Dirk Elzinga wrote at 2004-01-23 10:27:58 (-0700)
 > On Thursday, January 22, 2004, at 05:22  PM, Tim May wrote:
 > > If so, what would "sepite ehammeka esepeken i atapune" mean?
 > > What about "pite ehammeka esepeken i atapune"?  Are these valid
 > > sentences?
 > The first would be '(He) saw Cottontail's children playing'; there
 > is an implied third person subject when there is no overt person
 > marking on the predicate. The second sentence would be '(He) saw
 > his children playing.' Since neither implied 'he' nor 'his' is a
 > subject, there is no way to tell if they are coreferential or not
 > (switch reference is only sensitive to subjects), so there is a
 > potential ambiguity between
 > He[1] saw his[1] children playing.
 > and
 > He[1] saw his[2] children playing.

I folow your translation of my first sentence but not the second.  Are
you sure that what you thought I wrote was what I wrote?  It's meant
to be

  pite e=  hamme  -ka e=  se-    <Vk>   pen   i   a=  tapune
  see  SS= play:U -UN SS= 3poss- <COLL> child OBL DS= Cottontail

whereas it seems to me that perhaps you thought I had written
something along the lines of

  se-    pite e=  hamme  -ka e=  se-    <Vk>   pen
  3poss- see  SS= play:U -UN SS= 3poss- <COLL> child

But perhaps I'm missing something.  My question (in this case)
concerned what meaning, if any, would be attached to a morpheme like
_pite_ in the absence of possessive marking.

 > > Does _pen_ show the same ambiguity between "offspring" and
 > > "juvenile" as English "child"?
 > No. There is a lexical suffix _-ttsi_ glossed 'young, diminutive'
 > which is intended to refer to the young of a species. The word
 > _pen_ is restricted to offspring, but only when young. There are
 > separate words for 'son' and 'daughter' which can be used for adult
 > offspring as well as children.

Ah, very good.  Lexical suffixes are marvellous things.  (I've just
recently found a dissertation* on the grammar of Southern Wakashan
languages, in which such morphemes play a prominent role.)  Does
_-ttsi_ apply to humans and personified entities?

Incidentally, David Peterson asked you some questions on the subject in a
post of 2001-01-24, and I don't recall seeing your reply.  It's possible
that you didn't recieve the post, as the subject line was extensively
garbled.  The archived copy is at