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The morphology of Mari negation.

When discussing negation linguists are often trapped or misled by an illusion, as if negation and prohibition were distinct linguistic operations by virtue of applying only negative and prohibitive particles. This illusory trap is built upon the use of negative particles in the Germanic, Romance, Slavonic languages and in Hungarian, as an exception in Uralic. In addition, this illusion is also supported by symbolic logic, the great fashion and fad of the 20th century, which by using a separate symbol (~) for negation classifies it rightly as one among the five logical operations: negation, conjunction, disjunction, implication, equivalence ([conjunction], [disjunction], [contains] [equivalent to]), respectively. For the same reason, seen from the perspective of Indo-European languages (and through the eye-glass of grammarians trained in symbolic logic) negation in most Uralic languages looks "exotic", since it appears not as a separate operation, but as one combined with grammatical categories such as person, tense and mood. In contrast, negation in Indo-European languages is free of such "accidental" categories. And yet... negation stands nowhere alone as a separate operation, not even in logic, where it is in juxtaposition with its opposite, affirmation (not to mention natural language where, in addition to affirmation, it is correlated also with interrogation in various forms of questions).

In the following paper the morphology of negation is studied as it appears in the central subdialect of Mari (Cheremis), a member of the Volgaic branch of Finno-Ugric (Uralic) family. Unless otherwise indicated when Mari is referred to we mean always its central subdialect in this paper. Two aspects of Mari negation will be treated here and both can be grasped by formal means. The first aspect is the use of negative auxiliaries in Mari, a technique which can be described briefly by saying that negative bases are suffixed with morphemes of grammatical person, tense and mood. The second aspect is the means that maintain the connection, and secure the coherence between the negative auxiliary and the main verb, the carrier of the semantic weight of the construction, in a form called connegative.

1. The referential framework: negation in Finnish

Let our starting point be the assumption shared by most representatives of the profession that many, if not all, features of Proto-Finno-Ugric (even ProtoUralic) have been preserved in the conservative Finnish language. One of these preserved features of proto-language(s) is negation in Finnish. In present tense the negative auxiliary with its person-markers is followed by the main verb, the connegative which is marked by a special morpheme, phonetically a glottal stop, attached to the verbal stem, but unmarked in the standard orthography. For methodological reasons, it is marked, however, by q in scientific studies (Austerlitz 1965; 1967), or ' and Q in language textbooks (Mikola 1965 and Abondolo 1998, respectively). This morpheme is homophonous, if not historically identical with the morpheme of the singular 2nd person imperative. Following Austerlitz we shall use the character q to mark this morpheme representing immediate future of some sort between auxiliary and its connegative.

Concerning our subject we distinguish two types of verbal base in Finnish (and also in Mari): there is a base-type ending in a high vowel and there is another ending in a low one. The former will be referred to as an E-base and the latter as an A-base.

                            Sample paradigms

       tulla 'to come', E-base:         elaa 'to live', A-base:
                tule-                         ela-(1)

                         Affirmative paradigm

1Sg    tule-n          'I come'         ela-n      'I live'
2Sg    tule-t          'you come'       ela-t      'you live'
3Sg    tule-e          '(s)he comes'    ela-a      '(s)he lives'
1Pl    tule-mme (2)    'we come'        ela-mme    'we live'
2Pl    tule-tte        'you come'       ela-tte    'you live'
3Pl    tule-vat        'they come'      ela-vat    'they live'

(1) - precedes an inflectional suffix to its right; = precedes a
derivational suffix to its right.

(2) Historically, the person-markers of 1st and 2nd person plural
-mme and -tte contain the present tense marker, =q as the geminates
-mme and -tte < *=q-me-k and *=q-te-k show, respectively. At the
end of both of these morphemes there is a plural sign -k which is
not indicated by the standard orthography of Finnish, either
(Hakulinen 1941 : 222). It is worth noting that in the singular
both in the affirmative and in the negative paradigms, the present
tense is unmarked, whereas, in contradistinc- tion, it is indicated
in the plural 1st and 2nd persons. It is also in this way that the
language distinguishes between singular and plural. Similarly, 3rd
person forms in both numbers differ from 1st and 2nd person forms
and stand opposed to them.

       Negative paradigm

       Auxiliary    Connegative

1Sg    e-n          tule=q         'I don't come'
2Sg    e-t          tule=q         'you don't come'
3Sg    ei           tule=q         '(s)he doesn't come'
1Pl    e-mme        tule=q         'we don't come'
2Pl    e-tte        tule=q         'you don't come'
3Pl    ei-vat       tule=q         'they don't come'

       Negative paradigm

       Auxiliary    Connegative

1Sg    e-n          ela=q          'I don't live'
2Sg    e-t          ela=q          'you don't live'
3Sg    ei           ela=q          '(s)he doesn't live'
1Pl    e-mme        ela=q          'we don't live'
2Pl    e-tte        ela=q          'you don't live'
3Pl    ei-vat       ela=q          'they don't live'

In the present tense the =q of the connegative closes the syllable and in so doing helps to preserve the final vowel of the stem. The active past participle derivative (=nut/=nyt and its variants assimilated to stem-final dentoalveolars: =lut/=lyt, =rut/=ryt, =sut/=syt in singular, =nee-t, =lee-t, =reet, =see-t (3) in plural) is part of the negative structure in past tenses. (4)

1.1. Prohibitive

For the sake of brevity and also because the given problem does not require an analysis of the full paradigm of the prohibitive in Cheremis we treat here only the 2Sg forms.

       Prohibitive    Connegative

2Sg    ala            tule=q         'don't come'
2Sg    ala            ela=q          don't live'

The etymological background of the prohibitive (ala) is opaque and its relation to the non-imperative negative auxiliary (e-, ei) is equally unclear. There are dialects, however, where prohibitive forms appear as ela, elkoon etc. These stems easily give themselves as being identical with the negative indicative stem e-. Yet, Hakulinen interprets these forms as secondary (1941 : 226). It is also irregular as a form of imperative, since it lacks the marker =q, otherwise an obligatory morpheme of the imperative, although there are traces of it in dialects (Hakulinen 1941 : 226).

2. The negation in Mari as a problem

Sample paradigms

       tol=as 'to come',          il=as 'to live',
       E-base: tole-              A-base: ila-

               Affirmative paradigm

1Sg    tola-m     'I come'        ile-m     'I live'
2Sg    tola-t     'you come'      ile-t     'you live'
3Sg    tole=s     '(s)he come'    ila-o     '(s)he live'
1Pl    tole-na    'we come'       ile-na    'we live'
2Pl    tole-da    'you come'      ile-da    'you live'
3Pl    tole-t     'they come'     sile-t    'they live'

       Negative paradigm

       Auxiliary     Connegative

1Sg    e-n           tule=q         'I don't come'
2Sg    e-t           tule=q         'you don't come'
3Sg    ei            tule=q         '(s)he don't come'
1Pl    e-mme         tule=q         'we don't come'
2Pl    e-tte         tule=q         'you don't come'
3Pl    ei-vat        tule=q         'they don't come'

       Negative paradigm

       Auxiliary     Connegative

1Sg    e-n           ela=q          'I don't live'
2Sg    e-t           ela=q          'you don't live'
3Sg    ei            ela=q          '(s)he don't live'
1Pl    e-mme         ela=q          'we don't live'
2Pl    e-tte         ela=q          'you don't live'
3Pl    ei-vat        ela=q          'they don't live'

From the paradigms above it can be seen at a glance that 1st and 2nd person forms in the present tense affirmation singular, just like in Finnish, are set against 3rd person forms insofar as the 1st and 2nd forms are differentiated by person-markers, while the 3rd person forms are distinguished either by the present participial derivative =s as

in E-bases, or by 0 as in A-bases (tolam, tolat, toles vs. ilem, ilet, ila). A somewhat similar situation can be observed in the negative paradigm, as well, where the negative auxiliaries of the 1st and 2nd person forms are distinguished by person-markers in contradistinction to 3rd person forms which are characterized by the present-tense marker -k, (5) which can be followed optionally by the same present participial derivative =s which occurs in 3rd person of E-bases (om, ot, ok/oyes). As for the connegatives, their form differs from what we have seen in Finnish.

Question (1)

In contrast to Finnish, the forms of the connegative in Mari are not uniform, they have a consonantal ending in E-bases (tol), while in A-bases, contrary to expected -a, they have a vocalic ending -e (ile). We would like to know why.

2.1. The T-structure (6)

Unlike in practical grammars we consider the 3rd person as the starting point of the paradigm. Why? Because they take place at a distance from the axis of discourse, 3rd person forms are usually well articulated and transparent, whereas 1st and 2nd person forms--by virtue of their proximity to, or, rather their identity with the axis of discourse--are, for the same reason, opaque: proximity to the axis of discourse (= speech act) makes morphological articulation and transparency unnecessary.

In the affirmative paradigm A-verbs in the 3rd person singular do not require explanation, since they are identical with the base (ila), while E-verbs in the 3rd person singular take a participial derivative =s (tole=s) and the original base can be obtained by omitting plural -t from the 3rd person plural forms (tole-t > tole-). Instead of the original base final vowels -a (in A-bases) and -a (in E-bases) respectively, the forms of 1st and 2nd person contain as base final -e (in A-bases) and -a (in E-bases), respectively. This is why traditionally --and in a somewhat misleading way--the term -em paradigm is used for A-bases and -am paradigm for E-bases in traditional Mari grammars.

In the negative paradigm where similarly the 3rd person singular forms of the auxiliary are the starting point, both types occur (3rd person forms of A- and E-verbs, respectively) as optional variants of each other: unmarked o=k vs. marked o=y=es (by participial derivative). The 3rd person singular negative auxiliary differs from its positive counterpart in that notwithstanding them it contains the marker of immediate and/or organic future -k and -ye, respecively. (7)

If we re-examine the paradigms there emerges yet another question.

Question (2)

How to explain that A-bases belong to -em paradigm and E-bases belong to -am paradigm or, in other words and in general, what is the explanation for the vowel alternation a ~ e and e ~ a, respectively?

We are trying to show that the two questions above are not independent of each other and if we find an answer for one, we shall get one also for the other. It is self-evident that we are looking for the answer in the nature of the vowel-system of Mari.

3. The Mari vowel system

The customary procedure notwithstanding, reduced e [schwa] will not be treated here as an isolated member of the vowel-system as a whole, but as an organic part of it, namely as one that participates in the opposition low vs. high, representing the highest grade. Consequently, there are four grades of height. In Cheremis there exists only a limited version of frontback harmony, restricted to the domain of the labials. That is why we do not list the front-back pairs of u-u, o-o one by one, only back u and o are listed, while their front pairs are represented by diaeresis (..).

               Labials    Illabials

High    I                 e
        II     **u        i
        III    **o        e
Low     IV                a

3.1. Prosody

Labials are realized either as back vowels (u, o) or front ones (u, o). It is a feature of vowel harmony among labials that unstressed final reduced e of other dialects is realized here as III-grade full o, o or e, yet without being stressed. Stressed vowels are set here in bold italics, e.g. Western tol'e, (s)he, it came' [narrative perfect Sg3] Central tolo 'id.', Western usta 'cold' ~ Central justo 'id.', Western keske 'serpent' ~ Central kiske 'id.'

3.2. Stress

Normally, stress--indicated here by bold italics--falls upon the last full vowel of the word, e.g. ila '(s)he lives' and tole-t 'they come'. It is a general tendency, almost a universal, that the imperative strives to distinguish itself from other moods. In Mari this manifests itself by the stress leaping one syllable to the left so that--most bases being bisyllabic--the stress falls on the first syllable. The leap of stress onto the first syllable, in its turn, induces reduction of the vowel in the second syllable, which is now without stress. In this context, reduction means vowels one grade higher: a becomes e and e becomes 0, respectively, e.g. ila > ile and tole > tol-. In the case of the base tole-, however,--in accordance with the rule that stress falls upon the last full vowel of the word--stress has already fallen upon the first syllable in the affirmative and also in other moods as well. Therefore, stress leaping leftward one syllable can be grasped as a "leap into nowhere" whose reality is made apparent by the disappearance of final -e. The disappearance of -e is parallelled by turning -a to -e, a process of closing: -a > -e :: -e > -o. The process is a mirror-image of the change that takes place in the first syllable of 1st and 2nd person of the negative auxiliary, e- > - o, induced by the stress leaping back to the second syllable of the verb (see below) and is fully analogous with a development in Indo-European, where original word-initial stress has become word-final and induced the drop (disappearance) of a word-initial vowel (see Szemerenyi 1990 : 116).

In this way an answer is given to the (1) question: How comes that connegatives, and what are isomorphic with them, imperatives are not uniform in Mari?

Answer to question (1)

The stress leaping leftward to the first syllable in the imperative--and in its isomorphic pair, the connegative--induces the reduction of word-final vowels (they rise by one grade) and, since the grade of highness has already been different in the two base-types, the result will also be different: -a becomes -e and -e becomes -o, respectively.

3.3. Vowel-rotation

We have seen above how the process of differentiation between elementary modalities, imperative and other moods takes place in two steps. First step: stress leaps leftward onto the first syllable; second step: reduction of the word-final vowel.

What we present here as vowel-reduction, the profession has known for long as vowel-alternation (Steinitz 1944; Austerlitz 1975). The vowel-alternations, as they appear under 2 (a) and (b), also play a role in shaping the inner structure of the verbal paradigms: in A-bases 3Sg ila is set against a stem ile- of 1Sg and 2Sg ile-n and ile-t, respectively (a ~ e alternation), in E-bases a hypothetical stem of 3Sg tolr- (< 3Pl tole-t) is set against the stem tola- of 1Sg and 2Sg tola-m, tola-t, respectively (e ~ a alternation). If we look more closely, we may see that a and a of the latter alternation do not belong to the same "weight-class": e is unstressed, while a is stressed, v. tole-[t] vs. tola-m, tola-t. The alternation has also a transitional grade which we have seen in forms of 2Sg imperative, tol-o , i.e. zero:

        Stressed                       Unstressed

High    e             [right arrow]    e
        [up arrow]                     [down arrow]
Low     a             [left arrow]     o

The rotation above is basically the same as we have known Donegan-Talos-Abondolo-"law" of vowel rotation: long low vowels raise, long high vowels shorten and descend (Donegan 1978/1985; Talos 1983; Abondolo 1996). There are two differences. One of them is only terminological: what they call long, here we call stressed, what they call short, we call unstressed. Another difference: in the circle of vowel-rotation we have a "dead" end, i.e. zero. The rotation here connects linguistic domains/spaces created by the distribution of elementary constituents: (1) the spatial domain of grammatical persons as structured by a ~ e alternation in A-bases, (2) the opposition of imperative vs. other moods as alternation a ~ o ~ a. (8)


2Sg   i-t    tol   i-t    ile
2Pl   i-Sa   tol   i-Sa   ile

Compared to the corresponding Finnish forms the Imp 2Sg, Pl2 in Mari are transparent, insofar as person markers Sg -t and Pl -Sa are attached to the alternating (o ~ e ~ i) base of the negative (= prohibitive) auxiliary. The 3Sg and 3Pl forms of the imperative are identical with the optative forms (see below, section 5).

Answer to question (2)

Imperative 2Sg / connegative ile 'live!' was brought about by the reduction of the word-final vowel -a of the indicative 3Sg ila in the paradigm of A-bases and a similar process has taken place in the paradigm of E-bases: the imperative 2Sg / connegative form tol-o is the result of stress leaping leftward to the first syllable. According to the law of vowel-rotation when stressed becomes a: tol-o > tola-n, tola-t, while stressed a once it has entered into the circle of vowel-rotation, gets reduced to e, retaining, however, its stress: ila > ile-n, ile-t.

4. Negation and the testimonial past tense

The languages of the Volga-region, among them also Mari, distinguish between so-called testimonial (Russian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] 'eyewitnessedness') and reported ("hearsay" or narrative) past tense (Bereczki 2004). The affirmative forms of the testimonial past are--seemingly--not uniform in paradigms of E- and A-bases: -l and -n final variants of E-bases get palatalized in the testimonial past tense, therefore it is also called palatalizing past, while in A-bases the marker of this past tense is uniformly -s.

       Testimonial Past
       Affirmative paradigm

       E-paradigm    A-paradigm

1Sg    tol-je-m      ile-se-m
2Sg    tol-je-c      ile-se-c
3Sg    tol-jo        ile-s
1Pl    tol-[]-na     ile-s-na
2Pl    tol-[]-a      ile-s-ta
3Pl    tol-je-c      ile-se-c

Just as we have tried to descry an identity behind the different forms of the connegatives in E- and A-bases with the help of vowel rotation, so are we trying now to show that the two different markers of testimonial past, -je(after -l- and -n-) and -se- (after other consonant- and vowel-finals) are reactions to the same challenge: in intervocalic (and postconsonantal, other than -l and -n) affirmations the marker is realized as -s and in post-dental/lateral position as -j. Lateral l and nasal n get palatalized throughout in the Sg and also in the 3Pl, but remain untouched in 1Pl and 2Pl due to the so-called "dental attraction" (Austerlitz 1965) between stem final consonants -l, -n and the morpheme-initial -n and -S of 1Pl and 2Pl, respectively. Dental attraction deletes the past tense-marker -j between -l, -n and -n-, -S-, a process indicated here by []. In the case of A-stems, which are all vocalic, the past tense marker -j is realized as -s or, in syllabified form as -se. In short: -je-and -s(e)- are variants of the same morpheme in different contexts. (9)

4.1. Negation in the testimonial past

1Sg    sea-m    tol    'I did not come [I swear]'
2Sg    se-c     tol    'you did not come'
3Sg    e-s      tol    '(s)he did not come'
1Pl    e-s-na   tol    'we did not come'
2Pl    e-s-ta   tol    'you did not come'
3Pl    e-s-t    tol    'they did not come'

1Sg    se-m     ile    'I did not live [I swear]'
2Sg    se-c     ile    'you did not live'
3Sg    e-s      ile    '(s)he did not live'
1Pl    e-s-na   ile    'we did not live'
2Pl    e-s-ta   ile    'you did not live'
3Pl    e-s-t    ile    'they did not live'

In the original forms of 1Sg and 2Sg, still in use dialectally, which are e-ze-m and e-ze-c, respectively, stress leaps to the right, onto the second syllable, (10) and as a consequence the a- of the first syllable (developed from o-) reduces to -o. For this reason, the forms of the negative auxiliary 1Sg and 2Sg in the testimonial past lack the actual verbal stem e- (< o-) where only tense- and person markers appear. The connegative, as it appears in the structure, indicates, however, that negation is the case here.

5. Negation in the optative

       Affirmative paradigm

1Sg    tol-ne-m     'I would like to come'
2Sg    tol-ne-t     'you would like to come'
3Sg    tol-ne-ze    '(s)he would like to come'
1Pl    tol-ne-na    'we would like to come'
2Pl    tol-ne-da    'you would like to come'
3Pl    tol-ne-st    'they would like to come'

       Affirmative paradigm

1Sg    ile-ne-m     'I would like to live'
2Sg    ile-ne-m     'you would like to live'
3Sg    ile-ne-ze    '(s)he would like to live'
1Pl    ile-ne-na    'we would like to live'
2Pl    ile-ne-da    'you would like to live'
3Pl    ile-ne-st    'they would like to live'

Negative paradigm

As was the case with the testimonial tense marker, it is the
auxiliary that takes the modal marker here.

1Sg    e-ne-m      tol    'I would not come'
2Sg    e-ne-t      tol    'you would not come'
3Sg    e-ne-ze     tol    '(s)he would not come'
1Pl    e-ne-na     tol    'we would not come'
2Pl    e-ne-da     tol    'you would not come'
3Pl    e-ne-s-t    tol    'they would not come'

1Sg    e-ne-m      ile    'I would not live'
2Sg    e-ne-t      ile    'you would not live'
3Sg    e-ne-ze     ile    '(s)he would not live'
1Pl    e-ne-na     ile    'we would not live'
2Pl    e-ne-da     ile    'you would not live'
3Pl    e-ne-s-t    ile    'they would not live'

6. Excursus: negation and the (non-testimonial) "narrative past"

This verbal paradigm is nothing else but a participial base (in gerundial, originally adjectival function) with a person suffix. From a semantic perspective it is worth noting that the grammatical past is not represented in this paradigm at all. Temporality (past) is obtained through implication, during storytelling, when the difference between the time of the telling the story and the time of the story itself (which is evidently past) is blurred. The proper term for such a tense is narrative past.

Affirmative paradigm

1Sg    tole=n-am    'I came'        ile=na-m    'I lived'
2Sg    tole=n-at    'you came'      ile=na-t    'you lived'
3Sg    tole=n       '(s)he came'    ile=n       '(s)he lived'
1Pl    tole=n-na    'we came'       ile=n-na    'we lived'
2Pl    tole=n-da    'you came'      ile=n-da    'you lived'
3Pl    tole=ne-t    'they came'     ile=ne-t    'they lived'

                      Negative paradigm

       Participle ~      Negative    [< Negative auxiliary +
       Gerund            verb        Substantive verb]

1Sg    tola=n / ile=n    omel        [< om ul] 'I did not come/live'
2Sg    tola=n / ile=n    otel        you did not come/live'
3Sg    tola=n / ile=n    o yel       '(s)he did not come/live'

The periphrastic structure above is identical with the predicative structure apsat omel 'I am not [a] blacksmith' and converges with predicative paradigms typical of the region. Seemingly it is the inverse of other constellations of negation and prohibition (i.e. indicative, imperative, optative) of Mari. In reality it is not the case: in this periphrastic structure the main verb is nothing other than the modifier of the connegative, and the connegative is, in turn, the reduced variant al of the regular imperative 2nd-person form of the E-verb ula=s 'to be' according to the stress-rule (see above): om ul > omel 'I was not ...' The hierarchy of the structure is shown by the following diagram: (11)

7. Summary and outlook

The demonstration above does not contain all possible means of negation in Mari and restricts itself only to the most representative paradigms. That is why "narrative past" was treated here as one that adheres to the core of Mari negation--and also for historical reasons, since it has a parallel in Hungarian. The core of Mari negation consists of the indicative, imperative and optative paradigms, where the universal modal opposition of indicative and imperative is represented by word-final stress leaping leftward to a word-initial position, a feature characteristic only of Mari.

It is common knowledge among Uralists that Mari is second only to Hungarian in the degree to which it has undergone influence from Turkic. But the Turkic features of these two languages were obtained in different ages and from different Turkic languages, and there was at least a thousand years between the two periods of contact. This explains not only the differing traces of Turkic in these two languages, but also the similarities originating in Turkic languages, such as the differentiation between testimonial and narrative past (Bereczki 2004). As for the peculiarities of Mari negation as treated here: they are directly influenced by the stress pattern of neighbouring Turkic languages (Chuvash, Tatar, Bashkir) and what is connected with it, their vowel-system. The two most important aspects: 1. first-syllable stress (of Uralic/ Finno-Ugric origin) leaps rightward to the ultimate or penultimate syllable, and 2. as a consequence reduced vowels, above all schwa (a) and its variants appear. These aspects have brought about great changes in the phonetic-phonological-morphological profile of Mari, as we tried to show above.

One feature of Turkic origin has not yet been mentioned so far, mainly because it is not part of the central subdialect, although it is part of negation. Namely, in the Western literary language the narrative past is expressed by a privative derivative suffix -te/-Se- attached to the verbal stem and followed by a variant of the substantive verb 'to be' deprived of its first syllable (stem vowel) e- (< u-) which we indicate here by [], e.g. tol=Se+[]lam "come=privative suffix+be-Sg1", 'I did not come'. The structure reminds us of similar phrases in Turkic insofar as negation is expressed in most Turkic languages also by privative suffix, cf. Tatar yaz- 'write' vs. yaz=ma-'not write', although it is worth mentioning that the use of privative suffixes is much more widespread in negation of Turkic languages than is indicated here. Even so, it can be called a calque here, even though similar structures occur also in Finnish, e.g. Asia on jaanyt keskustelema=tta 'The case remained without being discussed'. Furthermore: this form of narrative past of Western subdialect Mari is equally lacking in any kind of reference to the past, just as it did the Central dialect. It is a feature that permits us to presume that narrative past has its origins in folklore, in the ritual of story telling.



My thanks should go to Daniel M. Abondolo for his far-sighted advice and invaluable help in finalizing the text of this paper, and to Paul Kokla for reviewing my paper. Although I thank the anonymous reviewer or reviewers for commentaries and complementary remarks some of which I have accepted and included in this version of my paper.


Peter Simoncsics

Department of Hungarian and General Linguistics "Babes-Bolyai" University, Cluj-Kolozsvar, Romania




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Hakulinen, L. 1941, Suomen kielen rakenne ja kehitys I, Helsinki.

Helimski, E. 1996, Proto-Uralic Gradation. Continuation and Traces.--CIFU VIII, Pars 1, 17-51.

Lotz J. 1976, Szonettkoszoru a nyelvrol, Budapest.

Steinitz, W. 1944, Geschichte des finnisch-ugrischen Vokalismus, Stockholm.

Szemerenyi, O. 1990, Einfuhrung in dies vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft. 4. Auflage, Darmstadt.

Talos E. 1983, 'Kep szoveg nelkul'.--Uralisztikai tanulmanyok. Hajdu Peter 60. szuletesnapja tiszteletere, Budapest, 409-420.

(3) The final -t is a plural marker.

(4) Originally, the negative structure as a whole included also the present form of connegative 'to be', e.g. e-n ole=q men=nyt [negative auxiliary-VxSg1 + 'to be' base=q (connegative) + past particple]. Later, 'to be' base=q was omitted as redundant and replaced by the past participle of the main verb.

(5) This present tense marker -k shares a common historical background with -q of Finnish imperative-connegative: their common denominator is the term immediate and/or organic future.

(6) T-structure was originated by John Lotz, who successfully applied it as a model in his grammatical studies (s. Lotz 1976). I use the symbol [perpendicular to] (an upside down T) here in this paper, since it serves the purpose of demonstrating the spatial relations between grammatical persons just as well as does its opposite.

(7) In living speech when the participants have a dialogue between each other, the speaker does not always use the negative structure with connegative, for her/him it suffices to use only the negative longer variant of the auxiliary, where all forms contain the marker of immediate/organic future:

1Sg o=ye-m    1Pl o=ye-na
2Sg o=ye-t    2Pl o=ye-Sa
3Sg o=y=es    3Pl o=ye-t

(8) It is our guess only that vowel-rotation occurs less among labials which are characterized by front-back harmony. In other words and somewhat more radically put: vowel-harmony and vowel-rotation exclude each other--also in Mari.

(9) In final analysis, we can put complementary distribution of past tense-marker j and s of Mari into historical perspective: we can, perhaps, dispose of the duplicity of past tense-markers *j and *s for Proto-Finno-Ugric, even Proto-Uralic and conceive them as but variants of the same "arche-morph" (cf. Hajdu 1966 : 176-177; Abondolo 1990 : 27; Helimski 1996 : 40).

(10) The rule mentioned also by Bereczki (1990 : 28) "when all vowels (i.e. syllabic nuclei) of the word are reduced (a), then stress is on the first syllable" does not seem to apply here. The deletion of first syllable (which equals with the stem of negative auxiliary a- here) would not be possible if it were stressed.

(11) Explanation: regnant always follows and takes place one line lower than rectus.
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Author:Simoncsics, Peter
Publication:Linguistica Uralica
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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