Associative plurals

Özgün KOSANER ozgun.kosaner at
Tue Apr 5 07:31:53 UTC 2011

Turkish has this phenomenon too. Turkish plural -lAr can be used as an
associative plural. For instance,

my uncles (my uncle and his family/friends)

This suffix with this function can be added to proper nouns as weel as
common nouns as in

cats (falidae family of animals)

There is also another suffix, albeit not used widely now, in Turkish -gil.
It's mostly used in species names such as feline, canine, etc. This suffix
again is added to proper names and common names, but used especially with
kinship terms.

my aunts (my aunt and her family)

Ahmets (Not several Ahmets, but Ahmet and friends)

pulse (horsebean and it kind)

I do not remeber any studies on this function of plural suffix and the -gil
suffix in Turkish though.

Best Regards,

Özgün Kosaner
Ozgun Kosaner

Department of Linguistics
Dokuz Eylul University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "jess tauber" <phonosemantics at>
To: <funknet at>
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 9:23 AM
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] Associative plurals

> 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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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tahir Wood" <twood at>
To: <FUNKNET at>
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 9:57 AM
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] Associative plurals

>>> <john at> 4/5/2011 7:33 am >>>
I've heard Black Americans use a reduced form of 'and them' (pronounced
schwa-n-schwa-m) suffixed to names with an associative-type meaning
(Jackie-en-em='Jackie and the people with her'). I don't know how common 

This is very common in colloquial South African English, although perhaps 
not as contracted as is described above.

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