South-Sakhalin Nivkh associative plurals

Daniel Abondolo abondolo at DIAL.PIPEX.COM
Sat Aug 18 09:50:24 UTC 2001

Dear Edith Moravcsik (and others; apologies if already posted)

South-Sakhalin Nivkh (as collected in the 1950's and 60s's by Robert
Austerlitz) has a morpheme -xunu
(~ -kunu) which behaves rather like an associative plural. It is
etymologically tantalizing that it resembles not only the default plural
morpheme -xun (~ -kun) but also the co-ordinative -xin (~ -kin). Examples:

'my children'

Nin p--ymk-xunu byRk
p1.excl REFL--mother-ASS.PLUR only
only we, (i.e.,) our mother and her people

p--xiwH-kin p-ewranR-kin
REFL--female's.male.sib-COORD REFL--male's.female.sib-COORD
'both a brother and a sister (of each other)'

ASCII-friendly transcription for Nivkh:
Upper-case N = palatal nasal
Upper-case H = velar nasal
Upper-case X = post-velar voiceless fricative
Upper-case R = voiceless hushing fricative with preceding brief flapped r


Daniel Abondolo

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