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Re: Possessive Suffixes

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 17, 2005, 17:20
Christian Köttl wrote:
> The possessive suffixes were in the singular > -ja "my" > -ki "thy", > -ka "thy",fem.plk > -Su "his" > -Sa "her"
(snip etc.) How, if at all, do the suffixed forms relate to the free forms of the pronouns? For example, in all the Austronesian/Malayo-Polynesian languages I can think of, there's a pretty clear relationship between the two: I-sg. *aku -- poss.sfx. -ku almost everywhere II-sg. *kamu -- poss. -mu almost everywhere (*kamu may have been a pl. form originally, not sure) (also *kaw ~*kahu -- sfx. -ko in a few; definitely the sing., originally) (III-sg. see below) -- Suffixes for the plurals are much less common, but where they occur: I-pl.incl. *kita -- sfx. -ta (I-pl. excl. *kami -- no sfx. attested AFAIK; it would probably have been ?*-mi, thus falling together with-- II-pl. *miu (Moluccan *kimi) -- sfx. -mi III-pl. *sida -- sfx. -da (often > -ra) There was also a possessive/attributive particle *ni, which shows up in N - N possessives and idioms like *taqi ni aNin (shit (of) wind =) cloud, and also shows up in the usual III-sg. suffix-- III-sg. *ia, poss. *ni ia > **nya > -nya in some langs. (/-ña/ in those few that have a palatal nasal, like Ml/Indo), but more often -na, and this too is near-universal. This *ni particle is probably present in some variant forms, also widespread: Isg **-Nku, Ipl-inc. **-nta, IIIpl **-nda (perhaps trivially in the forms with initial nasal) The general lack of suffixes for the plural seems to be due to the development of politeness/status distinctions and/or occasional loss of the incl./excl. distinction, and/or frequent generalization of sing. forms to the plural, esp. in III person. In Ml/Indo. the I and II-sg. suffixes are informal; the more usual construction is collocation, using alternate pronoun forms: aku, -ku in familiar speech, e.g. rumah/ku 'my house' saya 'I' non-intimate: rumah saya and similarly in II-sg, where words like bapak 'father' or titles are used in lieu of familiar engkau or kamu, so rumah bapak '(your) house' (note rumah bapak saya 'my father's house') III-sg. -nya can also be plural, also respectful II-- as, darimana asal/nya (from.where origin/poss.) 'where do you come from?'; alternate III-pl rumah mereka (+ 'they') Here's the set of suffixes in Buginese: SING. -ku -mu (sing. only AFAIK) -na both sg. and pl. (pl. also N+na maneng (all) for clarity)-- also used in N - N, e.g. bola/na Ali 'Ali's house' PLUR. -ta (both I-incl./excl, also polite II-sg/pl (alt. + maneng in pl.) (-keng I-excl., full pronoun i/keng ult. < *kami, but both forms are obsolete) Here's the set in Kisar, a Moluccan language: -u Isg (<*-ku or *-Nku) -mu II sg/pl -n(V) III sg/pl -d(V) (<**nta) Ipl in/ex. --(V)is 0 or a V determined by rule But very closely related Leti has: -u -mu sg. only -nV sg/pl -mi II pl. Leti retains the Ipl in/ex distinction, but has lost the suffixes, cf. Kis. ik makrom/do (we master/poss) 'our master (relig. Our Lord)' Let. it matrum/na (generalizing the III sfx.) Also, the old IIIpl *-da survives in Leti as a plural marker (-ra), but not in Kisar. I don't have my Fijian dictionary at hand, but I know it has reflexes of the singulars, *-ku, *-mu, *-na. It would be interesting to look at the plurals, since Fij. has dual-trial-multiple. Will check. A multi-language study of the relationship between full/poss.-suffix pronoun forms has probably been done, somewhere, but I don't know of any. Could be interesting, though I'd suspect there's usually a pretty clear relationship, just as in AN.


Christian Köttl <christian.koettl@...>