Stative Formant -ka (was Re: affixes vs. enclitics)

Koontz John E John.Koontz at
Tue Nov 9 22:42:04 UTC 2004

On Tue, 9 Nov 2004, Rory M Larson wrote:
> Bob:
> > I'd say the -ka is an affix and tightly
> > bound.  I'd reserve "enclitic" for things like the articles that
> > can be moved to the end of the NP, or, at least, farther to the
> > right as you insert additional lexical material.
> Thanks for the clarification!  I wasn't quite sure, but the term
> enclitic popped into my head as I was writing that, so I decided
> to put it in to see what happened.  I'll have a better sense of
> the difference in the future!

This might be a sort of cline involved here.  As far as I know the -ka
that appears to be more or less separable in various stative verb sets,
e.g., *htaN-ka 'big' (neglecting the initial vowel) or *pras-ka 'flat'
'flat' is always a fixed element of the stem in languages that have it.
I guess I'd have to re-check 'big' in Winnebago.

One assumes that either this is some kind of stem-formant or
alternatively, something easily lost.  I tend to prefer the former
explanation.  If it is a stem-formant, a reasonable possibility is that it
is *ka 'yon' acting more or less as a clause final marker and then
absorbed into the verb.  I recall that demonstratives sometimes become
copulas in other language families, but I don't recall the examples.  The
ka-formant strikes me as something like that.

  *ihtaN ka      =>  *htaNka
   big   that         it's big

Not all stative verbs have this formant where it occurs in some, but
perhaps not all stative verbs have the same sort of origin.

The point of this is that presuambly at some point -ka was an enclitic, if
before that it was independent.  But I agree that it's probably not
enclitic even in Dhegiha where it is unaccented, e.g.,


Presumably the process of an independent element becoming a fixed part of
the stem, not even really a productive suffix, involves a series of
intermediate behaviors, each of which fits systematically into some stage
of the languages in question.

More information about the Siouan mailing list