10 Aug 2008

Genitival Misanalysis

I've been flipflopping in terminology, not knowing whether to call this rule Nominative Misanalysis or Genitival Misanalysis. I think I'll stick with the latter since this also affects inanimate thematic stems which don't have a nominative case seperate from the accusative. This rule involves the faulty segmentation of stem-final *-s and *-m that I believe had happened in a stage of Late IE. This rule helps explain the origin of the declensional system of thematic adjectives which curiously use *-s in the animate nominative singular but *-m in the inanimate nomino-accusative (n.b. Latin masculine bonus vs. neuter bonum). I've traced this odd quirk to the genitive endings *-ós and *-óm, the latter of which probably had originally been used for a seperate case altogether (perhaps once meaning “amongst” or “amidst”) which later acquired a collective nuance (hence its use in inanimates) and then finally a plural sense (hence the ending being used in animate genitive plurals).

At any rate, today I've updated my pdf entitled Diachrony of Pre-IE with more elaboration on the sections in the Late IE period labelled Genitival Misanalysis (formerly Nominative Misanalysis), Development of Adjectival Case System, Acrostatic Regularization and Agglutination of New Thematic Genitive Marker.

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All of this for your intellectual pleasure. Enjoy!


  1. What is "genitival"? How's it different from "genitive"?

  2. Genitive is the name of the Proto-Indo-European case that conveys possession or origin. Genitival on the other hand means "of or relating to the genitive case". The misanalysis I'm suggesting affects genitival constructs (i.e. words derived by way of genitive case markers, such as Pre-IE adjectives).

    I suppose that in the end either word will do but I'm not suggesting that all genitives are misanalysed. Only genitival derivatives. Got it? Well whatever, just nod your head and humour me. :)