Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 138
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.

Page 138
perfect ease the noun jazziness. It is different with height and depth. Functionally they are related to high and deep precisely as is goodness to good, but the degree of coalescence between radical element and affix is greater. Radical element and affix, while measurably distinct, cannot be torn apart quite so readily as could the good and -ness of goodness. The -t of height is not the typical form of the affix (compare strength, length, filth, breadth, youth), while dep- is not identical with deep. We may designate the two types of affixing as “fusing” and “juxtaposing.” The juxtaposing technique we may call an “agglutinative” one, if we like.
  Is the fusing technique thereby set off as the essence of inflection? I am afraid that we have not yet reached our goal. If our language were crammed full of coalescences of the type of depth, but if, on the other hand, it used the plural independently of verb concord (e.g., the books falls like the book falls, or the book fall like the books fall), the personal endings independently of tense (e.g., the book fells like the book falls, or the book fall like the book fell), and the pronouns independently of case (e.g., I see he like he sees me, or him see the man like the man sees him), we should hesitate to describe it as inflective. The mere fact of fusion does not seem to satisfy us as a clear indication of the inflective process. There are, indeed, a large number of languages that fuse radical element and affix in as complete and intricate a fashion as one could hope to find anywhere without thereby giving signs of that particular kind of formalism that marks off such languages as Latin and Greek as inflective.
  What is true of fusion of equally true of the “symbolic” processes. 14 There are linguists that speak of
Note 14.  See pages 133, 134. [back]


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