Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 84
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 84
 
as symbolic of the distinction between noun and verb.
  There are languages, however, in which such differences are of the most fundamental grammatical importance. They are particularly common in the Soudan. In Ewe, for instance, there are formed from subo “to serve” two reduplicated forms, an infinitive subosubo “to serve,” with a low tone on the first two syllables and a high one on the last two, and an abjectival subo-subo “serving,” in which all the syllables have a high tone. Even more striking are cases furnished by Shilluk, one of the languages of the headwaters of the Nile. The plural of the noun often differs in tone from the singular, e.g., yit (high) “ear” but yit (low) “ears.” In the pronoun three forms may be distinguished by tone alone; e “he” has a high tone and is subjective, -e “him” (e.g., a chwol-e “he called him”) has a low tone and is objective, -e “his” (e.g., wod-e “his house”) has a middle tone and is possessive. From the verbal element gwed- “to write” are formed gwed-o “(he) writes” with a low tone, the passive gwet “(it was) written” with a falling tone, the imperative gwet “write!” with a rising tone, and the verbal noun gwet “writing” with a middle tone. In aboriginal America also pitch accent is known to occur as a grammatical process. A good example of such a pitch language is Tlingit, spoken by the Indians of the southern coast of Alaska. In this language many verbs vary the tone of the radical element according to tense; hun “to sell,” sin “to hide,” tin “to see,” and numerous other radical elements, if low-toned, refer to past time, if high-toned, to the future. Another type of function is illustrated by the Takelma forms hel “song,” with falling pitch, but hel “sing!” with a rising inflection; parallel

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors