[Lingtyp] Verb-like nominal inflection

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Tue Jul 21 21:07:39 UTC 2020

I'm glad Mark brought the parts of speech question up.

There's no good reason to believe that /bahasa/, a loan into Galela from 
the local Ternate dialect of Malay, is particularly nouny in its 
(immediate) source language either.  I just looked through our large 
Ternate Malay corpus (compiled by Betty Litamahuputty and freely 
accessible online), and if you insist on distinguishing nouns from verbs 
in Ternate Malay, well there are some examples of /bahasa /that look 
nouny but others that look verby, such as the following:

kong de bahasa Tidore kong de mangamuk
CONJ 3SG language Tidore CONJ 3SG ACT:amok
'She speaks Tidore and goes amok'

In other examples, bahasa may occur with the "medial verbal" prefix 
/ber-/ and with the reciprocal marker /baku/.


On 21/07/2020 23:46, Mark Donohue wrote:
> Why do we think that /bahasa/ and /bobapo/, in Galela, are nouns?
> Based on the evidence, they're not.
> (Not saying that they're verbs, just that, if nouns are "things that 
> don't behave like verbs", as is implied in the question, then 
> /bahasa/ and /bobapo/ aren't nouns, in Galela.
> -Mark
> On Wed, 22 Jul 2020 at 01:10, Joo, Ian <joo at shh.mpg.de 
> <mailto:joo at shh.mpg.de>> wrote:
>     Dear all,
>     In Galela (West Papuan), nouns can be inflected like verbs, as
>     illustrated below:
>     I would like to know if this is a cross-linguistically common
>     phenomenon, and if so, what other languages show similar patterns.
>     From Hong Kong,
>     Ian
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David Gil
Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-556825895
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091

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