LINGUIST List 4.944

Fri 12 Nov 1993

Sum: Adposition Chest -> Near

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  1. , Summary: Chest -> Near

Message 1: Summary: Chest -> Near

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 93 08:40:00 ESSummary: Chest -> Near
From: <>
Subject: Summary: Chest -> Near

In response to my query about adpositions meaning 'near, next to'
being derived historically from nouns meaning 'chest', I received
two clear examples, from Hungarian (Edith Moravcsik, Steve Starkey,
Irene Hegedus) and Finnish (Edith Moravcsik and Martti Nyman).

 Finnish _rinta_ (gen. _rinnan_) 'chest; (sometimes) thorax' in its
its oblique cases yields postpositions meaning 'close; by one's side', viz.,
 ADESSIVE _rinnalla_, ABLATIVE _rinnalta_, ALLATIVE _rinnalle_.

Hungarian has a similar group of postpositions

 mellett 'next to'
 mellol (long Umlaut on the o) 'from the vicinity of'
 melle (dash on second e) 'to the vicinity of'

derived from the noun _mell_ 'chest, bosom, breast'.

I want to thank these respondents (as well as everybody else who wrote
in on the subject) wholeheartedly, since I have been thinking of
proposing such an etymology for the Nahuatl postposition _tlok_. There
is a suitable noun stem *_tawi_ 'chest' attested in several closely
related languages, but I was not sure if the semantic connection made
sense. The idea is that _tlok_ would come from *_tawi-ko_ (-_ko_ being
a locative postposition) the same way that some other Nahuatl postpositions
arise, e.g. _ikpak_ 'on top of' <- *_kupa-ko_ (where *_kupa_ is 'top of
the head').

So, now you know.
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