[Lingtyp] Apostrophe highlighting morphological information

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Fri Sep 11 16:15:57 UTC 2020

Dear Jeff, dear all,

Glottal stop with morphological function – yes; represented by apostrophe – maybe:

Proto-Finnic *-k has marked the 2sg imperative and the so-called connegative form (negated main verb together with the negative auxiliary) of verbs and functioned as a derivational suffix for nouns. In most Finnic varieties, the word-final *-k has completely eroded, but in some cases it is represented as a glottal stop.

In South Estonian (Võro/Seto), the glottal stop, in addition to the above-mentioned verb forms and noun derivatives, marks the nominative plural of nouns. Its orthographic representations have been a matter of major disputes; some proposed orthographies have used the apostrophe, many linguists in particular have preferred -q, while many laypeople seem to think that it should be left unmarked. As for literature, the English-language Wikipedia article on the Võro language has a number of useful links; see also the English-language pages of the Võro Institute at wi.ee .

In Finnish, the *-k is (in most dialects and in the standard language) represented as the sandhi gemination (if a consonant-initial word or clitic follows, its consonant is geminated). If a vowel-initial word follows, in some spoken Finnish varieties a glottal stop or stricture can be pronounced. The reflexes of *-k (whether gemination or glottal stricture) are not marked in today’s standard orthography, but in the 19th century, some authors systematically marked them with the apostrophe. 



> Jeff Siegel <jsiegel2 at une.edu.au> kirjoitti 11.9.2020 kello 6.40:
> Greetings:
> I'm posting a question from a colleague in Germany:
> do you know of any language where the apostrophe represents a glottal
> stop and where it highlights morphological information? that is, the
> apostrophe (the glottal stop) only occurs at word-initial or word-final
> position or at morpheme boundaries. it would be great if you could give
> me an example. unfortunately i could not find any in the literature. 
> Grateful for any replies.
> Thanks,
> Jeff
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Univ.Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Campus AAKH Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7
A-1090 Wien
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.athttp://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/
Project ELDIA: http://www.eldia-project.org/ 

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