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Nominal suffixes


<-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> DIM

The suffix <-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> DIM is used to form diminutives of countable nouns, for example galon.yi 'small house', gutizar.iy 'booklet'. Suffixed to mass nouns or uncountable nouns the suffix <-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> DIM denotes a little bit, a small quantity or volume, for example faya.ji 'a drop of milk', she.yi 'a bit of love'. Suffixed to proper nouns it denotes juniority as in Hamal.yi 'little Hamal, young Hamal', or derivationally in anuiy 'grandson'. The suffix <-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> DIM is etymologically related to the independent lexeme yi small, which however does not exhibit any of the morphophonological alternations the suffix <-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> DIM shows.

The suffix <-iy ~ -yi ~ -ji ~ -li> shows a complex morphophological alternation. The allomorph <-iy&rt; of the diminutive suffix occurs after fricative consonants and /r/, the allomorph <-yi> after low vowels, nasals, and in free variation with <-ji> after the lateral approximant /l/. The allomorph <-ji> occurs after high vowels. The form <-li> finally is a southern variant and can occur in every context.

.    Datedir      ka  vokah hon   ga, kelmad lye da
     female_slave TOP old   after NOM uncle  DAT 3sMGH
     galon.yi  teshit.é. Cyun.cyun sui       ga!
     house.DIM buy.PT1   very.very expensive NOM
     As for the slave woman, when she got old, Uncle bought a
     small house for her. That was very expensive!
.    Faya.ji  getyun.hau, yehin.yi     y   sümis.iy, harir.hau, 
     milk.DIM take.IMP    cinnamon.DIM ENU wine.DIM  stir.IMP
     jaljalir.hau, tame rayet.zi  ga,  dentan.é.
     mix.IMP       sure tasty.AUG NOM  say.PT1
     Take a bit of milk, some cinnamon and a little wine, stir
     it, mix it, and it sure to be very tasty, [she] said.

(The milk is more likely to be cream, perhaps sour cream, and is used to make a sauce for meat.)

.    Ingvi.ji, yadiri         yal.hau.yal!
     Ingvi.DIM younger_sister bring.IMP.DEL
     Ingvi, go and bring your sister

In this example, the speaker, Nechzi, is one of the mothers of Ingvi. The verbal form yalhauyal, which consists of an imperative and a delimitative aspect duplication, can be translated more accurately in Dutch, using the Dutch particle 'even': 'Ingvi, breng jij je zusje even!'


<-zi> ~ <-ze> ~ <-za> AUG

Derivational augmentative prefix

<zi-> ~ <ze-> ~ <za-> AUG

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