Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 141
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 141
 
mined, as autonomous, as it might be. It is at the mercy of the preceding radical element to this extent, that it requires to be preceded by a particular type of such element, an adjective. Its own power is thus, in a manner, checked in advance. The fusion here, however, is so vague and elementary, so much a matter of course in the great majority of all cases of affixing, that it is natural to overlook its reality and to emphasize rather the juxtaposing or agglutinative nature of the affixing process. If the -ness could be affixed as an abstractive element to each and every type of radical element, if we could say fightness (“the act or quality of fighting”) or waterness (“the quality or state of water”) or awayness (“the state of being away”) as we can say goodness (“the state of being good”), we should have moved appreciably nearer the agglutinative pole. A language that runs to synthesis of this loose-jointed sort may be looked upon as an example of the ideal agglutinative type, particularly if the concepts expressed by the agglutinated elements are relational or, at the least, belong to the abstracter class of derivational ideas.
  Instructive forms may be cited from Nootka. We shall return to our “fire in the house.” 16 The Nootka word inikw-ihl “fire in the house” is not as definitely formalized a word as its translation suggests. The radical element inikw- “fire” is really as much of a verbal as of a nominal term; it may be rendered now by “fire,” now by “burn,” according to the syntactic exigencies of the sentence. The derivational element -ihl “in the house” does not mitigate this vagueness or generality; inikw-ihl is still “fire in the house” or “burn in the house.” It may be definitely nominalized or verbalized by the affixing of elements that are exclusively
Note 16.  See page 110. [back]

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