Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ŋʒädär: Noun Morphology

Ŋʒädär nouns have case, proximative/obviativeness and number. In the obviative forms, number is omitted.

The cases of Ŋʒädär are the absolutive, the dative, the locative, the lative, the ablative, the genitive-comitative, the instrumental and the complement.

The absolutive takes no suffix. The dative singular takes -m/-im/-um/-üm/-ım. The locative takes -ŋa/-ŋä/-ŋe/-ŋo. The lative takes -lis/-lıs/-lus/-lüs. The ablative takes -line/-lınɤ/-lünä/-luno. The genitive-comitative takes -(h)Vs, where V is a reduplication of the last vowel of the stem. The instrumental takes -(r)Vk, with the same vowel reduplication as in the genitive. The complement is formed by the suffix -ɣuv/-jiy/-jüy/-ɣıv.

All cases except the dative (and absolutive) have very simple plurals - they are formed by inserting the morpheme -üv-/-uv-/-iy-/-ıɣ- after the stem. Some assimilation happens with the locative, giving -ümä/-uma/-inye/-uŋo.

The absolutive plural is formed by taking the full nominative, changing any word-final vowel to the most open vowel at the same position: u, o, a > a; i, e > e; ü, ö > ö; ı, ɤ > ɤ and affixing -r. If no word-final vowel exists, whichever of these four: {a, e, ö, ɤ} that fits the bill is inserted before -r.
The dative plural is exceptionally formed by a separate set of suffixes, viz. -ot'/-et'/-ät'/-ɤt'.

The obviative marker -qi(g)-/-qu(g)-/-qü(g)-/-qı(g)- takes the place of the number morpheme. The only case to have distinctive singular and plural forms in the oblique is the absolutive. The absolutive plural obviative turns the vowel into a widening diphthong with an -n for suffix, e.g. -qien, -quon, -qıɤn, -qüön. The dative also behaves exceptionally with the obviative marker: the suffixes are those of the dative plural and not of the dative singular.

The dative serves more roles than just that of a recipient; for several verbs, it marks the subject, and for some the object. It also marks purposes, causes, sources of information, the time at which something is to happen, by whose opinion something is or seems to be, or by whose perception something is known.

If a possessum would be in the absolutive case were it not possessed, the genitive marks both the possessor and the possessum. In other cases, the possessum retains the case it should be having. Who owns whom is determined by the animacy hierarchy. Reflexive possession of objects is also marked by marking the subject and object of the verb with the genitive case. In fact, whenever the possessum is a subject or an object, there is no need for the possessor to be part of the same noun phrase - it can be flung almost anywhere in the clause. The interactions between possessum, possessor, the animacy hierarchy, and verb argument structure is somewhat complicated. Normally, having a lower-ranked noun own a higher-ranked one is not trivial except when they're subject and object of a regular, transitive verb. A number of strategies exist for this, though.

The instrumental also marks manners, entire time-spans, and is generally used to form adverbs. Peculiarly, it also marks the location of verbs like 'live' or 'reside'.

The ablative marks beginnings of time-spans. Origins, and when talking about distances to things – distances are from a place in Ŋʒädär, not to a place. Distances between two places are from both of them.

Besides the obvious direction and destination, the lative marks ends of time-spans, as well as recurring times in plural forms.

The locative marks place as well as most mental states, with perfective transitive verbs it can also mark destination.

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