1

In The Origin of Agent Markers by Enrique L. Palancar an attempt has been made to list morphemes used both 1.) as a case morpheme belonging to a noun and 2.) as a morpheme on such nouns that express the agent in a passive (main) sentence1 (in the book this is referred to as case syncretism).

For each of those morphemes, there is given a) the "language name" (that was probably assigned in a source grammar), b) the written form and c) one or more specific semantic categories (e.g.: "Ablative", "Perlative", "Instrumental" etc.).2

Unfortunately, there are several entries that list unclear language names.

Please help distinguish these 3 "Eskimo" languoids. I would like to be able to assign a specific iso code (or glottocode) to each:

  1. "Greenlandic" - Suffix -mik (Semantics: Instrumental, as in "with/using something")

  2. "Labrador XIX" - Suffix -nun (Allative (as in "to some place"), Dative (as in "for someone"))

  3. "Inuktitut" - Suffix -mut (Instrumental, Dative, Cause), Suffix -mit (Ablative, as in "away from somewhere")

There is a language tree with all the existing languages and corresponding codes at glottolog.org.


(The following are the agent morphemes that belong to the 3 most closely related languages that are listed as well. I am quite confident that I am able to assign a specific code to these. You may assume that the languages above are distinct from those below.

  1. "West Greenlandic" - Suffix -mit (Ablative, Cause), Suffix -nut (Allative, Dative)
  2. "Alaskan Yupik" - Suffix -nun (Allative, Dative)
  3. "Siberian Yupik" - Prefix -ke (Cause) )

1 Example agent-marking morpheme in Spanish: "El hombre es matado POR el perro." (The man is killed BY the dog.) - perro is the kind of "agent" (or "active") NP that would be subject in the sentence "El perro mata al hombre." (The dog kills the man). The morpheme por however is also used semantically as a marker e.g. of a location, as in "Pasa por el parque" (He passes THROUGH the park). For this particular morpheme, Palancar therefore lists the perlative category (a locative subtype; amongst others).

2 Just to give you an idea what the original list in Palancar looks like: Here's a short excerpt. It goes on like this for a few pages. Excerpt from Palancar

  • You should probably just ask the author directly. – curiousdannii Jun 19 '15 at 8:16
  • Here's the problem: I'm almost sure that even the author of that book only "copied" the language names from the grammars. Sure, I could ask the authors of those grammars... – maj Jun 19 '15 at 8:19
  • If you can get an accurate list of the grammars then they should give you enough info to determine ISO codes. Though I would've expected the book to include the references already... – curiousdannii Jun 19 '15 at 8:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.