By Jack Rueter

In the finite-state description of Erzya and Moksha, four different types of person and number are attested. Personal and emphatic pronouns are tagged (Sg1, Sg2, Sg3, Pl1, Pl2, Pl3). Possessor indexing is indicated with ‹Px›: PxSg1, PxSg2,... Subject/Agent indexing on the predicate is tagged ‹Sc›: ScSg1, ScSg2,..., and object indexing is tagged with ‹Oc› on finite verbs: OcSg1, OcSg2,...

Three sets of categories co-occur in portmanteau subject-object indexing, nominative-case pronoun and subject indexing, and possessor index and subject index.

Both languages have copula subject indexing on nominals, adverbs and non-finite verbal forms. In Moksha, even personal pronouns can take subject indexing: «Ton-at?» ‹Sg2-ScSg2› Is that you? .

Subject indexing variation occurs in non-introductory equative clauses. The minimal pair (a) «mon doktor-ś-an» ‹Sg1 doctor-Nominative.Def.Sg-ScSg1› I'm the doctor , and (b) «mon doktor-ś» ‹Sg1 doctor-Nominative.Def.Sg› I am the doctor illustrate a morphological distinction between ScSg1 and ScSg3 marking according to discourse topic, with Sg1 subject in (a) but predicate in (b), hence zero or (ScSg3) marking.

Subject and possessor indexing also occur: «Jalga-z-an» ‹friend-PxSg3-ScSg1› I am his/her friend.

Finally, universal quantifiers with possessor index-like indexing are considered pronouns: «kolmone-st-eĺ-t́» ‹3.Coll-Pl3-Pst-ScPl3› they were three.


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Jack Rueter



Published: 9 Feb, 2024

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