9 Şubat 2009 Pazartesi

ünite iki Vowel Harmony; case morphemes and allomorphs; the non-relational zero morpheme (absolute case); the possessive relational morpheme

Vowel Harmony; case morphemes and allomorphs;
the non-relational zero morpheme (absolute case);
the possessive relational morpheme (genitive case).

Vowel Harmony

We have previously touched on the principle of vowel harmony (synharmonism) by which all the vowels in a Chuvash word must belong either to the back series /a ă y u/ or to the front series /e ĕ i ü/. Hence,

  Front    Back

chüreche window yvăl son
ĕşleken worker kuşşu1 tear(drop)

In Chuvash, however, this principle is not carried through quite as strictly as some other Turkic languages require it, Thus, many words may be found which violate this rule in part, especially loanwords from Russian or from other Turkic languages, or from the spoken dialects of Chuvash. Although nearly all suffix morphemes have two forms, one for use with front vocalic words, and one for use with back vowel words, a few have only one form.

 anne  mother
kilna in your house
trestran from the trust
s’’jezdra at the conference
vulani the reading, act of reading

Case Morphemes and Allomorphs

In English, the relationships existing between words are in part made clear by the use of prepositions, covering temporal, spatial, and many other kinds of relations, as in these examples:

 the top of the house
Give it to the boy.
around the block
in the street

In some other languages, of which Chuvash is one, these relationships are not indicated by any separate words, but by adding certain bound morphemes (or suffixes, endings, declensions as they are also called) which mean “in, of, by, at, from“ and so on. This was once the only way of expressing such relations in English, and is retained in the possessive case of animates (thus, “the man‘s hat“ but rarely “the house‘s roof“), and in a few fixed phrases, as “the water‘s edge, the law‘s delay.“

In Chuvash, there are six such primary relational states, or cases, in which Chuvash words may be found, according to which relational morphemes (case endings) are added. Depending on how these states are defined, more or fewer could be set up (some Chuvash grammarians consider eight to exist, but their two additional cases or states are no different from any suffix which might be added to alter the basic word), but in the present work, we shall treat six states or cases, viz., the non-relational (absolute or nominative), the possessive relational (genitive), the objective relational (dative and accusative), the locative relational, the ablative relational, and the instrumental relational morphemes.

Although each of the relational morphemes has a number of different forms (allomorphs), the use of each variant is restricted to definite conditions. Thus, when the declensional system is taken as a whole, it can be seen that there is only one declensional type, and that all words belong to this type, and are essentially declined according to the same pattern. In spite of this prevailing sameness, the various subtypes of Chuvash nominals, taken as separate groups, are probably of equal difficulty with the differing declensional types of other languages.

Usually, only one relational morpheme is added to a stem, but sometimes there is usage of compound relational morphemes, deriving from two or more case endings. Relational morphemes may also be added to some verbal forms which functional as nominals.

These topics will be discussed later.

The Non-Relational Zero Morpheme (Absolute Case)

The grammars of many languages are given to speaking of a nominative case, or dictionary form, which has no ending, as contrasted with the oblique cases, which do have endings. Chuvash has a similar form, called the absolute case (or indefinite case, or basic case), distinguished by the ending of zero, that is, no ending. Since all other case relations are indicated by the presence of a morpheme, it is useful for the analysis to speak here too of the presence of a morpheme, in zero shape to denote this function, rather than the absence of something.

The absolute case is used in instances where most other languages require a nominative, that is, as the subject of sentences, or as the predicative in sentences with a copulative verb. There are also some other very important uses of this case. One of these is the use of the absolute case when words stand in the izafet relation to each other (although in Chuvash this is performed without any other suffixes, unlike Persian koh-i-noor, etc.), that is, the first modifies the second and shows a relationship to it, although this is done by juxtaposition without endings. For example, iron pail, glass window, silk coat (instead of pail of iron, coat of silk, etc.). In Chuvash, both words occur in the absolute case, viz., jivăsh vitre iron pail, şăm săhman silk garment, chul şurt stone house. Examples of the absolute case in its subject function are:

 traktor ĕşlet  the tractor is working, works
pulă shyvra ishet the fish swims in the water (or: fish swim in water)
samolët vĕşet the airplane flies, airplanes fly

Chuvash grammarians also speak of the absolute case being used in functions of the possessive relational (genitive) and objective relational (accusative). In the present investigation, we shall prefer to subsume the usages as instances of a genitive with zero allomorph, and of an accusative with zero allomorph (see later discussion). From the student‘s point of view, it does not matter how it is analyzed: what matters is that he learn and understand to use it. Also expressed with the absolute case are cognate accusatives (to walk a walk, etc.), expressions of definite time, distance, and some adverbial phrases of direction, quantity and manner.

The Possessive Relational Morpheme (Genitive Case)

The use of this morpheme indicates that the word to which it is affixed stands in a possessive or genitive relationship to the second word. The thing or person which is owned or related to always occurs first, never second. In fact, it is a general rule of Chuvash that the modified always occurs after the modifier. This morpheme may be denoted in morphophonemic writing as {. (n)An}, and its chief allomorphs given as follows with the conditions for their occurrence. The morphophoneme Ă stands for /ă/ with back vowel words, and /ĕ/ with front vowel words. C means any consonant (including y), and the dot . is used to indicate morpheme boundaries. Essentially, the basic endings are {.Ăn} after C and {. n} after V, with minor variants in the stem of the word declined.

1. Zero allomorph, optional with any stem
- - -

2. After polysyllabic consonant stems, and vocalic stems in -U,
employing their stem alternant in Ăv to replace -U; and some
monosyllabic consonant stems


3. After polysyllabic vocalic stems except U and A

.n or .nĂn

4. After polysyllabic vowel sterns in .-C1Ă


5. After polysyllabic vowel stems in -C1C2Ă

6. After borrowed polysyllabic stems in – C1C1


7. After some monosyllabic stems in C1


8. After native and foreign stems in –i

.n or .jĕn

9. After borrowed vowel stems in -a, -ja, -e, —u, and some in –o


10. After some borrowed vowel stems in –o


11. After borrowed stems in -st‘


According to the Chuvash grammarians, variant 1 is in free variation with all other allomorphs, and is employed for stylistic reasons, or for emphasis. There is also free variation between the allomorphs listed under entries 3 and 8, the grammarians saying the fuller form is used for a particular emphasis. Some others are of the view that it has its origin in a dialect difference.

There is as yet no structural or formal criterion by which loanwords (nearly all of which are Russian) may be identified, apart from the presence in them of non-Chuvash phonemes and phoneme sequences. From a practical point of view, it is generally obvious, although no rule can be given.

Some examples of the possessive relational morpheme in its various allomorphic disguises are the following words.
 lasha    horse
lashan of a horse, a horse‘s
şakă lashanăn of this horse, this horse‘s
ĕne cow
ĕnen of a cow
sakă ĕnenĕn of this cow
halăh people
halăxăn of the people, the people‘s
ĕş affair, matter
ĕşĕn of an affair, of a business, of work
shăshi mouse
shăshin of a mouse, a mouse‘s
shăshijĕn of a mouse
unăn yvălĕ his son (lit. ‘his son of him‘)

tălăx arămăn pĕr yvăl a widow woman‘s

haj pujanăn şem‘jisem the members of that rich man‘s family

şak pujan xĕrĕ this rich-man‘s girl (zero allomorph)
pujanăn xĕrĕ the rich-man‘s daughter
ku kĕneke Ivanăn That book (is) John‘s.
ku manăn That is mine.

Note the shift of emphasis in such combinations as the following:

 lasha püşĕ lit., ‘the horse its head‘
(employing a possessive morpheme to be studied later),
i. e., a horsehead, as opposed to a moosehead,
hogshead, sheepshead

lashan püşĕ the head of the horse the horse"s head
(that is, not his tail, his hoofs, his mane etc )

Instances of foreign (Russian) words employing the allomorph –n are:

 stsenăn  of the stage (note shortening)
kinon of the movie
kengurun of the kangaroo
rezoljutsin of the resolution
partin of the party (political). Also /partijĕn/
basn’ăn of the fable (note shortening)
kofen of the coffee

Russian loanwords in -C1C1 ‚ that is, a doubled same consonant, of which only /-ss/ and /-ll/‘have thus far been found as examples, employ a stern alternant with only one of the pertinent consonants, viz.:

 klass  class
klasăn of a dass
metall metal
metalăn of metal

Russian loans in /-ost’/ and /-st‘/ likewise employ a stern alternant omitting the final consonant when relational morphemes are attached, viz.:

 vlast‘  power, authority
vlaşăn of power

Two particularly interesting formations in Chuvash are variants 2 and 4 in the allomorph table. There is a small class of nominals ending in -U (i. e., /-u/ or /-ü/) with morphophonemic stem alternation. Their stern in the genitive is formed with –ăv and -ĕv, to yield:

 şyru  letter   pĕlü  fact, thing known
şyrăvăn of a letter pĕlĕvĕn of a fact
tu mountain pü growth
tăvăn of a mountain pĕvĕn of growth

Such a nominal in -U may be created from any verbal stem.
Chuvash disyllabic stems in single consonant (C) + -ĕ or –ă (Ă) have a stem alternation in which the final C is geminated, rather reminiscent of the declensions in Finnish. Some monosyllables in single consonant do so too.

 pula  fish 
pullăn a fish‘s, of a fish
jytă dog
jyttăn a dog‘s, of a dog
ti1ĕ fox
tillĕn of a fox
külĕ lake
küllĕn of a lake
sivĕ cold
sivvĕn of cold
ală hand
allăn of a hand


 şyn  man
şynnăn of a man
tyr grain
tyrrăn of grain

Lastly, in variants 5 and 6, note that if the final ă/ĕ is preceded by two consonants, the allomorph /n/ is employed, if preceded by one consonant, that consonant is geminated and then the allomorph /n/ applied.

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