Verbal Morphology

Posted by Håvard Tegle on 18:09 7/28/01

In reply to: (none)

Excerpt from Proto-Eastern page:

Verbs are conjugated by person and number. The personal endings are similar in all tenses. In the present tense, for instance, the endings all follow the pattern
I. sg. awV II. sg. ewVs III. sg. et I. pl. Vwmu II. pl. Vwsi III. pl. Vntu
The vowel V varies by conjugation. The endings are similar in the other tenses, and it is tempting to derive the endings from a previous morpheme sequence
   tense + plural + pronoun e.g. V w mu
The peculiarities in the person category of the different conjugations remind me of a theory that the active, medium and perfect Indo-European endings originated from the verb showing concordance by locative(= ergative), dative and accusative(= absolutive) reference.


If such a development is recognised for Proto-Eastern then one can explain the vocalic alternations (marked as 'V' above) as relics of different older case endings. A shift in case system (ergative --> nominative) might have made this system obsolete. The verbs could be grouped after what reference they kept which resulted in the brake-up into conjugations. Any thoughts?

PS: This belongs to the subjects I had in mind when starting a-lxs. (Almean linguistic studies discussion group)

Best regards,

Mark responds:

I'm not sure I follow Alscher's argument... it's probably too late (2 a.m.). Sounds intriguing, though. I'll have to look at it again (and perhaps also at Winfred Lehmann, who argues that IE was a stative language).

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