Re: Possessive Suffixes
The relationship between the Akkadian possessive suffixes,
personal pronouns and independent possessive pronouns is evident when
looking at the genetive-accusative forms of the personal pronouns. As
you assume, it is quite straightforward.
Possessive suffix | personal pronoun (Gen.) |
1 ja (i:) (?a)
ju:m (m.) jattum (f.)
A similar relationship can be found in the plural.
Btw, the Akkadian accusative suffixes, used to indicate a
pronominal object by attaching to the verb, are similar to the
possessive suffixes in the singular, but to the personal pronoun
genetive-accusative in the plural. So in Akkadian it is obvious that
those suffixes are really just the pronouns attached to nouns or
In Middle Babylonian (and later on), the possessive pronouns
were replaced by /attu/ + a possessive suffix.
In the course of time, the pronominal suffixes and the
pronouns diverged. Just two examples for development on those
In New Babylonian (10 - 7 cent. BC)/-i:/has developed into
/-a:/; /-Su/ often becomes /-S/. Personal pronouns changed as well,
May this post be more informative than my last one.
Christian Köttl wrote:
> The possessive suffixes were in the singular
> -ja "my"
> -ki "thy", mask.sg.
> -ka "thy",fem.plk
> -Su "his"
> -Sa "her"
How, if at all, do the suffixed forms relate to the free forms of
For example, in all the Austronesian/Malayo-Polynesian languages I can
of, there's a pretty clear relationship between the two:
I-sg. *aku -- poss.sfx. -ku almost everywhere
II-sg. *kamu -- poss. -mu almost everywhere (*kamu may have been a pl.
originally, not sure)
(also *kaw ~*kahu -- sfx. -ko in a few; definitely the sing.,
(III-sg. see below) --
Suffixes for the plurals are much less common, but where they
I-pl.incl. *kita -- sfx. -ta
(I-pl. excl. *kami -- no sfx. attested AFAIK; it would probably have
?*-mi, thus falling together with--
II-pl. *miu (Moluccan *kimi) -- sfx. -mi
III-pl. *sida -- sfx. -da (often > -ra)
There was also a possessive/attributive particle *ni, which shows up
in N -
N possessives and idioms like *taqi ni aNin (shit (of) wind =) cloud,
also shows up in the usual III-sg. suffix--
III-sg. *ia, poss. *ni ia > **nya > -nya in some langs. (/-ña/
in those few
that have a palatal nasal, like Ml/Indo), but more often -na, and this
This *ni particle is probably present in some variant forms, also
Isg **-Nku, Ipl-inc. **-nta, IIIpl **-nda (perhaps trivially in the
with initial nasal)
The general lack of suffixes for the plural seems to be due to the
development of politeness/status distinctions and/or occasional loss
incl./excl. distinction, and/or frequent generalization of sing. forms
the plural, esp. in III person.
In Ml/Indo. the I and II-sg. suffixes are informal; the more usual
construction is collocation, using alternate pronoun forms:
aku, -ku in familiar speech, e.g. rumah/ku 'my house'
saya 'I' non-intimate: rumah saya
and similarly in II-sg, where words like bapak 'father' or titles are
in lieu of familiar engkau or kamu, so rumah bapak '(your) house'
rumah bapak saya 'my father's house')
III-sg. -nya can also be plural, also respectful II-- as, darimana
(from.where origin/poss.) 'where do you come from?'; alternate III-pl
mereka (+ 'they')
Here's the set of suffixes in Buginese:
-mu (sing. only AFAIK)
-na both sg. and pl. (pl. also N+na maneng (all) for clarity)-- also
N - N, e.g. bola/na Ali 'Ali's house'
-ta (both I-incl./excl, also polite
II-sg/pl (alt. + maneng in pl.)
(-keng I-excl., full pronoun i/keng ult. < *kami, but both forms
Here's the set in Kisar, a Moluccan language:
-u Isg (<*-ku or *-Nku)
-mu II sg/pl
-n(V) III sg/pl
-d(V) (<**nta) Ipl in/ex. --(V)is 0 or a V determined by rule
But very closely related Leti has:
-mu sg. only
-mi II pl.
Leti retains the Ipl in/ex distinction, but has lost the suffixes,
Kis. ik makrom/do (we master/poss) 'our master (relig. Our Lord)'
Let. it matrum/na (generalizing the III sfx.)
Also, the old IIIpl *-da survives in Leti as a plural marker (-ra),
I don't have my Fijian dictionary at hand, but I know it has reflexes
singulars, *-ku, *-mu, *-na. It would be interesting to look at the
since Fij. has dual-trial-multiple. Will check.
A multi-language study of the relationship between full/poss.-suffix
forms has probably been done, somewhere, but I don't know of any.
interesting, though I'd suspect there's usually a pretty clear
just as in AN.
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