Chapter published in:Similative and Equative Constructions: A cross-linguistic perspective
Edited by Yvonne Treis and Martine Vanhove
[Typological Studies in Language 117] 2017
► pp. 259–290
Similarity, equality and the like in North Saami
The paper discusses various linguistic expressions of similarity, equality and related meanings in North Saami, the major language of the westernmost branch of the Uralic language family. In addition to function-based synchronic description of similatives, equatives and functives (role phrases), the paper also discusses certain on-going language changes due to both external influences and language-internal development. Special attention is given to the use of the postposition láhkai ‘like; in the manner of’ and its development to a marker of a non-finite verb form in -nláhkai expressing not only similarity, but also purpose and at times even future events. As regards other parts of speech, it is proposed that a limited set of North Saami adjectives that refer to measurable physical properties such as size, weight, depth and strength have specialized equative forms on a par with the positive, comparative and superlative degrees. The analysis of similarity at phrase and clause levels is further extended to the derivational suffix ‑lágan that is used to turn both nouns and adjectives into ‘-like’ or ‘-ish’ adjectives and ultimately into semantically analogous ‘kind of’ or ‘-oid’ nouns.
Keywords: similatives, equatives, purposives, North Saami, Uralic
Published online: 31 May 2017
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Cited by 2 other publications
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