Agent and patient marking (Northern Mansi)

APmkNon:The language has no strategies to distinguish agent and patient. 

APmk=Case: The agent and patient are marked through the use of case marking alignment.

(1) āmp χājtyγti.

dog run_around.prs.3sg

‘The dog is running around.’ (S. D.)

(2) āmp sāli kinsi.

dog reindeer look_for.prs.3sg

‘The dog is looking for the reindeer.’ (S. D.)

(3) āmp sāli-t kinsi-jane.

dog reindeer-pl look_for- prs.obj.3sg

‘The dog is looking for the reindeers.’ (S. D.)

(4) taw χājtyγti.

he/she run_around.prs.3sg

‘He/she is running around.’ (S. D.)

(5) taw taj kinsi.

he/she that.acc look_for.prs.3sg

‘He/she is looking for that.’ (S. D.)

(6) taw taj kinsi-te.

he/she that.acc look_for-prs.obj.3sg

‘He/she is looking for that.’ (S. D.)

(7) pūt am wār-ēγ-um

food I make-prs-1sg

‘I am the one who makes the food’ (Rombandeeva 1979: 123)

Nouns do not have accusative forms in Northern Mansi, thus the agent and the patient is morphologically unmarked (1), (2), (3). The verb (depending on the properties of the object) can be both in subjective (1) (2), and objective (3) conjugation. In the objective conjugation, the verb form agrees with the person and number of the subject, however, it only specifies the number of the object (3), which nevertheless means that the verb form differentiates between these functions. As the examples (2) as compared to (5) and (3) as compared to (6) show, personal pronouns do have (suppletive) accusative forms (Rombandeeva 1979). Although the default word order is SOV, it is not fixed, which means that sometimes the agent and the patient of the sentence cannot be identified without knowing the context.


Szilvia Németh