[Lingtyp] Query on sentential names/Satznamen

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Thu Jun 20 06:21:03 EDT 2019

Dear Iker,

Hebrew is a source for numerous examples of this, many of which are 
familiar around the world, though their etymologies may not be. If you 
can think of a name that ends with "-el" or "-iah", chances are it's a 
SN in which the "-el" or "-iah" bit refers to God.  For example

Daniel < dan-i-el [judge.PAST.3SGM-1SG.OBJ-God] 'God judged me'

I suspect that you may wish to broaden the definition of SN to include 
also clause-like cases involving a "zero" copula, such as

Michael < mi-xa-el [who-like-God] 'Who is like God'

Also, since Hebrew has pronominal marking on the verb, you might wish 
also to include forms such as

Isaac < yiṣħak [3SGM.FUT.laugh] 'He will laugh'.

I'll stop here, as I assume that there is a large literature on this 

(Note: for convenience sake, I've provided the transcriptions and 
glosses as per Modern Hebrew, though since these names are Biblical, 
they should really be represented in Biblical Hebrew.)



On 20/06/2019 19:52, Iker Salaberri wrote:
> Dear colleagues, dear fellow typologists,
> I'm currently looking for cross-linguistic data on a specific kind of 
> name: sentential names (SNs), a.k.a. clausal names, phrasal names and 
> (in their widespread German use) /Satznamen/. van Langendonck (2007: 
> 277-278) defines SNs as names consisting (minimally) of a verbal stem 
> and a noun phrase (NP) or an adverb, where the NP is either the direct 
> object or the subject of the verb stem. Here are some examples of SNs 
> I have found so far:
> (1) Shona (East Bantu): /Chaitamwarihachirambwi /'What God has done 
> cannot be rejected', from /mwari /'God' and the verb root -/it /'to 
> do' (Mapara 2013: 103)
> (2) Basque (Language isolate): /Euridakargaina /'The summit which 
> brings rain', from /euri /'rain' and the verb root -/kar /'to bring' 
> (Salaberri 2008: 733)
> (3) Warrongo (Pama-Nyungan): /Galonggo balban banggarra/ '(The place 
> where) mice rolled blue tongue lizard', from /galo /'mouse' and /balba 
> /'to roll' (Tsunoda 2011: 22)
> (4) Northwest Sahaptin (Sahaptian): /Xátkapsha /'Leans unexpectedly', 
> from /tkap/ 'to lean' and /xa/- 'unexpectedly' (Hunn 1996: 14)
> (5) Mandarin (Sino-Tibetan): /Chuán-wén/ '(The one who) transmits 
> culture', from /chuán /'to transmit' and /wén /'culture' (Wiedenhof 
> 2015: 92) (sorry if the tone markers are inaccurate)
> (6) Eastern Apurímac Quechua (Quechuan): /Waqcha kuyaq/ '(The one who) 
> esteems the poor', from /waqcha /'poor' and /kuya/- 'to esteem' 
> (Fonseca 2012: 98)
> (7) German (Indo-European): /Hassdenpflug /'Hate the plow', from 
> /hassen /'to hate' and /Pflug /'plow/plough' (Heintze 1908: 160)
> I'm writing to ask for your help in tracking down more instances of 
> this kind of name: I have found so far that SNs are common in 
> (subsaharan) Africa, North America and Europe, in decreasing order, 
> and far less common in Asia, Oceania and South America. That is why I 
> would be extremely grateful for any information on SNs in languages 
> from Asia, Oceania and South America. I would be very grateful for any 
> pointers to grammars, language descriptions or other mentions of SNs 
> in the literature.
> References:
> Fonseca, Gustavo S. 2012./Introducción a un tesoro de nombres quechuas 
> en Apurímac/. Lima: Terra Nuova.
> Heintze, Albert. 1908. /Die deutschen Familiennamen: Geschichtlich, 
> geographisch, sprachlich/ (3rd edition). Halle an der Saale: Verlag 
> der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
> Hunn, Eugene. 1996. Columbia Plateau Indian place names: What can they 
> teach us? /Journal of Linguistic Anthropology/ 6(1). 3-26.
> Mapara, Jacob. 2013./Shona sentential names: A brief overview/. 
> Bamenda: Langaa Research & Publishing.
> van Langendonck, Willy. 2007. /Theory and typology of proper names/. 
> Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
> Salaberri, Patxi. 2008. Satznamen direlakoen inguruan: Erlatibozko 
> perpausetan jatorri duten toponimoak aztergai [On so-called Satznamen: 
> Investigating toponyms which originate in relative clauses]. In Xabier 
> Artiagoitia & Joseba A. Lakarra (eds.), /Gramatika jaietan: Patxi 
> Goenagaren omenez/, 725-741. Bilbao/Bilbo: University of the Basque 
> Country.
> Tsunoda, Tasaku. 2011. /A grammar of Warrongo/. Berlin/Boston: Mouton 
> de Gruyter.
> Wiedenhof, Jeroen. 2015. /A grammar of Mandarin/. 
> Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
> Best,
> Iker Salaberri
> Public University of Navarre
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David Gil

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816

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