Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 74
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 74
 
is yielded by Fox, one of the better known Algonkin languages of the Mississippi Valley. We may take the form eh-kiwi-n-a-m-oht-ati-wa-ch(i) “then they together kept (him) in flight from them.” The radical element here is kiwi-, a verb stem indicating the general notion of “indefinite movement round about, here and there.” The prefixed element eh- is hardly more than an adverbial particle indicating temporal subordination; it may be conveniently rendered as “then.” Of the seven suffixes included in this highly-wrought word, -n- seems to be merely a phonetic element serving to connect the verb stem with the following -a-; 9 -a- is a “secondary stem” 10 denoting the idea of “flight, to flee”; -m- denotes causality with reference to an animate object; 11 -o(ht)- indicates activity done for the subject (the so-called “middle” or “medio-passive” voice of Greek); -(a)ti- is a reciprocal element, “one another”; -wa-ch(i) is the third person animate plural (-wa-, plural; -chi, more properly personal) of so-called “conjunctive” forms. The word may be translated more literally (and yet only approximately as to grammatical feeling) as “then they (animate) caused some animate being to wander about in flight from one another of themselves.” Eskimo, Nootka, Yana, and other languages have similarly complex arrays of suffixed elements, though the
Note 9.  This analysis is doubtful. It is likely that -n- possesses a function that still remains to be ascertained. The Algonkin languages are unusually complex and presented any unsolved problems of detail. [back]
Note 10.  “Secondary stems” are elements which are suffixes from a formal point of view, never appearing without the support of a true radical element, but whose function is as concrete, to all intents and purposes, as that of the radical element itself. Secondary verb stems of this type are characteristic of the Algonkin languages and of Yana. [back]
Note 11.  In the Algonkin languages all persons and things are conceived of as either animate or inanimate, just as in Latin or German they are conceived of as masculine, feminine, or neuter. [back]

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