9 Şubat 2009 Pazartesi

ünite beş Personal possession; the verb “to have“ (pur and şuk)

Personal possession;
the verb “to have“ (pur and şuk)

Personal possession

In English and some other languages we are accustomed to having special words to indicate possession, as "my, your, their, our, his“ and so on. Chuvash can do this too when it is a question of expressing possession on the part of a person (that is, not the genitive relationship existing between things expressed by “of“ in English), by using words which mean “my, our, your.“

These words are actually the genitive case of the personal pronouns, the entire declension of which will be given in Unit Eight. When possession of things on the part of persons is expressed in this way, the forms are:

 manăn lasha  my horse
sanăn lasha your horse
unăn lasha his (her, its) horse
pirĕn lasha our horse
sirĕn lasha your horse
vĕsen lasha their horse

The forms manăn, sanăn actually mean ‘of me, of you,‘ thus, “the horse of me, the horse of you,“ hence “my horse, your horse.“ In the case of the 3rd p. sg., there is an additional suffix - i, which we shall explain shortly. There are also short forma of the first three forms, viz., man lasha, san lasha, un lasha, but not of the others.

Two different forms are translated “your,“ the first being the singular and the familiar (used within the family, with friends one would call by first name, relatives, pet animals, etc.). The second form is plural and polite. It is used to people whom one would call “Mr. ‚“ or whenever there is more than one addressed. However, depending on who is addressed, this form can mean one or more than one, and it is never in doubt which, because there must always be some prior reference that tells one who “you“ means. It is also used for more than one person who would be addressed with the familiar form.

Although the manner of expressing possession n shown above is a very common one in Chuvash, there is another important way, also found in the other Turkic languages and elsewhere. This is to add suffixes (morphemes) to the word to indicate who the owner is. This is a new idea for speakers of English, but one not hard to grasp. Thus, if ‘son‘ is yvăl, by adding -ăm (after a consonant), or -ĕm if it is a front vocalic word, or just –m if it ends in a vowel (as acham ‘my child‘), we create the form yvălăm, which of and by itself means “my son,“ with no need for additional words. The entire scheme is:

 yvălăm  my son    yvălămăr our son
yvălu your (fam.) son yvălăr your son
yvălĕ his, her, son yvălĕ their son

Note that the ending of the 3rd p. means not only “his“ but also “hers“ (even “its“ under proper circumstances), and that it violates vowel harmony. Chuvash has experienced a general laxness in its vowel harmony, especially in the sounds -i and -ĕ. Finally, the same suffix is used for singular and plural, viz. “his, her“ as well as “their.“ Since, however, in order to say “his, her,“ or “their,“ it must be clear who is referred to, there is never any trouble to tell them apart.

If speakers want to make it absolutely clear as to what possession is involved, they may combine both forms, and use the genitive of the personal pronoun and then add the appropriate endings to the noun as well, in this way:

 mănăn yvălăm   my son   pirĕn yvălămăr  our son
sanăn yvălu your son sirĕn yvălăr your son
unăn yvălĕ his son vĕsen yvălĕ their son

This is chiefly used for a stronger emphasis, as “Our son did this, but their son did that.“ Note that this method removes any doubts between “his, hers“ and “theirs“ in the 3rd p. For ease in presentation henceforth, we shall identify the third person only as “his“ throughout.

Table of Possessive Forms

Consonant Vowel Consonant Vowel

yvălăm acham hĕrĕm ĕnem
yvălu achu hĕrü ĕnü
yvălĕ achi xĕrĕ ĕni
yvălămăr achamăr hĕrĕmĕr ĕnemĕr
yvălăr achăr xĕrĕr ĕnĕr
yvălĕ achi xĕrĕ ĕni

All words may be given possessive forms according to the above possibilities, including loanwords, the only peculiarity there being that a few Russian words in -o use an allomorph -vĕ in the 3rd p. eg. (viz., bjurovĕ ‘his office‘). Note above the use of –i in the 3rd p. sg. possessive vocalic stems, which arises from a replacement of the preceding vowel by -i (thus, lasha + i> lashi). It will be generally clear from the above table what the ending is, but note that the possessive morpheme displaces the regular vowel of the stem in several places.

Nouns in -u/-ü employ their stem alternant in -ăv/-ĕv when any possessive morpheme
follows, hence:

 şyrăvăm  my letter  pĕlĕvĕm  my fact
şyravu your letter pĕlĕvü your fact
şyrăvĕ his letter pĕlĕvĕ his fact

şyrăvămăr our letter pĕlĕvĕmĕr our fact
şyrăvăr your letter pĕlĕvĕr your fact
şyrăvĕ their letter pĕlĕvĕ their fact

Nouns in single consonant plus ă/ĕ employ their stem alternant with geminated consonant when a possessive morpheme follows, thus:

 pullăm  my fish   tĕvvĕm  my knot
pullu your fish tĕvvü your knot
pulli his fish tĕvvi his knot

pullămăr our fish tĕvvĕmĕr our knot
pullăr your fish tĕvvĕr your knot
pulli their fish tĕvvi their knot

In the 3rd p. sg. possessive, words in –t and -d (orthographically -t, -t‘, -d, -d‘) replace that consonant with ch and add ĕ‚ as follows:

 pürt  house   sklad  storehouse
pürchĕ his house sklachĕ his storehouse

jat name tetrad" notebook
jachĕ his name tetrachĕ his notebook

In current Chuvash usage, the personal possessive morphemes of the 1st and 2nd p. pl. have been largely supplanted by the analytical forms. Thus, instead of yvălămăr “our son,“ pirĕn yvăl is used, and instead of yvălăr “your son,“ sirĕn yvălu (note ..u!) is used. As mentioned, words in the foreign phoneme -o have their 3rd p. sg. possessive in -vĕ, as kinovĕ ‘his movie,‘ depovĕ ‘his depot.‘ A special possessive morpheme {-ăshĕ} is found with a small class of words made up of kinship
terms and some numerical terms, thus: appa ‘elder sister‘ but appăsh(ĕ) ‘his, her elder sister.‘

 amăshĕ   his mother
ashshĕ (< *aşăshĕ) his father

numajăshĕ many of them (lit. "its many, their many")
vişşĕshĕ the three of them (lit. "their three")

The entire declension of atte ‘father‘ is rather irregular.

 atte, attem  my father attemĕr  our father, “Our Father“
aşu your father aşăr your father
ashshĕ his father ashshĕ their father

Later, we shall take up the endings (morphemes) that indicate different persons or actors in the verb, and then the student will notice that these endings are very similar to the personal possessive morphemes. Thus tusămăr ‘our friend,‘ but also şyrtămăr ‘we wrote‘ (lit. “our having written“). From this some have concluded that, in these languages and others, verbal endings are an outgrowth of an originally possessive idea, e. g. ‚ “my seeing exists“ is “I see,“ and “I am a see-er“ becoming “I see.“

The Verb “To Have“ (pur and şuk)

Chuvash does not have a single verb meaning ‘to have‘ the way English and some other languages do. Instead, they usually say something like “my book exists“ (cf. the Russian "to me a book is‘ with omission of is), “our son is non-existent“ for ‘we have no son,‘ and so on. Chuvash has two words used to indicate possession: pur ‘that which is, what exists,‘ and its opposite şuk ‘that which is non-existent, what there is none of.‘ The following examples will help to make this more evident.

 manăn kĕneke pur  I have a book (of me a book exists)
sanăn văhăt şuk you have no time (your time is-not)
unăn ĕne şuk he has no cow
manăn lasham pur I have a horse, I have my horse
lasham pur I have a horse
kamăn pur, ăna tata parĕş of him who has, to him will be given also (Mark IV, 25)

For those who may have some acquaintance with Turkish, the words pur and şuk correspond exactly in form, origin and usage to Turkic var and yok. Further, just as var and yok may take the past tense morpheme (vardı ‘there was,‘ yoktı ‘there was not‘), In Chuvash too the past tense morpheme {-chchĕ} (of like origin) may be added to form purchchĕ and şukchchĕ “there was, there wasn‘t.“

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