Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. 1921.
But if we take our examples freely from the vast storehouse of language, from languages exotic as well as from those that we are more familiar with, we shall find that there is hardly a possibility that is not realized in actual usage. One example will do for thousands, one complex type for hundreds of possible types. I select it from Paiute, the language of the Indians of the arid plateaus of southwestern Utah. The word wii-to-kuchum-punku-rügani-yugwi-va-ntü-m (ü)5 is of unusual length even for its own language, but it is no psychological monster for all that. It means they who are going to sit and cut up with a knife a black cow (or bull), or, in the order of the Indian elements, knife-black-buffalo-pet-cut up-sit(plur.)-future-participle-animate plur. The formula for this word, in accordance with our symbolism, would be (F) + (E) + C + d + A + B + (g) + (h) + (i) + (0). It is the plural of the future participle of a compound verb to sit and cut up A + B. The elements (g)which denotes futurity, (h)a participial suffix, and (i)indicating the animate pluralare grammatical elements which convey nothing when detached. The formula (0) is intended to imply that the finished word conveys, in addition to what is definitely expressed, a further relational idea, that of subjectivity; in other words, the form can only be used as the subject of a sentence, not in an objective or other syntactic relation. The radical element A (to cut up), before entering into combination with the coördinate element B (to sit), is itself compounded with two nominal elements or element-groupsan instrumentally used stem (F)
Note 5. In this and other examples taken from exotic languages I am forced by practical considerations to simplify the actual phonetic forms. This should not matter perceptibly, as we are concerned with form as such, not with phonetic content. [back]