[Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Thu Jan 12 13:12:01 UTC 2023

Dear Christian, dear all,

within Uralic, North Mansi (see e.g. Bakró-Nagy & al. 2022, https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198767664.003.0029 <https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198767664.003.0029> ) can use the diminutive suffixes -kwe and -riś, the latter "with a shade of pity", not only in denominal diminutives but also in verbal conjugation:

ɑkweːkw, wɑːɣ-tɑːl pɑt-əm-ris'-ən
grandmother strength-CAR become-MIR.PST-DIM-2SG
‘Grandmother, poor you became tired!’

This is sometimes called the "precative conjugation".

As for Finnic, there seems to be (again) a nice areal/contact-related pattern. Finnish has "one-trick pony" nominals equivalent to Danish stakkels or Swedish stackars, usually postponed and forming a compound-like phrase: poikaparka ~ poika parka (/ rukka / ressu / raasu / riepu) ‘poor boy’ ["boy(-)poor.thing"]. Estonian, again, patterns with German and uses the general adjective vaene ‘poor (having little property)’ also in this attitudinal function of pitying.

(A similar pattern occurs with the use of diminutives in Estonian and Finnish: https://www.academia.edu/94842951/Derivation_morphopragmatics_and_language_contact_On_the_role_of_German_influence_in_Estonian_word_formation <https://www.academia.edu/94842951/Derivation_morphopragmatics_and_language_contact_On_the_role_of_German_influence_in_Estonian_word_formation> .)


PS. Etymological fun fact: Finnish parka ‘poor thing’ might be cognate with the Nenets word for overcoat or jacket which, in turn, has spread throughout Arctic Eurasia and (via Russian and Aleut?) to English and other Western languages.
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/ 

> Christian Döhler <christian.doehler at posteo.de> kirjoitti 12.01.2023 kello 11.10:
> 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
> Raum: 445
> Tel.: +49 30 20192 412
> https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9659-5920 <https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9659-5920>
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