Zero marked locations/instruments?

jess tauber phonosemantics at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Aug 13 18:58:39 UTC 2008

Hello once again- I've yet another query. Is it at all common for languages with differential case marking to split their location and instrument terms?

Yahgan has -un/-an locative case suffix, but has many forms in the texts without any mark at all. In the former instance, the gloss is regularly 'in', but the zero-marked forms many times are glossed as 'at', but less commonly also 'in', 'from', 'to' depending on the verb semantics. The language does have marks -u:pai 'to' and -ndaulum 'from', when specification is wanted, but both these are actually multifunctional, as is -un/-an, with nonspatial uses.

Terms in -a or -a:ci can be properly instrumental (though again with other functions possible), but so can zero-marked forms, even though the latter may also involve ingredients, parts, processes, etc.

So is this the usual sort of thing one sees? Thanks.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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