unusual (?) passive/possessive

jess tauber phonosemantics at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 28 19:57:38 UTC 2009

Another long hot day...

In Yahgan there is a construction I find a bit unusual, but my lack of experience with other languages makes me a bit hesitant here, so I'm wondering if list-lurkers can help.

Ex.   hame:amana:nude: shuganiki:pa < ha-m-yamana:n-ude: = 1st sbj-pass/refl-live/survive/recover-past;  shugani-ki:pa ?-female/woman = daughter 'My daughter is getting better'.

This type of construction works for all three bound person pronoun prefixes.

Ex.   kvme:ipvnude: bix <  kv-m-yipvn-ude:  =  3rd sbj-pass/refl-catch-past;  bix bird  
'His bird was caught/someone hit is bird'.

Possession of the nominal is unexpressed in these sentences, where normally it would have another possessing nominal preceding it, and in other constructions one can have the expressed possessor.

Here the possessed NP seems always to follow the verb, and is zero-marked for case. With the expressed possessor neither of these conditions seem to be true.

Is this sort of thing normal for some kinds of languages? Thanks.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at earthlink.net

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