Person and Number morphemes

Jan Terje Faarlund j.t.faarlund at INL.UIO.NO
Sun Nov 4 13:29:19 UTC 2001

At 20:02 03.11.2001 -0700, Jordan Lachler wrote:
>I am looking for references to languages which have both person and number
>argument marking on the verb, and/or person and number marking for
>possessor on the noun, but where these categories are not combined in the
>same portmanteau morpheme, and are instead expressed by separate morphemes.

Zoque (Southern Mexico) has subject and object person marking by means of 
one portmanteau prefix on the verb, and possessor marking with a similar 
(the same?) prefix on the possessed noun (the prefix undergoes various 
morphophonological processes in contact with the initial consonant of the 
verb/noun stem). Number is marked by a suffix on the verb (but not on the 
possessed noun, unless of course the noun itself is in the plural). The 
verb is marked for plural if at least one of the arguments, no matter which 
one, is plural.

Here is how it works in the dialect of Ocotepec with the verb stem -KOTZOK- 
'help'. The prefixes are: 1/2 M- (+voicing of initial consonant); 1/3 N- 
(+voicing); 2/1 & 2/3 M- (+voicing); 3/1 zero; 3/2 NY (+voicing and 
palatalization of initial consonant); 3/3 Y (+palatalization of initial 
consonant). The plural suffix is YAH for 1. or 3. person, and TAM for 2. 
person. The suffix PA marks incomplete aspect.

A       O
1       2       m-gotzok-pa-t           I help you
1       3       n-gotzok-pa             you help him/her
2       1       m-gotzok-pa-'tzi        you help me
2       3       m-gotzok-pa             you help him/her
3       1       Ø-kotzokpa-'tzi         s/he helps me
3       2       ny-gyotzokpa            s/he helps you
3       3       y-kyotzokpa             s/he helps him/her

1       3       n-gotzok-yah-pa-t       we help him/her/them; or: I help them
1       2       m-gotzok-tam-ba-t       I/we help you(pl)

The difference between 'I help you' and 'you help me' is marked by the 
cltic -t. Similarly, the clitic -'tzi indicates first person absolutive.

Professor Jan Terje Faarlund
Universitetet i Oslo
Institutt for nordistikk og litteraturvitskap
Postboks 1013 Blindern
N-0315 Oslo (Norway)

Tel. (+47) 22 85 69 49 (office)
      (+47) 22 12 39 66 (home)
Fax  (+47) 22 85 71 00

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list