Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

The Classification of Languages         197
don is unmistakable modify the meaning of the former In some
agglutinating languages, we can recognize many or most of these affixes
as contracted remains of longer words which still enjoy an indepen-
dent existence In others, the affixes do not correspond to elements
which exist apart What is most characteristic of such languages is
that each affix, like an independent word, has a distinctive meaning
So derivatives ($& footnote p 34) of an agglutinating language when
classified according to case, mood, etc, have clear-cut uses, and the
method of forming them is also clear-cut Neither the use nor the form
of derivatives described by the same name admits the perplexing irregu-
larities of a typically amalgamating language such as Latin, Greek, or
The term itself implies that agglutinating languages form their
derivatives by the process of fusion discussed in Chapter III and else-
where This is not certainly true of all so-called agglutinating languages,
but it is appropriate to those of the Finno-Ugnan family A Hungarian
example will make this clear In the Indo-European languages, the
case-endings are not recognizable as vestiges of individual words, but
in Magyar we can still see how a directive is glued to the noun. From
hajo> ship, and hajo-k^ ships, we get
SINGULAR                                                     PLURAL
hajo-ban(=hajo + benn\ in the ship.         hajo-k-ban, in the ships
hajo-bol (== hajo + belofy, out of the ship    hajo-k-bol> out of the ships
hajo-ba (= hajo + bele), into the ship         hajo-k-ba3 into the ships
hajo-hoz(~hajo + hozza)> towards the    hajo-k-hoz, towards the ships
hajo-nak (= hajo + nek)> for the ship         hajo-k-nak, for the ships
The origin of the affixes is not equally clear in Finnish, but the
example cited illustrates a feature common to Finnish and Magyar
Case-marks of the singular do not differ from those of the plural in
languages of the Finno-Ugnan family Signs which express plurality
remain the same throughout the declension In contradistinction to
that of Greek or Latin, where numbef- and case-marks are indis-
solubly fused, the build-up of the flexional forms of the Finnish or
Magyar noun is transparent. The fact that Finnish has fifteen "cases"
does not make it difficult to learn, because the case-endings in both
numbers are the same for all nouns or pronouns and for adjectives,*
which mimic the endings of the nouns associated with them Since an
* In other Finno-Ugnan languages the adjective takes no case-affix