passive/causative homonymy

jess tauber phonosemantics at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Sep 16 20:32:50 UTC 2011

Yahgan has a canonical causative tu:-, causative/permissive u:-, passive/reflexive ma(m)-, which can be combined in various ways. There is a circumstantial *T- with various environmentally conditioned allomorphs, and apparently some cross-interference with the tu:- causative (folk etymology?). The fact that both tu:- and u:- contain -u:- may point originally to the same historical source, and perhaps some similar relationship with the passive/reflexive ma(m)-, which isn't THAT different phonologically. Yahgan's morphological system (which like a number of the example languages is nom/acc case marking) appears to be relatively new (and during the colonial period the language was switching to VO from older OV), and the overall cast is agglutinative. Is this relevant?

Jess Tauber

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