[Lingtyp] Languages with multiple debonding of bound morphemes?
jussi.ylikoski at oulu.fi
Fri Jan 12 18:34:01 UTC 2018
I would like to hear about possible typological parallels to a little-studied morphological (diachronic) feature in North Saami.
I apologize for the lengthy introduction:
Many of you may have heard about probably the best known grammatical morpheme in North Saami, haga 'without', a former abessive case suffix (-haga) that has degrammaticalized into a postposition and ultimately a free adverb and a preposition. North Saami has a quite fusional inflectional morphology, and derivational morphology is quite fusional as well. However, there are also a number of disyllabic suffixes that are by definition much less fusional, and I have proposed that one of the reasons for degrammaticalization – or at least a morphological feature of debonding – may lie in the fact that in a fusional language like North Saami, non-fusional morphemes like -haga are prone to be perceived as words (such as disyllabic adpositions) rather than as (otherwise maximally monosyllabic) case markers.
What is interesting here is that I am aware of as many as about a dozen other disyllabic suffixes that are occasionally experiencing partly similar debonding in North Saami. Apologizing for a little self-promotion, I am referring to my recent paper on haga and a partly similar instance of degrammaticalization, and quote myself as follows:
It may be added that in North Saami there are a number of similar but considerably less degrammaticalized morphemes that may occasionally undergo debonding, namely conjunction reduction à la vuoiddas- ja ostonagaid ‘stains of grease and willow bark’ (30) and varra- ja guomonaga ‘stained with blood and chyme’ (33). Such morphemes have been discussed in Ylikoski (2009: 116–128, 200–201) where it is conjectured that such phenomena could in principle be regarded as tentative symptoms of a wholesale “degrammaticalization drift” in North Saami; a situation in which somewhat atypical disyllabic suffixes seem to represent an intermediate stage on the way to a more clitic-like status for many of the present-day suffixes. Examples mentioned in Ylikoski (2009) include, among others, the verb forms hála- ja čále-dettiin [speak and write-cvb.sim] ‘when speaking and writing’ and bora- ja juga-keahttá [eat and drink-cvb.neg] ‘without eating and drinking’ instead of ordinary converbs háladettiin ja čáledettiin and borakeahttá ja jugakeahttá id., nouns like nuorra-ja olmmái-vuohta [young and man-hood] ‘youth and manhood’ instead of nuorravuohta ja olmmáivuohta and adjectives like áhče- ja eatne-heapme [father- and mother-less] ‘fatherless and motherless’ instead of áhčeheapme ja eatneheapme. In a way, situations in which such morphemes stand out as quite atypical for affixes are reminiscent of Norde’s (2001; 2009: 206–207) thoughts on deflexion as impetus to degrammaticalization of morphemes like English and Scandinavian s-genitive and Irish muid ‘we’.
Ylikoski, Jussi. 2016. “Degrammaticalization in North Saami: Development of adpositions, adverbs and a free lexical noun from inflectional and derivational suffixes. Finnisch-Ugrische Mitteilungen 40: 113–173. Available at http://cc.oulu.fi/~jylikosk/filer/fum40_ylikoski.pdf
I wish to emphasize that most if not all the inflectional and derivational suffixes I am referring to go back to ancient Proto-Saami or even Proto-Uralic suffixes. For example, unlike English -less in "father- and motherless", the suffix -heapme in áhče- ja eatne-heapme [father- and mother-less] is regarded as having an age-long past as a suffix only. In other words, from a comparative Uralicist perspective, the above examples are about as strange as "speak- and writing", "eat- and drinking" or "grammati- and degrammaticalization" in English.
My question: I wonder if there are many languages that behave like North Saami in this respect? More precisely, I would be especially interested in languages that have experienced a similar "wholesale degrammaticalization drift" or "debonding drift" in the sense that there are many individual (originally) bound morphemes that have turned out to be not necessarily that bound after all.
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