Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 75
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 75
 
functions performed by them and their principles of combination differ widely.
  We have reserved the very curious type of affixation known as “infixing” for separate illustration. It is utterly unknown in English, unless we consider the -n- of stand (contrast stood) as an infixed element. The earlier Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Greek and Sanskrit, made a fairly considerable use of infixed nasals to differentiate the present tense of a certain class of verbs from other forms (contrast Latin vinc-o “I conquer” with vic-i “I conquered”; Greek lamb-an-o “I take” with e-lab-on “I took”). There are, however, more striking examples of the process, examples in which it has assumed a more clearly defined function than in these Latin and Greek cases. It is particularly prevalent in many languages of southeastern Asia and of the Malay archipelago. Good examples from Khmer (Cambodgian) are tmeu “one who walks” and daneu “walking” (verbal noun), both derived from deu “to walk.” Further examples may be quoted from Bontoc Igorot, a Filipino language. Thus, an infixed -in- conveys the idea of the product of an accomplished action, e.g., kayu “wood,” kinayu “gathered wood.” Infixes are also freely used in the Bontoc Igorot verb. Thus, an infixed -um- is characteristic of many intransitive verbs with personal pronominal suffixes, e.g., sad- “to wait,” sumid-ak “I wait”; kineg “silent,” kuminek-ak “I am silent.” In other verbs it indicates futurity, e.g., tengao- “to celebrate a holiday,” tumengao-ak “I shall have a holiday.” The past tense is frequently indicated by an infixed -in-; if there is already an infixed -um-, the two elements combine to -in-m-, e.g., kinminek-ak “I am silent.” Obviously the infixing process has in this (and related) languages the

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