[Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

Siva Kalyan sivakalyan.princeton at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 10:37:58 UTC 2023

Hi Christian,

Nick Evans mentions a number of “affective” devices in Central Alaskan Cup’ik on pp. 199–200 of Dying Words (see there for references to primary sources). These are used for meanings like “poor dear young man” and “shabby old great hunter”.

Other languages in the area are likely to have similar devices (he also mentions Nootka).

The only other example I can think of is Russian molodéc <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%86#Russian>, which is primarily used as an interjection meaning “Good boy/girl!”, but is grammatically a (masculine) noun.

Best wishes,

> On 12 Jan 2023, at 8:10 pm, Christian Döhler <christian.doehler at posteo.de> wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> I am looking for publications that address the difference between (1) and (2). In (2), the English adjective poor is used to signal the speaker's sympathy or affection towards the dog.
> The dog is waiting for its owner.
> The poor dog is waiting for its owner.
> While English (and my native German) does this by extending the meaning of the adjective poor (and arm in German), other languages have special words with only that meaning. For example, Komnzo bana is a postposed adjective that only conveys sympathy. 
>     ni bananzo namnzr karen.
>     ni           bana=nzo        na\m/nzr                       kar=en
>     1NSG    SYMP=only     1PL:NPST:IPFV/stay    village=LOC
>     'Only we poor guys stay behind in the village' (subtext: 'while the others are going to the celebration in the neighbouring village')
>     (NSG = non-singular, SYMP = sympathy marker, NPST = nonpast)
> Yet other languages seem to have special verb morphology for this. Van Tongeren describes this for Suki (her PhD grammar will probably be available later this year).
> Pointers to more examples and publications of this are most welcome. I was googling this with keywords like "sympathy", "empathy", "affection", but with not much luck. So there might be a whole literature on this phenomenon under different terminology. If that's the case, then please excuse my ignorance.
> Very Best,
> Christian
> -- 
> Dr. Christian Döhler
> Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)
> Schützenstraße 18
> 10117 Berlin
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