented as <qu> before front vowels and as <c> everywhere else, just like in Spanish. -- Still, I have no idea where that 3rd-person DO /k-/ element may come from. Anyway, the person and possessive affixes in Nahuatl apparently didn't evolve from the independent pronouns in their attested (i.e. post-1600 or so) forms. However, it is of course possible that there used to be different independent pronouns in Nahuatl, that became clitics and then prefixes and attached to, among other things, the stem _eh_ to form new independent pronouns that eventually replaced them... (And maybe there was a 2sg pronoun containing both /t/ and /m/ and a 3sg/pl pronoun containing both /k/ and a nasal among those lost pronouns, to account for the lack of resemblance between the 2sg and 3rd person forms above... who knows.) Regards, Julia 8-) -- 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)