Associative plurals

jess tauber phonosemantics at
Tue Apr 5 06:23:22 UTC 2011

Well, Yahgan has an even higher animacy dual -a:pai. In pn's only found with 1st and 2nd person. I'm starting to think there are three underlying bases here that evolved from the three numeral terms for 1,2,3. Three in Yahgan is mvtan (v schwa), so -(n)de(i) from that. Two is kvmbai (alternate forms kvmbaibi, kvmbaibai), which would yield -a:pai. There is also a form hvnggvmbai which acts as a reciprocal. u:koali is one, and the definite article -a:ki (which also has an alternate in -a), also used independently to mean 'someone', may have evolved from it. There is a suffix -(n)chi, perhaps further evolved, on nouns which seems to relate to superindividuality (as when one has subordinates), so maybe this too is an associative use? It can be used alone (as when one appeals to the king), or also on possessors in constructions of X-nchi Y-n (Y of X). 

Still a bit fuzzy here, haven't thought in these terms before.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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