I was solving an IOL sample exercise (which can be found here) about the Aymara language. I did it, it was kinda hard but I did it. One of the words in it was challwampiwa.

The first part (challwa) is a root that means fish. There is a affix -mpi that appears whenever there was more than one kind of fish in the sentence, and an affix -wa that apears whenever the next word is challwataxa, the verb meaning to fish (the language is SOV).

My question is: how do we classify morphologically these affixes, how should one technically call them? And why should this -wa exist at all? Are there other languages with similar structures?

  • 3
    Since the data in that exercise is very limited, you can't classify those morphemes with any degree of certainty, you can't even be sure if they are derivative or inflectional suffixes, you can't even know if they are actually suffixes, they can be anything from clitics to conjunctions of some kind. Why don't you just take an Aymara grammar book and find out what they really are?
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 4, 2020 at 15:54
  • I’m surprised you managed to solve it, since it’s unsolvable – there’s either errors in it (paya should be kimsa in 5, and 6 is just completely wrong) or the description neglects to mention that the fishers may be underreporting their catch. I had everything worked out correctly (as it turns out), but since it still didn’t fit the images, I eventually gave up and checked the answer list… which confirmed that the problem was the exercise, not me. Jun 4, 2020 at 22:51
  • Yeah, I noticed it too, by solving I meant having everything worked out :) Jun 5, 2020 at 14:03
  • @ErgativeMan o homem está vivo!
    – bad_coder
    Jun 6, 2020 at 8:33

2 Answers 2


In the Wikipedia article on Aymara they (i.e., the affix -wa and some similar other affixes) are called phrase-final suffixes with the remark that some authors call them sentence-final suffixes.


My answer is based purely on the two words you provided, so please verify with multiple sources. If the wa affix is only used to make the noun work with the subsequent verb, then it is an inflectional affix marking accusative case, which shows the noun is a direct object of fish. Please check that it is not marking something else too, such as specifically a 3rd person object, etc. I would need to know more about the mpi affix, but from your description, it could be one of multiple plural inflections in the language, or it could be a derivational affix marking that the noun belongs to a specific class of nouns, similar to gender in European languages.

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