LINGUIST List 14.1689

Sun Jun 15 2003

Qs: Ergative Amazonian Langs; Proto-Altaic Forms

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  1. Eva Monr�s, Valence changing and ergativity
  2. Anton ANTONOV, (proto-)Altaic (*) -RA/RU

Message 1: Valence changing and ergativity

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 13:08:27 +0000
From: Eva Monr�s <>
Subject: Valence changing and ergativity

Dear linguists,

I am pursuing my research on ergative Amazonian languages. I would be
very grateful if anybody could give me bibliographical references
dealing with the following topics:

- Morphological and syntactical descriptions of ergative languages of
South America.

- Valence changing in ergative languages of the world.

Thanks in advance,

Eva Monr�s
Universitat de Barcelona 
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Message 2: (proto-)Altaic (*) -RA/RU

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 07:04:12 +0000
From: Anton ANTONOV <>
Subject: (proto-)Altaic (*) -RA/RU

I am currently working on the grammaticalization of an Old Japanese
suffix -RA, which combines at least five seemingly very different
meanings, i.e., plurality, humility, affection, static adjective stem
suffix, location. It is this last meaning of -RA which is often
(cf. Miller 1976, Tekin 1993, Haguenauer 1951/6, Greenberg 2000, among
others) assumed to be a remnant of a proto-Altaic suffix
*-RA(/RE/RI/RU) which was arguably used as a marker of the
locative/allative cases. Thus, Modern Japanese place pronouns
kotira/sotira/atira/dotira ''here,there,etc.,where'' which can also be
used as direction pronouns ''(come)over here, this way, etc.'' have
been compared to Modern Turkish bura/sura/ora/nere ''here, there,
etc. where''. 

Now I have been able to find out that both the Japanese forms and
their Modern Turkish counterparts are of rather recent coinage, the
latter stemming from a fusion between the demonstratives bu/su/o and
the independent noun ara ''interval, space''. I would therefore like
to know if in the other Turkic languages (or the rest of the so-called
Altaic family) there are forms where a reflex of proto-Altaic *-RA,
etc. appears and which cannot be explained as the result of a similar

Thank you all in advance!

Language-Family: Altaic; Code: AT
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