[Lingtyp] collective action marking

Bastian Persohn persohn.linguistics at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 08:21:56 UTC 2018

Dear Randy,

I am not sure, if this answers your question, but in Bantu languages the 
derivational suffix -/an/, usually labelled a "reciprocal" often has an 
array of functions, one of which is that of a joint action. Thilo 
Schadeberg's chapter on derivation in the (2003) Routledge volume on 
Bantu languages might be a good starting point, especially the following 
Zigula example (my glosses):

/mthu na-mbuyaye wa=pang-an-a dende dya-mphasi
/person and/with-friend they-share-'reciprocal'-final_vowel leg 
'A man and his friend share the leg of a grasshopper.' (proverb) 
(Schadeberg 2003: 76)

In my (2017) book on Nyakusa (free .pdf available via LangSci press) I 
list the following examples of the reciprocal's sociative function (p. 90):
/jabana/ 'divide amongst each other' < /jaba /'divide; distribute'
/gonana /'sleep together; copulate' < /gona /'rest, sleep'
(-/a/ is the default stem final vowel)

Hope this somehow helps.


Am 24.07.2018 um 09:33 schrieb Randy J. LaPolla:
> Hi All,
> A student in China (Liu Weifeng) working on Kyrgyz asked me for 
> references about collective marking on the verb. This marking in 
> Kyrgyz (-ish-) is distinct from plural marking, and used together with 
> plural marking, and implies the action was done by two or more people 
> together rather than individually.
> I am aware of the following article, though do not have access to it, 
> and don’t even know know for sure whether it documents this phenomenon:
> Nedjalkov, Vladimir P. 2007. Reciprocals, assistives and plural in 
> Kirghiz. In Nedjalkov, Vladimir (with the assistance of Emma 
> Geniusiene and Zlatka Guentcheva) (eds.), Typology of reciprocal 
> constructions, 1231-1280. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
> I don't know of any other works on this type of category in any 
> language. Has this been looked into in any languages?
> Thanks!
> Randy
> -----
> *Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA* (羅仁地)
> Professor of Linguistics and Chinese, School of Humanities
> Nanyang Technological University
> HSS-03-45, 14 Nanyang Drive | Singapore 637332
> http://randylapolla.net/
> Most recent book:
> https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324
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