Distributive and collective aspect in Kalaallisut

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Abstract: In West Greenlandic, there are about 50 to 60 derivational aspectual affixes. The aspectual affixes are divided into phasal and quantificational aspect. While the phasal aspectual affixes indicate the (im)perfective situations, the quantificational aspectual affixes indicate semelfactive, repetition, habitual, continual and distributive/collective situations. The phasal aspectual affixes are further divided into “inner” phasal aspectual affixes with a verb-modifying function and scope over the verb stem, and “outer” phasal aspectual affixes with a sentencemodifying function and scope over the sentence. Most of the quantitative aspectual affixes have a verb-modifying function, and amount to about 33 affixes. Among the quantitative aspectual affixes about eleven affixes contains distributional/collective meaning. The distributional/collective affixes indicate the plurality of the first and /or the second argument of the verb. Four affixes –a, -kaa, -rrat(i)/ -t(i) seem to have the same meaning ‘several do’. Here the plurality is indicated by several agents of the verb. The affixes –gar/-rar seem to indicate that the agents do one thing successively. The other affixes seem to indicate plurality in the first (agent) and/ or the second argument (patient), and these are –jortor and –jorar with the meaning ‘one after another’, -(r)sor and –ussor with the meaning ‘bit by bit / one by one’ and –ter and –titer with the meaning ‘one group by one group’ and with the meaning ‘. It seems that some of the affixes have very small semantic differences. Several affixes seem to have more than one meaning – a concrete meaning and an aspectual meaning. In this paper I shall give examples on how to differentiate between the distributive/ collective aspectual affixes.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number38
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Questions de sémantique inuit = Topics in Inuit semantics

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