Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 121
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.

Page 121
based on the same principle as the password or label. All persons or objects that answer to the same countersign or that bear the same imprint are thereby stamped as somehow related. It makes little difference, once they are so stamped, where they are to be found or how they behave themselves. They are known to belong together. We are familiar with the principle of concord in Latin and Greek. Many of us have been struck by such relentless rhymes as vidi illum bonum dominum “I saw that good master” or quarum dearum saevarum “of which stern goddesses.” Not that sound-echo, whether in the form of rhyme or of alliteration 36 is necessary to concord, though in its most typical and original forms concord is nearly always accompanied by sound repetition. The essence of the principle is simply this, that words (elements) that belong together, particularly if they are syntactic equivalents or are related in like fashion to another word or element, are outwardly marked by the same or functionally equivalent affixes. The application of the principle varies considerably according to the genius of the particular language. In Latin and Greek, for instance, there is concord between noun and qualifying word (adjective or demonstrative) as regards gender, number, and case, between verb and subject only as regards number, and no concord between verb and object.
  In Chinook there is a more far-reaching concord between noun, whether subject or object, and verb. Every noun is classified according to five categories—masculine, feminine, neuter, 37 dual, and plural. “Woman” is feminine,
Note 36.  As in Bantu or Chinook. [back]
Note 37.  Perhaps better “general.” The Chinook “neuter” may refer to persons as well as things and may also be used as a plural. “Masculine” and “feminine,” as in German and French, include a great number of inanimate nouns. [back]


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