A fictional example: zelun (zel- (verb stem: "to make leather") + u (personal suffix, 3rd person sg.) + n (temporal suffix, present)) vs. zelud (u (3rd sg.) + d (preterite)) zelun = "He/She/It is making leather" zelud = "He/She/It made leather"

1 Answer 1


(Note: the question has been clarified, making this answer no longer correct. This answer is about affixes, while the question is about suffixes.)

Many Bantu languages, including Swahili and Lingála. For example:

"I am reading"

  • thank you. i should have been more precise. is there a language, where person and tempus are both suffixed but personal ending precedes temporal, e. g. [verb stem]+3SG+PRESENT?
    – Abas
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 17:12
  • Yeah, this doesn't answer the question in its current form, which uses the word "suffix" and not "affix" in the title... I don't know if that has changed somehow (I can't see any edits, but I forget the details of how the grace period works) Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 19:20
  • This is part of a larger question that has been bothering me. I suppose that the more peripheral the affix, the more special its instantation of the lexeme. E.g. anybody could be X-ing right now, but specifying a person is more concrete, more exemplifying than, e. g. a present infinitive. It constricts the sense of the verb more than the tempus. Likewise, I have the feeling, that case affixes could 'universally' be more peripheral than number affixes, e.g. horses’ shoes or even shoes of the horses instead of horse’s-es. Or is there a language with [noun stem]+case suff.+number suff.?
    – Abas
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 19:40
  • 1
    @abas This deserves a separate question, I have also been wondering about the naturalness of ordering. In Russian it is hard to say if case or number is more peripheral, as the endings are different for each combination, and for -a (generally feminine) nouns the ending is even dropped in genitive plural. In Armenian case is more peripheral than number but there is <noun><case><possessive>, eg meqenajumd (meqena-um-d) (in your car), which is contrary to how it works in other cases known to me. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 8:41
  • Thanks. I reposted the question: linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/27527/…
    – Abas
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 19:37

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