Monday, December 5, 2022

Some family terms in Ćwarmin

The basic family terms:

julo = son
ot = oldest son
zel = daughter

father =  aru
mother = viri

brother = raŋa
older brother = cawot
sister = zuja

In older Ćwarmin, possessive suffixes existed, but are used in very restricted contexts. However, in some lexemes, they appear as derivative elements of unclear meaning. Thus

-ata | -ete, formerly 1sg possessive

has lead to these terms:

raŋata ('my brother') = uncle
zujata ('my sister') = aunt
aruta ('my father') = grandfather
virite ('my mother') = grandmother

Apparently, parents referring to their siblings and parents has become a way children refer to their uncles, aunts and grandparents, and this was lexicalized. Other synonyms do exist, however. In addition:

aruta and virite are sometimes used as formal address to parents.
julata and zelete are used by some clergymen to refer to congregants.
cawata is used by some clergymen to refer to their senior clergymen.

The plural forms never have the possessive suffixes in use, as the morphological complexities for that has been largely forgotten. 'Otata', 'my oldest son' appears in some testaments and such.

Parents- and siblings-in-law also have forms such as 


In some regions, second person suffixes (-aba/-ebe) are used instead of these historical third person suffixes. Why second or third person suffixes won out in different regions is unclear.

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