Modern Uyghur Grammar: Morphology

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Some languages under strong foreign influence have a few copied prefixes, e. The originals of loanwords often represent morphological processes alien to Turkic, prefixation, ablaut, metatheses, etc. One Arabic root may be represented by various forms, e. Such processes are unproductive in the Turkic languages that incorporate the loanwords in question. Copies of Arabic plurals with internal inflection are sometimes used as singulars and provided with Turkic plural suffixes, e.

It is a typical feature of Turkic to use morphological devices economically and avoid redundance. There are few cases of agreement. Third-person singular forms are often unmarked and the singular is used after cardinals, and certain suffixes such as number, case, possessive and copula markers may be shared by several syntactically parallel segments and only attached to the last of them, e. The order of suffixes is subject to rigid rules. Suffixes form distributional classes according to their ability to occupy relative positions within the word, that is their relative distance to the primary stem.

Suffixes modifying the primary stem directly are closest to it, which means that derivational suffixes precede inflectional ones. Each added suffix tends to modify the whole preceding stem, e. Suffixes must be distinguished from enclitic particles, which are free unaccentable units. They include postpositions, relators of other kinds, modal items, etc.

Enclitics are similar to suffixes in that they are often subject to assimilatory processes such as sound harmony, e. Note that some free enclitic markers have suffixes of the unaccentable type as variants, e.

Verbal and nominal stems are sharply distinguished, homonymous stems such as English face being extremely few, e. All stems, whether primary or secondary, can be used as free forms. From verbal and nominal stems, expanded verbal or nominal stems are formed. Since nominal stems take on denominal suffixes, and verbal stems take on deverbal suffixes, there are four possibilities of derivation: denominal nominal stems, e.

The last two devices should be compared with the possibilities of analytical derivation of verbal stems. Similarly, a converb and a form of a second verb may form verbal phrases with strong semantic fusion, e. For postverb constructions, see p. There are also combinations of thematic stems see p. The main word classes of Turkic languages are nominals and verbals.

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This division is not identical with the classification into nominal and verbal stems, since verbals may also be nominal stems. Nominals comprise nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals. The remaining parts of speech will be referred to as indeclinables. Many languages use this device rather infrequently, e.

Turkic lacks definite articles, though demonstrative pronouns may sometimes seem to be used in a similar way. Grammatical gender is also absent and thus cannot constitute an agreement factor. Even morphologically marked feminine lexical items are lacking, except a few derived with copied foreign suffixes, e. Nouns may contain plural, possessive and case suffixes.

Their order and combinability is basically common to all Turkic languages, though in Chuvash possessive suffixes precede the plural suffix. Examples of inflectional paradigms are given in the individual chapters of the present volume. The plural suffix is generally - lAr or - LAr , e. Unmarked forms, e. Possessive suffixes typically express possession and correspond in function to English possessive pronouns. The first- and second-person plural forms contain a plural element - Iz. Headless genitives are created with suffixes of the type - KI , e.

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The nominative is suffixless, identical with the bare stem. There are many deviations from this scheme, e. Many case suffixes correspond in function to English prepositions. The core cases do not signal very specific relations, but have rather wide functional areas. The genitive, the accusative, and partly the dative fulfil abstract-relational functions.

The markers of this group are mostly unaccentable. Some of them are rather like postpositions, since they govern primary cases. Many similar suffixes, including several Old Turkic ones commonly regarded as case markers, are unproductive and are only present in adverbial relicts. Adjectives are not clearly distinguished from nouns in morphological respect. However, some suffixes primarily form adjectives, e. Turkish - lI , which is only attached to nouns.

Adjective phrases are formed from adverbial locative phrases with suffixes of the type - GI or - kI , e. Under foreign influence, some languages may mark adjectives with special copied suffixes, e. The adjective in comparative constructions see pp. Intensive forms may be formed from adjectives and adverbs with a preposed reduplication of the first syllable.

Between the reduplication and the stem, an m, p, r or s is inserted, replacing a possible syllable-final consonant, e.

Personal and demonstrative pronouns form a morphologically distinct nominal subclass. They often exhibit oblique stems that differ from their nominative stems, whereas most other pronouns are inflected like nouns. Gender distinctions are lacking, e. As for personal pronouns, plural forms, with corresponding predicative forms, are often used for polite address. Reflexive pronuns can sometimes be used as more polite third-person personal pronouns, e. As a rule, however, Turkic languages do not display very elaborate honorific systems.

Demonstratives mostly distinguish several deictic types for which features such as choice, distance and visibility seem to be relevant. Most Turkic languages have at least three-way systems, e. There are corresponding series of demonstrative nominals and adverbs, e. Possessive pronouns are formally genitives of personal and demonstrative pronouns. They are often, but not always, used for emphasis, e. Especially in spoken varieties, a free possessive pronoun may also be followed by a noun without a possessive suffix, e.

Independent forms are created with suffixes of the type - kI , e. There are also corresponding interrogative, reflexive and other pronouns, e. Modern Turkic languages normally have lexical cardinal numerals for the units one to nine, for the tens ten to ninety, for hundred, for thousand, etc. In the third person, there is mostly no personal marker as a copula, e.

The verbal morphology is complex, comprising productive markers of actionality, voice, possibility, negation, aspect, mood, tense, person, interrogation, etc. Long derived stems can thus be produced, e. As regards actionality German Aktionsart , any verb al phrase has a natural actional content with respect to phase structure. Transformatives imply an inherent crucial limit, a natural turning point, with the attainment of which a transformation takes place, e.

They comprise two subclasses: fini-transformatives , in which the end of the action is the crucial limit, e. Non-transformatives do not imply any inherent crucial point, e. Actionality suffixes, modifying the action expressed by the verb stem, include markers of intensity, frequentativity, etc.

Simple suffixes of this type are weakly represented in modern languages. Analytical methods of derivation are more strongly developed. As already noted, a converb of a lexical verb and a second auxiliary verb may form a verbal phrase with strong semantic fusion. Such phrases have a common actancy pattern, and insertion of elements between the two verb forms is heavily restricted.

The second verb — mostly with lost lexical meaning and generalised grammatical meaning — may contribute to describing the action in a more accurate manner, e. There is sometimes fusion of the two verbs, e. Voice is expressed by passive, reflexive-middle, causative and cooperative—reciprocal suffixes, which modify the meaning of the preceding verbal stem and affect its actancy pattern by changing the syntactic roles of actants. The most common passive suffix is - V l , e. Suffixes of the type - V n often express the middle voice, e. Note that these suffixes are used to express plurality in Kirghiz verb paradigms, e.

Most of them have developed into suffixes, e. The verbal negation suffix is - MA etc. Verbal predicates, whether finite or non-finite, are marked with thematic suffixes expressing aspect, mood and tense. Certain verb forms may occur both as finite and as non-finite items.

It is important to note that they do not have identical meanings in these different syntactic functions. This has often been ignored by grammarians.

Finite items constitute independent sentences and express various aspectual and modal perspectives relative to given temporal orientation points, notably the moment of speaking. Conjugated verb forms minimally consist of a verbal stem and a thematic suffix that signals such a perspective. Though most of them are morphologically nominal stems, e.

As mentioned, however, their finite functions differ from their non-finite ones. The number of simple and compound aspect—mood—tense forms is relatively high, and their designations are not standardised in the grammatical literature. Modern languages exhibit numerous past tenses, mostly more than one present tense, but seldom genuine future items. Turkic languages make use of a number of aspect or viewpoint markers, which offer different ways of envisaging events with respect to their limits, that is their beginning and their end: intraterminals, post-terminals and simple terminals. Most languages exhibit rather elaborate aspecto-temporal systems.

Intraterminals, Post-terminals, Terminals With intraterminal items such as presents and imperfects , the event is envisaged within its limits, that is after its beginning and before its end. Some are more focal, putting a narrower focus on what is currently going on at the orientation point, sometimes in the sense of English progressives, e. Less focal items are used for events seen as ongoing within a broader period of time, for protracted, habitual or general events, e. Several languages also have special habitual past forms, e.

With post-terminal items such as perfects , the event is envisaged after its relevant limit, i. The relevant limit varies according to the actional content see p. More focal items, with a narrow focus on the orientation point, are stative or resultative, e. Less focal items are similar to English perfects, signalling the current relevance of a past event, e. There are also corresponding pluperfects, indicating a post-terminal aspect in the past, e. Imperatives exhibit different forms functioning at various levels of politeness.

Optatives express voluntative modality and often occur in purpose clauses. Optatives have close connections with imperatives and conditionals, sometimes occurring in similar functions. There are also more clear-cut prospectives or future items, e. Most Turkic languages have special presumptive verb forms, e. Indirective Forms Turkic languages also possess indirective categories, certain kinds of evidential items used to qualify the experience of the event spoken about. Indirective statements concern the conclusion regarding an event and thus do not present the event itself in a direct way.

The expression of this epistemic modification varies across languages. The dominant type of first- and second-person markers is the one used after nominal predicates see p. Certain thematic stems, notably the simple past, take on accentable suffixes of the possessive type, e. Turkic is rich in non-finite predicative forms based on action nouns, participles and converbs. The corresponding suffixes function as thematic markers and serve to non-finitise verbal stems. Some of them take on personal markers. Action Nouns Action nouns refer to actions and are used to construct complement clauses, e.

After nominal stems, corresponding copulative markers are used, e. These markers also carry possessive suffixes, e. Participles Participles refer to entities participating in actions, and can be used as attributes or without a head. They are often identical in form with action nouns. Some of these intraterminal participles are less focal, e. There are also participles with post-terminal or terminal meaning perfect participles , e. One type of participle denotes events that have not yet taken place participium nondum facti, i. Active participles, e. Converbs Converbs are adverbial forms of the verb signalling various semantic relations to the content of the superordinate clause.

A few converb markers are simple, morphologically unanalysable, e. More elaborate forms are based on verbal nouns and mostly marked with adverbial cases such as locative, dative, ablative, instrumental, equative or with postpositions. Some converbs lack a clear one-to-one relationship of affirmative and negative forms. Converbs in - y V tend to occur in pairs, e.

Conditionals may sometimes occur in finite functions.


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Action nouns and participles generally take on personal suffixes of the possessive type, e. Most simple converbs do not carry personal suffixes, but in Yakut they generally conjugate for person and number, e. More elaborate converb endings often contain personal markers, e.

The simple conditional mostly takes on accentable personal suffixes of the possessive type, e. The indeclinable word classes include adverbs, postpositions, copula particles, interjections and conjunctions or similar relators signalling connections between the parts of a sentence. Adverbs do not constitute morphologically well-defined categories in modern Turkic languages, e. Many of them are fossilised case forms such as old directives or instrumentais, old participles and converbs, or forms of unknown origin, e.

Certain Turkic languages make frequent use of converb forms as adverbs, e. Turkic has rich systems of adpositions, grammatical relators which differentiate the relational concepts expressed by the cases. They are free word forms and, according to the left-branching syntax, postpositions. Some are homonymous with adverbs, e. Some go back to converbs, e. Many of them govern cases, e. Some govern the genitive of personal and demonstrative pronouns, e.

One kind of postposition clearly goes back to nouns, notably space nouns nomina loci , provided with possessive and case suffixes, e. The possessive suffix may refer to a preceding noun phrase in the genitive or the nominative, e. Turkic languages have few conjunctions. Turkic clauses are embedded by means of suffixed subordinative elements, non-finite predicative markers, referred to here as subjunctors pp. The use of free subordinative items, conjunctions and relative pronouns is thus untypical.

Where such items do occur, they are homonymous with interrogatives, e. Many items referred to as conjunctions in the literature are in reality conjunctional adverbs, referred to here as adjunctors, e. Since Turkic syntax is basically head-final or left-branching, i. In languages that use the numeral bir as an indefinite article, the latter tends to stand next to the head, e. There is no agreement in number or case between dependents and heads. A second type, in which the attribute has predicative force, i.

The attributive use of adverbials is limited, e. Some adverbial expressions can be used attributively with the addition of the - ki , e. In Yakut, which lacks a genitive suffix, the attribute is in the nominative, e. If the head is an action noun, e. Genitive constructions with headless adjectives may be used to express superlativity, e. A possessive suffix expressing personal possession replaces the third-person suffix, e.

Unlike in the genitive construction, no element can be inserted between the nouns. Numerous cases of absence of the possessive suffix, notably in nominative forms of the compound, are observed in older and modern languages, e.

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There is also a similar neologistic Turkish compound type, e. The attribute often refers to materials, e. The attribute may also be a participle with predicative force, that is the basis of a relative clause, e. In this case, two parallel nouns with similar meanings form a synonym compound, hendiadys, e. This type often includes alliteration and rhyme formations, e. Sometimes only one of the elements has a lexical meaning, e. Due to the head-final structure, adverbials precede their head in the adjective phrase, e.

Adjectives may also be used as heads of nominal phrases, e. In older languages and some modern Siberian languages, adjectives may serve as abstracts denoting qualities, e. In addition to its normal possessive function, a third-person singular possessive suffix may refer to a known entity or, anaphorically, to something preceding it in the discourse, e. This limited function does not make it a definite article in the proper sense. Third-person singular possessive suffixes can also have adverbialising functions, e. Plural suffixes mostly signal individual plurality, e.

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The E-mail Address es field is required. Please enter recipient e-mail address es. The E-mail Address es you entered is are not in a valid format. Please re-enter recipient e-mail address es. You may send this item to up to five recipients. The name field is required. Uyghur is closely related to Uzbek. The Uyghurs stemmed from Mongolia to found in a Central Asian empire. Defeated in the following century by the Kyrgyz, they dispersed in several directions. Some were assimilated, some settled in the Gansu corridor the ancestors of the Yellow Uyghurs while the majority withdrew to the Turfan oasis in the northern Silk Road where they established the kingdom of Kocho which encompassed most of the Tarim basin.

Later, this region passed through many hands until it was incorporated into China as the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang where the Uyghurs still live. Their language is typically Turkic, with agglutinative morphology based on suffixes, verb-final syntax and vowel harmony. The vast majority of Uyghurs live in the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang of western China as well as in neighboring eastern Kazakhstan.

Much smaller minorities reside in other Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. A few Uyghurs still live in Mongolia their original homeland while others have migrated to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and the West. Uyghur is spoken as a native language by about Uyghur is, along with Chinese, the official language of the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in western China, though university education is only possible in Chinese.

It is employed in the area as a lingua franca by minorities. Uyghur has considerable dialectal variation because the main cities of Xinjiang are, in fact, oasis separated by vast expanses of desert with until recently poor communications between them. The classification of the Uyghur dialects is disputed; they are generally divided in three groups:.

A southern group includes the dialects of the area of Khotan. An eastern group includes Lopnur spoken in the eastern Tarim basin. One dialect, Ili or Taranchi, prevails in the Ili river basin in Kazakhstan and is also spoken in other Central Asian countries. Standard Uyghur is based on the dialect of Urumchi, the capital of the region of Xinjiang. However, in language books they are distinguished in transliteration as shown in the table.

The symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet are shown between brackets. Vowel harmony. It governs the distribution of vowels within a word opposing front versus back vowels. In the first syllable of a word all vowels can occur. If it is a front vowel all the subsequent vowels must be also of the front type.

If it is a back vowel all the other vowels must be also of the back type. Thus, all the vowels of a word belong to the same class back or front and the vowels of suffixes vary according to the class of vowels in the primary stem. The harmony based on roundness, typical of most Turkic languages, is observed in certain dialects of Uyghur but in the standard language it is only limited to some suffixes.

The mid-vowel [e] does not participate in vowel harmony. When the velar voiceless stop is accompanied by back vowels it is realized as [q], when it is accompanied by front vowels it is realized as [k]. When the velar voiced stop is accompanied by back vowels it is realized as [G], when it is accompanied by front vowels it is realized as [g]. Stress : it falls usually on the last syllable.