Borrowed verbs

Peter Bakker linpb at HUM.AU.DK
Fri Jan 3 14:21:26 UTC 2003

pvalenzu at DARKWING.UOREGON.EDU writes:
>Dear LINGTYP Members,
>I am studying the contact between Spanish and Shipibo-Konibo (SK, a
>Panoan language spoken by ca. 30,000 in the Peruvian Amazon).
>Specifically, I am looking at the form Spanish verbs take when
>entering SK.
>Both, established and sporadic borrowed verbs always
>occur in the third person singular present form, followed by an /n/
>segment before taking SK derivational and inflectional verb
>morphology.  One instance of this can be found in the last line of the
>ex. below involving code-mixing:
>Justamente, la       educacion  riki,
>in.fact     the:FEM  education  r-iki
>                                EV-COP
>non      yoiti    atipanke,
>no-n     yoi-ti   atipan-ke
>1pl-ERG  say-INF  can-CMPL
>la       el      unico camino
>the:FEM the:MASC only  way
>que   noa      cambianti...
>that  no-a     cambia-n-ti
>      1PL-ABS  change:3-?-INF
>"In fact, education is, we can say, the...the only thing that can
>change us...."
>This form Spanish verbs take is completely regular, regardless of
>whether the verb is intransitive or transitive, active or stative.
>Other examples are:
>pierde-n- 'to lose' from Spanish "perder"
>pasia-n-  'to go for a walk' from Spanish "pasear"
>baila-n-  'to dance' from Spanish "bailar"
>sufre-n-  'to suffer' from Spanish "sufrir"
>agradece-n- 'to thank' from Spanish "agradecer"
>Interestingly, a much older loan such as ransa- 'to dance' from
>Spanish "danzar" does not follow this pattern.  Actually, the Shipibo
>do not recognize this verb as a loan.
>I am trying to identify the origin / function of the element /n/
>following the third person singular present form.  This /n/ does not
>seem to originate in SK, and is not phonologically motivated either.
>A second possibility is that this /n/ corresponds to the Spanish third
>person plural.  However, it is hard for me to see why this particular
>form of the verb would be selected for borrowing.  A couple of
>colleagues have pointed out to me the fact that the third person
>plural has an impersonal sense, and in fact, the third person plural
>suffix -kan is used in SK to mark impersonal passive.  But I cannot
>see why an impersonal form would be taken as the basis for all types
>of verbs and uses.
>A third possibility is that verbs enter in the third person singular
>form and that the /n/ actually originates from a third language (I am
>studying the possibility of a Quechua origin where -n is a third
>person singular subject marker.  There was some use of Quechua in the
>catholic missions on the Ucayali centuries ago).
>I would be very thankful for information regarding (a) the form
>borrowed verbs take when entering the host languages, (b) the
>functional motivations for selecting certain forms and not others, and
>(c) bibliographical references on (a)and (b).
>!Muchas gracias de antemano y Feliz 2003!
>Pilar Valenzuela

Peter Bakker                            email:  linpb at
Institute for Linguistics               tel. (45) 8942.6553
Aarhus University, Nobelparken          tel. institute: (0045)8942.6562
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7                   fax institute:  (0045)8942.6570
DK - 8000 Aarhus C                      Building 467, room 521

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