Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 76
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.

Page 76
same vitality that is possessed by the commoner prefixes and suffixes of other languages. The process is also found in a number of aboriginal American languages. The Yana plural is sometimes formed by an infixed element, e.g., k’uruwi “medicine-men,” k’uwi “medicine-man”; in Chinook an infixed -l- is used in certain verbs to indicate repeated activity, e.g., ksik’ludelk “she keeps looking at him,” iksik’lutk “she looked at him” (radical element -tk). A peculiarly interesting type of infixation is found in the Siouan languages, in which certain verbs insert the pronominal elements into the very body of the radical element, e.g., Sioux cheti “to build a fire,” chewati “I build a fire”; shuta “to miss,” shuunta-pi “we miss.”
  A subsidiary but by no means unimportant grammatical process is that of internal vocalic or consonantal change. In some languages, as in English (sing, sang, sung, song; goose, geese), the former of these has become one of the major methods of indicating fundamental changes of grammatical function. At any rate, the process is alive enough to lead our children into untrodden ways. We all know of the growing youngster who speaks of having brung something, on the analogy of such forms as sung and flung. In Hebrew, as we have seen, vocalic change is of even greater significance than in English. What is true of Hebrew is of course true of all other Semitic languages. A few examples of so-called “broken” plurals from Arabic 12 will supplement the Hebrew verb forms that I have given in another connection. The noun balad “place” has the plural form bilad; 13 gild “hide” forms the plural gulud;
Note 12.  Egyptian dialect. [back]
Note 13.  There are changes of accent and vocalic quantity in these forms as well, but the requirements of simplicity force us to neglect them. [back]


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