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Simplicité de la flexion mordve ?

Abstract : Among specialists of the Uralic languages, the Mordvinic languages Erzya and Mokša are famous for the great complexity of their inflectional paradigms, especially as concerns the declensions of the definite object. This article attempts to show that it is possible to reduce the apparent complexity of noun and verb inflections in Mordvinic by separating the morphological markers into lexical or thematic domains on one hand, and the truly declensional affix domain on the other hand. After having applied this distributed inflectional domain segmentation to the morphology of nouns and cases, the definite object declensions are analyzed through two sets of morphological formatives: first of all the topicalizing object augments (-sama-, -ta-, -sa-/-si-, -sami-, -tadi-,-si- in Erzya, (-sama-, -ťä-, -sa-/-si-, -sama-, -taďä-, -saj-/-si- in Mokša), secondly the subject or agent affixes, stemming from various sources: imperative declensions (-k), possessive declensions (-ńk, ńek, etc.), subjective conjugations, or former participles (-ja, -ź). To these sets and subsets of themes and declensions one must add a tendency towards syncretism, linked to the plural category, which is distributed in a highly foreseeable manner in the “local” person paradigms (1st and 2nd persons), whereas the third persons show the highest degree of inflection marking. This separation into object and subject inflectional domains better accounts for the ergonomics of the inflection system in the Mordvinic languages than an explanation based on diachronic reconstructions (Serebrennikov, Bubrih), which posit an initial agglutinating and purely concatenational state for the sequences Object-Tense-Number-Subject, whereas a redistributed analysis of the formatives in synchrony leads one to doubt that the system changed from a highly incremental, or agglutinating state, to the inflectional state which today characterizes both the literary Mordvinic languages and the dialects, whose paradigms have been minutely documented by Lázló Keresztes (1999). Based on data collected by the latter author and on a reanalysis of this paradigm's declensions, an alternative reconstruction model for Proto-Mordvinic is proposed, which leans more heavily on the ergonomics of conjugations and morphological marking strategies, in an attempt to reconcile synchrony and diachrony.
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Contributor : Jean Léonard Léonard Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, November 9, 2009 - 3:45:39 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 2:41:21 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00430714, version 1



Jean Léonard Léonard, Jean Léonard Léonard. Simplicité de la flexion mordve ?. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris, Peeters Publishers, 2008, pp.364-400. ⟨halshs-00430714⟩



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