|Linguistics: Theoretical Linguistics|
No irregular forms in agglutinating languages?
- A feature that distinguishes fusional languages from agglutinating ones is the occurrence of irregular forms: this wouldn't happen in an agglutinating language since the synthetic elements retain a meaning of their own.
This sentence -- to me -- suggests that in agglutinating languages there are no irregular forms. Of course, this isn't true. The statement should be rewritten, although I'm not sure what it was meant to express. Maybe some examples?
Also, I couldn't understand what would a fusional language be, on the other hand, the definition at http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAFusionalLanguage.htm with an immediate example made it clear.
- Esperanto.....is a particularly clean and simple example of a fusional language.
This seems pretty odd. Most linguists (e.g. John C. Wells in Lingvistikaj Aspektoj de Esperanto) describe Esperanto as agglutinative. The vast majority of Esperanto's grammatical endings and affixes have one morpheme per morph. Arguable exceptions include the verb endings (which indicate both tense and mood in one morpheme) and the participle endings (which indicate tense, aspect and voice in one morpheme). And there is no allomorphy in Esperanto except when proper names are mutated in adding the special affectionate-nickname suffixes. All other morpheme boundaries are agglutinative, according to Wells, and he calculates and agglunativity index of 0.9999 for Esperanto (compared with 0.67 for Swahili). --Jim Henry 23:19, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)
- I wouldn't call allomorphy an inflectional process. Nevertheless, I agree that Esperanto cannot be viewed as a canonical example of a fusional language, or even a suitable example. With the noun morphology as an example, gehundetojn male and female puppies (acc.) is totally agglutinative:
- Granted, the Esperanto verb might be somewhat less so, but in Navajo, a language that is certainly agglutinative, there is a lot of inflection in the verbal aspect prefixes in particular. I'll remove this from the article. thefamouseccles 00:53, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)
bad example for Latin
From the article:
- A good illustration of fusionality in language is the Latin word boni, "good men". The ending -i denotes masculine gender, nominative case, and plural number. Changing any of these features requires replacement of the suffix -i with something else.
This last sentence isn't even true because boni is also "of the good man" (genitive, masculine, singular) and "of the good thing" (genitive, neuter, singular). Perhaps a better example would be "bonus", because for that one you really do need to replace the suffix to change gender, number, and case. I'm going to change this. –Andyluciano 19:04, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Is this described properly?
I'm not sure the topic here is described properly (and regardless it is certainly not clear). Specifically what is the article really trying to say is the key difference between inflection and agglutination? Among other things using German as a prime example of a strictly "inflectional" language seems like an odd choice (granted I have seen this done in other places but it seems illogical). It is hard to argue that German is not "agglutinative". In fact it is German's ability to built complex words from simpler words that is one of its most powerful features and some scholars have argued that's what makes it a good language for science and philosophy (i.e. that you can easily create a word for a new concept that is intrinsicly clear without having to go to a lot of effort to define it). But at the same time German is also a substantially inflected language (albeit perhaps not as much as some languages).
Latin and its descendants, by contrast, can easily be said to be almost entirely free of any agglutinative nature. It is difficult to find examples of anything agglutinative in their writings (there are some examples but they are exceptional).
Anybody who is more of a linguist than I am want to comment?
--Mcorazao 19:41, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
"Fusional languages are generally believed to have descended from agglutinating languages"
See, this is not true. And the entire section keeps on not being true. Inflectional languages don't necessarily lose their inflections. Often inflections are added. Languages don't "know" where they are in terms of "evolution". They just are. Everything is pretty much random. French is on a track to becoming an agglutinating language. Spanish has lost a lot of Latin inflections, but it has also innovated and added a lot. Polish has a mostly agglutinating verbal system. Who can say for English, which is all over the place. Generalising about these states is just false. Vegfarandi (talk) 11:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
- Actually, after reading the Agglutinative language page, I think I have an idea of what it is. Words in agglutinative languages can be clearly separated into the individual morphemes (each of which has a clear meaning), but the separate morphemes in words of fusional languages are less clear (as demonstrated by the "otouto" Japanese example on the Agglutinative language page). This page should have a similar example, so the difference can be made clear. --V2Blast (talk) 22:49, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
This might be a useful article if you already know what an inflective language is
The first paragraph is probably intelligible to a linguist, or someone with a deep interest in language. However, it is not even remotely accessible to a general audience. I waded through the first paragraph for several minutes, and I still couldn't figure it out. Dwbullok (talk) 04:41, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
English "nearly analytic"
I'm not an expert in these questions, but it doesn't sound like a very scientific statement that English is a "nearly analytic" language. A perfectly analytic language would not have any inflection at all. "Nearly analytic" would be analytic with just one or two little exceptions. But English has inflection everywhere: two comparative forms plus an adverb form for most adjectives, two number forms for most nouns, between three and eight forms for verbs.
English is the most analytic of all European languages and in comparison to say German or Russian it has very little inflection. These are the languages that we normally compare English to, and therefore we might figure that English is "nearly analytic", while objectively it's not. Well, not in my (non-expert, as I said) point of view. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 03:20, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
The opening sentence in the lead says that fusional languages are also called inflective or inflected. A valid citation is given for calling them "inflective", but it seems to me that agglutinative languages are also said to be "inflected" along with the fusional languages. No? Loraof (talk) 16:07, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
- Sapir has a longish discussion trying to define exactly what an "inflective language" is, and he kind of ends up discarding it (or saving it for later) and preferring the term fusional.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:26, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
- "To return to inflection. An inflective language like Latin or Greek uses the method of fusion, and this fusion has an inner psychological as well as an outer phonetic meaning. But it is not enough that the fusion operate merely in the sphere of derivational concepts (group II), 17 it must involve the syntactic relations, which may
A useful article if you already know what an inflective language is?
The first paragraph is probably intelligible to a linguist, or someone with a deep interest in language. However, it is not even remotely accessible to a general audience.
either be expressed in unalloyed form (group IV) or, as in Latin and Greek, as “concrete relational concepts” (group III). 18 As far as Latin and Greek are concerned, their inflection consists essentially of the fusing of elements that express logically impure relational concepts with radical elements and with elements expressing derivational concepts. Both fusion as a general method and the expression of relational concepts in the word are necessary to the notion of “inflection.”
- But to have thus defined inflection is to doubt the value of the term as descriptive of a major class. Why emphasize both a technique and a particular content at one and the same time? Surely we should be clear in our minds as to whether we set more store by one or the other. “Fusional” and “symbolic” contrast with “agglutinative,” which is not on a par with “inflective” at all. What are we to do with the fusional and symbolic languages that do not express relational concepts in the word but leave them to the sentence? And are we not to distinguish between agglutinative languages that express these same concepts in the word—in so far inflective-like—and those that do not? We dismissed the scale: analytic, synthetic, polysynthetic, as too merely quantitative for our purpose. Isolating, affixing, symbolic—this also seemed insufficient for the reason that it laid too much stress on technical externals. Isolating, agglutinative, fusional, and symbolic is a preferable scheme, but still skirts the external. We shall do best, it seems to me, to hold to “inflective” as a valuable suggestion for a broader and more consistently developed scheme, as a hint for a classification based on the nature of the concepts expressed by the language. The other two classifications, the first based on degree of synthesis, the second on degree of fusion, may be retained as intercrossing schemes that give us the opportunity to subdivide our main conceptual types."(Sapir, Language 1921)
The examples of fusional Indo-European languages explicitly excludes Bulgarian. This is incorrect. Bulgarian has lost most of the Proto-Slavic declension, but plurals are still formed in a variety of ways while the remnants of the vocative case are clearly fusional. Example: vocative Kalino has the nominative ending -a from Kalina changed to -o. The masculine version of the same name is Kalin, in vocative Kaline. In addition, Bulgarian has fully retained the Proto-Slavic verb conjugation and it is as fusional as is the modern Spanish conjugation. So I am removing the exclusion statement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gazibara (talk • contribs) 08:26, 20 November 2020 (UTC)