Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 148
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 148
 
termed “agglutinative-isolating,” “fusional-isolating” and “symbolic-isolating.”
  This brings up the important general consideration that the method of handling one group of concepts need not in the least be identical with that used for another. Compound terms could be used to indicate this difference, if desired, the first element of the compound referring to the treatment of the concepts of group II, the second to that of the concepts of groups III and IV. An “agglutinative” language would normally be taken to mean one that agglutinates all of its affixed elements or that does so to a preponderating extent. In an “agglutinative-fusional” language the derivational elements are agglutinated, perhaps in the form of prefixes, while the relational elements (pure or mixed) are fused with the radical element, possibly as another set of prefixes following the first set or in the form of suffixes or as part prefixes and part suffixes. By a “fusional-agglutinative” language we would understand one that fuses its derivational elements but allows a greater independence to those that indicate relations. All these and similar distinctions are not merely theoretical possibilities, they can be abundantly illustrated from the descriptive facts of linguistic morphology. Further, should it prove desirable to insist on the degree of elaboration of the word, the terms “analytic,” “synthetic,” and “polysynthetic” can be added as descriptive terms. It goes without saying that languages of type A are necessarily analytic and that languages of type C also are prevailingly analytic and are not likely to develop beyond the synthetic stage.
  But we must not make too much of terminology. Much depends on the relative emphasis laid on this or that feature or point of view. The method of classifying

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