Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. 1921.
Khmer (or Cambodgian), spoken in French Cochin-China, though even here there are obscure traces of old suffixes that have ceased to function as such and are now felt to form part of the radical element.
A considerable majority of known languages are prefixing and suffixing at one and the same time, but the relative importance of the two groups of affixed elements naturally varies enormously. In some languages, such as Latin and Russian, the suffixes alone relate the word to the rest of the sentence, the prefixes being confined to the expression of such ideas as delimit the concrete significance of the radical element without influencing its bearing in the proposition. A Latin form like remittebantur they were being sent back may serve as an illustration of this type of distribution of elements. The prefixed element re- back merely qualifies to a certain extent the inherent significance of the radical element mitt- send, while the suffixes -eba-, -nt-, and -ur convey the less concrete, more strictly formal, notions of time, person, plurality, and passivity.
On the other hand, there are languages, like the Bantu group of Africa or the Athabaskan languages 5 of North America, in which the grammatically significant elements precede, those that follow the radical element forming a relatively dispensable class. The Hupa word te-s-e-ya-te I will go, for example, consists of a radical element -ya- to go, three essential prefixes and a formally subsidiary suffix. The element te- indicates that the act takes place here and there in space or continuously over space; practically, it has no clear-cut significance apart from such verb stems as it is customary to connect it with. The second prefixed element, -s-, is
Note 5. Including such languages as Navaho, Apache, Hupa, Carrier, Chipewyan, Loucheux. [back]