Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dairwueh: Diminutives

Dairwueh too has morphological diminutives. There are several ways they are formed, and they almost all involve non-concatenative morphology. Many diminutives can be somewhat ambiguous: they may both encode 'a small X' as well as a more specific derived meaning. Examples of the latter are sea:lake, skill:trick. The more specific meaning is given below if such a meaning exists for the pair given.

1. R-infixation
Hiatuses inside words can be replaced by -r-. Generally the previous syllable's onset is made heavier as well if possible:
baud: barud, farm, little farm
apaeg: appareg, servant, kid servant
nius: nnerus,  sea, lake
If no hiatus exists, an -r- infix instead goes after the onset of the second syllable, except if there is a cluster there, so
bakuse: bikruse: tree, bush
kartun: -no -r infixed form-! celebration
2. Vowel shifts
e → i, a  → e, u → ii, i → ii, i → e, o → u, a → u. Which shift takes place depends a bit on surrounding vowels, on the declension of the noun. In some words, they're quite freely applied, mainly to the first syllable, but sometimes to additional ones. In words with vowel shifts, either r-infixation or a suffix are also applied. The suffix generally is -er- (masc), -i- (fem), -en- (neut).
stanar : stenar hut, little hut
kartun: kertun, kertin celebration, smaller or less formal celebration
3.  p- and t-fricativization and lengthening
aper : affer cloud, wind
vutin : vussin  sail, cloth (humorous)
kapan : keffan book, letter
This is mainly applied on the onset of the second syllable. 
4. di- prefixation 
rasma : diresma a (largeish) fire, a small fire
dunvali : dirinvali kingdom, tributary kingdom (the change to -rinvali is due to dissimilation)
muste : dimuste skill, trick
Diminutives are generally used to showcase informality. They can be quite freely formed along the lines given above. Ones that have specific meanings may be avoided in favour of newly formed ones that lack such connotations, but one cannot rely on, say 'keffan' signifying a letter all the time - sometimes it is indeed just a booklet.

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