Patient marking on the verb (Synja Khanty)

PatNum: Transitive verbs show agreement with the patient in terms of number (e.g., singular, plural).

PatElse: Transitive verbs show agreement with the patient in terms of some other (or uncleared) grammatical criterion.

(1) ūxǝl wēr-l-ǝm.

I sledge make-prs.1sg

‘I’m carving a sledge.’ (S. O.)

(2) ūxl-em wēr-l-em.

I sledge-1sg makel-prs-obj.1sg

‘I’m carving my sledge.’ (Onina 2009: 37)

(3) ūxǝl-ŋǝn wēr-l-ǝlam.

I sledge-du make-prs-du.obj.1sg

‘I’m carving two sledges.’ (Onina 2009: 38)

(4) luw ūxl-ǝt wēr-l-ǝlam.

(s)he sledge-pl make-prs-pl.obj.1sg

‘He/she is carving sledges.’ (Onina 2009: 38)

(5) luwel ūjat-l-em.

I (s)he.acc know-prs.-obj.1sg

‘I know him/her.’ (S. O.)

(6) lijlal ūjat-l-ǝlam.

I they.acc know-prs-pl.obj.1sg

‘I know them.’ (S. O.)

In Synja Khanty, there are determinate and indeterminate verb conjugations (Onina 2009, Nikolaeva 1999a, 1999c, Rédei 1965: 54‒70, Honti 1984, Sz. Kispál ‒ F. Mészáros 1980: 34‒44). The determinate conjugation reflects the number (singular, dual, plural) of the object (S. O.). The verbal suffixes, which require dual and plural objects, are homonymous. If the verb form is in the third person singular, the same form (-ǝli, -li) is used irrespective of the number of the object. According to Dalrymple & Nikolaeva (2011: 142‒150) and Nikolaeva (1999a: 64‒76), the use of the determinate conjugation is motivated partly by the information structure, partly by grammatical reasons. The determinate conjugation is not determined by the definiteness of the object but by its topicality: objects in a non-topical function require the indeterminate conjugation, while objects in the topic position are used with determinate verb forms. If the determinate conjugation is used, the object is often covert in the sentence (Nikolaeva 1999c). If the object is expressed by a personal pronoun, the determinate verb form is obligatory. The topic requires further research.


Nikolett F. Gulyás