Fabre Alain alain.fabre at TUT.FI
Fri Dec 7 09:26:17 UTC 2012

Dear Laura,
I have some examples which might be of interest. These are from Nivacle, a Mataguayo language spoken in the Paraguayan Chaco. Instead of oblique NPs, Nivacle employs obligatory applicative suffixes on verbs. Apart from twenty applicative suffixes, Nivacle has also three associated motion suffixes, which indicate direction of a non-subject participant, and are also suffixed to the verb, e.g. I saw him coming (with: -xulh: ventive), I saw her going away (with : -ch’e/-k’e: itive), and I expected his coming (with delayed ventive: -k’oya). Interestingly, Nivacle does not use applicatives in comparisons, but one of two associated motion suffixes, ventive for equality, and delayed ventive for introducing the positive standard:

1) Positive:

‘I am taller than you’

2) Equality. In the following example, which is fairly representative and by no ways exceptional, a verb ‘to be deep’ has been nominalized and then predicatively used:

‘They have the same depth’ (“Their depth is like one another’s”)

3) Negative. The negative comparison is more complex. It is achieved through a two-verb construction, which combines the defective verb a’lha ‘be.less’ followed by a third person instrumental applicative (-e-sh), and the verb containing the standard of comparison and the delayed ventive suffix (second example). If the standard of comparison is an NP, this bears no special marking (first example):  

pa       plomo    kaclek                
D        lead      
a’lhe-e-sh                              pav’elhcha        klesanlhi-y          other                metal-PL
‘other metals are less heavy than lead’ (“lead is heavy, the other metals are less”)

avaatsha       a’lhe-e-sh                     
you (sg.)          
ca              na-t’un-‘in-yi-k’oya
‘you are less strong than me’ (“you are less that you are strong than me”)

All the best,
Alain Fabre

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