Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 77
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.

Page 77
ragil “man,” the plural rigal; shibbak “window,” the plural shababik. Very similar phenomena are illustrated by the Hamitic languages of Northern Africa, e.g., Shilh 14 izbil “hair,” plural izbel; a-slem “fish,” plural i-slim-en; sn “to know,” sen “to be knowing”; rmi “to become tired,” rumni “to be tired”; ttss 15 “to fall asleep,” ttoss “to sleep.” Strikingly similar to English and Greek alternations of the type sing—sang and leip-o “I leave,” leloip-a “I have left,” are such Somali 16 cases as al “I am,” il “I was”; i-dah-a “I say,” i-di “I said,” deh “say!”
  Vocalic change is of great significance also in a number of American Indian languages. In the Athabaskan group many verbs change the quality or quantity of the vowel of the radical element as it changes its tense or mode. The Navaho verb for “I put (grain) into a receptacle” is bi-hi-sh-ja, in which -ja is the radical element; the past tense, bi-hi-ja’, has a long a-vowels, followed by the “glottal stop”; 17 the future is bi-h-de-sh-ji with complete change of vowel. In other types of Navaho verbs the vocalic changes follow different lines, e.g., yah-a-ni-ye “you carry (a pack) into (a stable)”; past, yah-i-ni-yin (with long i in -yin; -n is here used to indicate nasalization); future, yah-a-di-yehl (with long e). In another Indian language, Yokuts, 18 vocalic modifications affect both noun and verb forms. Thus, buchong “son” forms the plural bochang-i (contrast the objective buchong-a); enash “grandfather,” the plural inash-a; the verb engtyim “to sleep” forms the continuative
Note 14.  A Berber language of Morocco. [back]
Note 15.  Some of the Berber languages allow consonantal combinations that seem unpronounceable to us. [back]
Note 16.  One of the Hamitic languages of eastern Africa. [back]
Note 17.  See page 49. [back]
Note 18.  Spoken in the south-central part of California. [back]


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