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I have heard that the Kyrgyz language has some special words termed "auxilliary nouns" (Атоочтор in Kyrgyz), but I wasn't able to find out what those words are and how they work in that language (searching on Google Scholar gave only a few results in languages like Kyrgyz or Russian that I don't read).

I'd like to see an explanation with some simple glossed examples.

  • I believe атоочтор is the wrong term. In Kyrgyz this refers to nominals of all kinds. Could you clarify? Or provide an example? – Jonathan W. 2 days ago
  • When I first encountered the term атоочтор it was used by by Kyrgyz collaborator with reference to the relational nouns described by @Mitzli in the accepted answer. To my confusion my Kyrgyz collaborator later used the same term атоочтор to describe some special verb forms (kind of gerunds or participles). "Nominals of all kind" sounds like a good umbrella term for all that things. – jk - Reinstate Monica yesterday
  • Ah, okay. I've often seen people less well read in the Kyrgyz grammatical literature call relational nouns жандоочтор ("postpositions"), but most serious Kyrgyz grammars seem to call them жардамчы атоочтор ("‘helping’/auxiliary nominals"), from Кудайбергенов (1980) to Акматалиев et al. (2015). Even Батманов (1933) calls them nominals (in Russian), though he does discuss them in the postpositions section. – Jonathan W. 2 hours ago
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As far as I'm aware, "auxiliary noun" is essentially a synonym for "relational noun" (see Wikipedia). These are basically nouns that can be used to fulfil the role of adpositions, postpositions in the case of Kyrgyz (or Turkish).

An example from Kyrgyz would be:

Үй ич-ин-де мышык уктап жатат.

house.NOM inside-POSS-LOC cat.NOM sleeping is

'A cat is sleeping inside the house.'

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  • Do you know how they are supposed to be different than an object of a preposition in English, other than postposition vs preposition? (English also has a few postpositions anyway.) – Adam Bittlingmayer Apr 5 '19 at 19:35
  • Could you be more specific about what you mean by "an object of a preposition"? Do you mean how are relational nouns different to English compound prepositions containing nouns (like on top of)? – Miztli Apr 5 '19 at 20:45
  • Pardon, I had understood that page incorrectly. But yes, your reformulation is what I should have asked. on top of, thanks to, por medio de, внутри... – Adam Bittlingmayer Apr 6 '19 at 5:56
  • Simple adpositions in English like from can't be used as nouns in English but words like сырт "outside" in Kyrgyz can be used as plain nouns or in the role of adpositions by adding the genitive and locative suffixes (e.g. үйдүн сыртында "outside of the house"). Of course, words like top in English can be used as both plain nouns and in compound prepositions. – Miztli Apr 8 '19 at 12:16
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    I suppose the main in which way in which relational nouns differ from plain nouns used as the object of a preposition is that in English you get a phrase whereas in Kyrgyz you get a whole word. Languages said to have relational nouns also tend to have very few simple adpositions because they mainly rely on case marking which relational nouns supplement (e.g. Turkish) or have no simple adpositions at all (e.g. Classical Nahuatl). In a way, then, the distinct is somewhat arbitrary, though not entirely and the top in on top of is not so different from the сырт in сыртында. – Miztli Apr 8 '19 at 12:17

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