1. Introduction

1.1 Limitative form

1.2 Quantifiers

1.3 Evaluatives

1.3.1 Augmentative

1.3.2 Augmentative pejorative

1.3.3 Diminutive

1.3.4 Derivatives of evaluatives

2. Denominal derivation

2.1 Suffixes

2.2 Prefixes

3. Deverbal nominals

4. Noun formation from multiple categories of base

5. Compounding

6. Conversion

7. Summary of noun affixation

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1. Introduction

This chapter discusses the wealth of noun forming derivational morphology. (See also the discussion in Beard, 1995). Not dealt with here is the Negative form of nouns discussed in chapter eight.

Of interest are the quantificational prefixes which act somewhat like D-type quantifiers (see sections 1.1, 1.2). In addition, a number of affixes take nominal or adjectival bases, and a few take nouns, adjectives and verbs as bases. There is also an interesting comparison to be drawn between affixation and conversion (section 6.)

1.1 Limitative form

Skorik (I:291f) identifies a 'category of restriction' which is essentially the prefix em-/am- meaning 'only'.

titi-t 'needles' em-titit 'just needles'

Essentially the same as the verbal prefix (chapter nine xxx)

Appears with any case form:


jep am-˝otqena-r-gypy gekwetlinet


still ONLY-these-ABL they.went


'They only left these (people)'


ynpynacgyn nynny˝yttyqin em-kupre-te ONLY-net-INSTR


'The old man uses only a net to catch fish with'

Noun can inflect for person/number:


ynky (em-mikynti?) em-mutcynti nynymytwaqenat


there (only-who.PL) only-Mutchiny.PL live


'Only the Mutchiny family live there'


em-mik-y-muri igyr myt-r-oon?-y-nta-g?a


ONLY-who-1pl today 1pl-FUT-berry-set.out-1pl


'It is only which of us who will go berry picking today?'

Strengthened with te˝-/ta˝-: te˝-em-˝inqegti 'the boys exclusively'

Prefix pyc- strengthens force of 'only':


pyc-em-˝ewysqetti jarak pelatg?at


EMPH-ONLY-women at.home stayed


'After all, only the women stayed at home' (Skorik translates pyc- as 'ved' tol'ko')



em-e-˝inqej-ke wak


ONLY-NEG-boy-NEG being


'Because they had no boys...'

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1.2 Quantifiers

(I: 296) Universal quantifiers can be expressed as prefixes on the noun.

emqyn-/amqyn- 'each'

gemge-/gamga- 'every'

*ym- 'all' (I:325) [Cf. ymyl?o, ymyl?ety 'all']


muryk amqyn-˝awysqat-ety gejytlin wa˝ena˝


us.LOC EACH-woman-ALL they.gave sewing.machine


'They gave a sewing machine to each of our women'


igyr gemge-˝ewysqet-y-k warkyn wa˝ena˝


today EVERY-woman-LOC is sewing.machine


'Today, every woman has a sewing machine'


ym-gewe˝et 'all year', ym-˝alwyl 'the whole herd', ym-omokatgyrgyn 'the whole meeting'


Note gamga-qora-k 'at all the reindeer', gemge-nymyk 'in all the villages' vs. *amqy-qora-k, *amqy-nymyk.

[NB. Bogoraz's dictionary includes a prefix imy- with the meaning 'each, any' [Rus.: 'kazhdyj, vsjakij'. Ex.:


imy-r?ynut (r?enut?)

'whatever' ['chto ugodno']


emy-notajpy tylejwyg?ek

I travelled through every country'

This prefix doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere by Skorik. It's possible that Bogoraz has mistranslated the im- 'small' prefix given below, section 2.2.]

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1.3 Evaluatives

Evaluative morphology can be added to pretty well any type of noun (including proper nouns, substantivized pronominals, wh-words). They take predicative person/number affixes like any other noun (I:304).

1.3.1 Augmentative


wywy-j˝-yn 'big rock'; ?aacek-y-j˝-yn 'big strapping lad'; ragt-y-j˝-yn 'Ragtyn (aug.)' (proper name); raq-y-j˝-yn 'what? (aug.)', neka-j˝-yn 'whatsitname (aug.)'; ˝otqena-j˝-yn 'this (one) (aug.)'.

1.3.2 Augmentative pejorative


pojg-y-cg-yn 'spear'; ytlywjo-cg-yn 'grandson'; r?anota-cg-yk qaca 'near what?'; neka-cg-yn 'whatitsname'; mekyna-cg-ynte 'who (pl.)?';

1.3.3 Diminutive


˝ilg-y-qej 'little strap'; cakett-y-qaj 'little sister'; req-y-qej 'what?'

1.3.4 Derivatives of evaluatives

Person/number inflection: jelo-j˝-y-tore 'you are (my) uncles (aug.)'; qlawol-y-cg-e-gyt 'you(sg.) man (aug.-pej.)'; me˝ine-qej-i-gyt 'who are you (dim.)?'

Possessives and relative adjectives:

?aacek-y-j˝-en 'of the big strapping lad'

umk-y-qej-qin uttyt 'the trees of the little forest'


qytlygi ynky enmec uj˝e a-qapar-cy˝-y-ka


apparently here already not NEG-wolverine-AUG.PEJ-NEG


'Apparently, there are no longer any wolverines here'

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2. Denominal derivation

2.1 Suffixes

-jocg 'container'

kale-jocg-yn 'school satchel' (kelikel 'book')



part of (whole, non-articulated) object

menig-y-t?ul 'piece of material'


meat of

qora-t?ol 'venison' (qora- 'reindeer')

-lqyl 'material intended for making given object'

ewir?-y-lqyl 'material for making clothing' (ewir?yn 'clothes')

'preordained function of person'

?uwequci-lqyl 'fiancé' (?uwequc 'husband') 'one destined to become a husband'

-tkyn 'upper part, top of'

rylg-y-tkyn 'finger tip' (rylgylgyn, root rylg 'finger')

-curm 'edge'

weem-curm-yn 'river bank', a˝qa-corm-yn 'sea shore'

-tegyn 'place in front of'

umk-y-tegyn 'place in front of forest'

-jikwi 'length of geophysical feature'

a˝qa-corm-y-jekwe-n 'coastal extent, seaboard'

-gi˝ 'place at base of'

˝ej-gi˝ 'foothills' (˝ej- 'hill')

-ret 'complex of objects'

lili-ret 'pair of gloves' (lelelgyn 'glove', lili-t 'gloves'); ?ytt?y-ret 'dog team'

-cyku 'interior of'

kuke-cyku-n 'inside of cooking pot'

-lyku 'place amongst objects'

utt-y-lyku-n 'place between trees'

-nle˝/nla˝ 'place lacking ˝

iml-y-nle˝ 'place without water' (mimyl 'water', combining form iml-);

-giniw 'multitude of objects'

?ytw-y-giniw 'large number of boats'; ?aaceggenew 'crowd of young men'

-mk 'small group of objects'

?itu-mk-yn 'small flock of geese' (?it?it 'goose')

-lq 'place abounding in ˝

wykw-y-lq-yn 'rocky place'; miml-y-lq-yn 'watery place' (formed from basic form of root, not combining form, contrast with iml-y-nle˝)

-sq 'surface'

nute-sq-yn 'soil' (nute-nut 'earth, country'); miml-y-sq-yn 'water surface'

-*kw 'wrapping, container of ˝

rylg-y-kw-yn 'ring' (rylg- 'finger'); kyr-y-kw-yn 'head-scarf' (kyrwir 'hair', root kyr). Unproductive.

-ril 'complex of articulated objects'

?ytw-y-ril 'framework of boat'; ?ym-ril 'skeleton' (?ytt?ym 'bone' root ?ym)

-tku 'small number of spread out objects'

jara-tko-n 'group of houses'; gil-y-tku-n 'group of ice floes'

-qaca 'place near'

jara-qaca-n 'place near house'; gytg-y-qaca-n 'place near lake'

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2.2 Prefixes

lygi- 'genuine' (usually in the sense of 'Chukchee' as opposed to 'foreign') [productive]

lygi-ewir?-yn 'genuine-clothing-ABS' 'Chukchee clothing'

Also without 'Chukchee' nuance: lygi-kej˝yn 'real bear' (as opposed to mythological bear).

tym˝e 'simple, ordinary' [productive]

tym˝e-waly 'ordinary knife'

ewyn-/awyn- 'main, chief'

awyn-qor 'main reindeer (harnessed)' [NB. not *awynqora˝y]

ewyn-nym 'main village' (> nymnym 'village')

mel-/mal- 'supposition' [productive]

mel-umqy 'apparently, a polar bear'

This is a puzzling entry. It's given the form mil-/mel- at the beginning of the section (I:325) but all the examples show it to be mel-/mal-. Bogoraz's dictionary has mæl-/mal- (where æ indicates recessive e1). He labels it as a conjunction but desribes it as a particle taking individual clause constituents in its scope. He cites the following examples (I have retranscribed these):

(13)mel-gymnin qora˝y!



apparently-my reindeer [Rus.: 'Kak budto moj olen'']






'nothing but rocks, apparently'









From these examples it seems that mel- is a clitic (NB vowel harmony) attaching either phrase initially or word initially (depending on whether we take the focus of (xx) to be gymnin qora˝y or just gymnin).

im- 'small'

im-ynnyt 'small fry' ynnyt 'fish'

em-y-?orawetlat 'small people, dwarves'

[Note also im-y-r?enut 'any old trifle' r?enut 'what?'. Cf. Bogoraz imy- 'every' section 1.2]

qej/qaj- 'young of'

qej-?ytt?yn 'puppy'; qej-rewymrew 'partridge chick' [NB reduplication preserved after qej- prefixation]; by metaphorical extension: qej-milger 'pistol' (milger 'rifle')

ynan- 'the very' (with deadjectival nouns in -c?-, q.v.)

ynan-ta˝yc?yn 'the finest fellow', te˝-y-c?-yn 'good fellow' (te˝ 'good')

ynan-ynpyc?yn 'the oldest (man)'

pl- 'spare'

Usually occur in person-marked Comitative II (occasionally Com. I) form:

ga-pl-y-qora-ma 'with a spare reindeer'

ga-pl-y-qora-ma-j-gym 'I have a spare reindeer'

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3. Deverbal nominals


-gyrgyn see Action nominalizations

-*n(w) 'place of permanent activity'

wak?otwa-n, pl. wak?otwanwyt 'seat, place for sitting'

megceratyn, pl. megceratynwyt 'work place' (migciretyk 'to work')

Word final suffix allomorphy: usually -n (word medial -nw-), but also:

-nw: omakaty-nw-yn 'meeting place' (umeketyk 'to meet') (not *omakatyn)

-ny: wany 'place of existence' (wak 'to be') (not *wan)

May also denote time of event, e.g. omakatynw-yk 'at the meeting place'/ 'at the meeting (as event)', megceratynw-yk 'at the work place'/ 'during work'

-ine˝(e)/ena˝(a) 'instrument' [productive]

tew-ena˝ 'oar', pl. tewena˝a-t (tewyk 'to row')

Some recent coinages:

ri˝-ine˝ 'aeroplane' (ri˝ek 'fly')

inenygjiwetytkune˝ 'pointer' (inenygjiwetytkuk 'to point')

wa˝ena˝ 'sewing machine' (wa˝ek 'sew')

-icg 'object associated with action'

inenret-icg-yn 'handle' (inenretyk 'to hold')

inenejmysqew-icg-yn 'glue' (inenejmysqewyk 'to glue (to)')

Less productive than -ine˝ but still gives rise to new formations:

enanjynraw-ecg-yn 'cigarette lighter', inenwent-icg-yn 'key', enanwaj˝at-ecg-yn 'fire extinguisher', enankawraw-ecg-yn 'screwdriver' (enankawrawyk 'twist (off)'), inenmelewet-icg-yn 'medicine' (inenmelewetyk 'cure, treat'), inenty˝ew-icg-yn 'fertilizer' (inenty˝ewyk 'grow, cultivate')

-icg and -ine˝ tend to suffix different verbs, but occasionally give synonyms:

inett?-icg-yn, inett?-ine˝ 'funnel' (inett?yk 'pour')

enarkel-ecg-yn, enarkelena˝ 'paint brush' (enarkelek 'paint')

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4. Noun formation from multiple categories of base


-jan(w) 'place abounding in Noun', 'collective (animates) with property of Adj', 'place where action of Verb_of_Motion occurs'

From noun
oon?-y-jan, pl. oon?yjanwyt 'place with lots of berries' (uun?yt 'berries')

From adjective
maj˝-y-jan 'group of adults' (ny-mej˝-y-qin 'big')

kynta-jan 'group of successful people' (ny-kynte-qin 'successful, lucky'

Can be used in the plural as both noun and modifier:


kynta-janw-yt enmec pelqyntetg?et


'The successful ones have already arrived'


kynta-janw-yt ?aacekyt enmec pelqyntetg?et


'The successful youths have already arrived'

With reference to non-humans only the modifier use is possible [this suggests that the nominal use involves modification of a null head with default interpretation as 'human']

en?yjanwyt qaat 'fast reindeer', maj˝yjanwyt ynnyt 'large fish'

[It isn't clear what the difference is between maj˝yjanwyt ynnyt, nymej˝yqin(et) ynnyt and mej˝-ynnyt]

Skorik mentions interesting quantificational properties of this suffix. When quantified the noun appears in the plural:

ymyl?ety ˝enjanwyt 'all the young people'

cymqyk ˝enjanwyt 'part of the young people'

macymyl?o maj˝yjanwyt 'almost all the adults' (cf. murgin maj˝yjan 'the adults in our community')

From verb
˝yto-jan 'exit', rasqew-jan 'exit' (resqewyk), ?et-jan 'crossing' (?eryk).

Exceptional formation ew-jan 'conspiracy' (iwyk 'say')

-c? 'name of Numeral', [productive] 'result/instrument of Verb', 'person/thing with property of Adjective'

From numeral (no direct translation into English; translates the same idea as Russian edinica, trojka, sedmjorka, etc.) ynnen-y-c?-yn 'one, unity', mytly˝-y-c?-yn 'five', kylgyn-y-c?-yn 'fifteen'

From verb
ty˝e-c?-yn 'plant' (ty˝-ek 'grow')

tyke-c?-yn 'bait' (tykek 'smell')

Some recent formations from verbs which already have instrumentals in -ine˝, e.g:

tyle-c?-yn 'outboard motor' (tylek 'move') cf. tyle-ne˝ 'sail'

utku-c?-yn 'trap' (utkuk 'strike') cf. utku-ne˝ 'stick (for striking game with)'

[The trap consists of a springed armature which strikes the trapped animal.]

From adjectives
te˝-y-c?-yn 'good fellow'

[See above on ynan-]

-jolg 'result/instrument' [fairly unproductive]

wetgaw-jolg-yn 'telephone' (wetgawyk 'talk')

tyttat-jolg-yn 'stairs, staircase' (tyttettyk 'climb up')

enatret-jolg-yn 'shelf' (inetriletyk 'lay out')

jylq-y-jolg-yn 'bed' (jylqyjyl 'sleep')

e-/a-...-ki/ke 'thing without Noun, without property of Adjective, non-result of Verb' (cf. e-/a-...-ke/ka negative circumfix)

From noun
e-puc?e-ki 'sleeveless shirt/jacket' (poc?a-lgyn 'sleeve')

a-jara-ke 'homeless person' (jara-˝y 'house')

From verb
?enqet-ki 'one who does not refuse' (?enqetyk 'refuse')

e-migciret-ki 'layabout' (migciretyk 'work')

ine-piri-ki 'one who does not receive a prize' (inepirik 'receive a prize')

From adjective
a-lymal-ke 'distrustful person' (ny-lymal-qen 'trustful')

?eqeli˝-ki 'fearless person' (n-?eqeli˝-qin 'fearful')

a-caca-ke 'tasteless thing' (ny-caca-qen 'tasty')

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5. Compounding

(I:340). It isn't always easy to distinguish compounding from productive incorporation. Examples of compound noun stems:

wiil-gite-ne˝ 'mirror' (wiilwiil 'shadow', gitek 'to look', gitene˝ 'thing for looking with')

kelin˝iw 'letter' (kelikel 'paper', ty˝iwyk 'to send')

ynpy-˝ew 'old woman' (n-ynpy-qin 'old', ˝ewysqet 'woman')

rojyr?-yn 'family' (joro-˝y, root /ro/, 'inner part of house', jyr?-y-jyr 'contents')

pi˝-wytryn 'flour' (pi˝pi˝ 'ash', wytretyk 'to appear, look like')

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6. Conversion


Straight conversion - Absolutive form of noun = verb stem:

inejunret 'choice, selection' (inejunretyk 'select')

ke˝et 'bend' (ke˝etyk)

uwicwet 'game' (uwicwetyk 'play')

winret 'help' (winretyk)

tej˝et 'food' (tej˝etyk)

tergat 'weeping' (tergatyk)

gacgaw 'haste' (gacgawyk)

wetgaw 'conversation' (wetgawyk)

tatly˝ 'answer' (tatly˝yk)

Affixed conversion: Absolutive = verb stem + -n:

kyplyn 'blow' (kyplyk 'strike')

anjan 'praise' (anjak)

cimg?un 'thought' (cimg?uk)

?ej˝en 'animal cry' (?ej˝ek)

wyjenton 'exhalation' (wyjentok 'breathe out') (this is itself a compound of 'breath' and 'go out')

qiwjen 'cold' (qiwjek 'freeze')

lyga˝en 'mistake' (lyga˝ek 'be mistaken')

mitiwren 'lunch' (mitiwrek 'have lunch')

kyltyn 'sheaf, tied bundle' (kyltyk 'tie up')

Some are instrumentals or result nouns:

kupren 'net' (kuprek 'catch with a net')

ricit 'belt' (ricityk 'put a belt on')

caat 'lasso' (caatyk 'to lasso')

wiluptyn 'brand mark (on ear)' (wiluptyk 'to brand')

an˝elon 'sea wave' (anNelok 'be rough (sea)')

Evidence that this is verb-to-noun conversion: many of the converted nouns retain verb-forming suffixes:

-˝et: ele˝et 'summer' ele˝etyk 'spend summer period'

-twi: ten˝ytkun 'laughter' ten˝ytkuk 'laugh' [cf. also ten˝u ly˝yk 'make fun of']

-l?et: ilul?et 'dance' ilul?etyk 'to dance'


(I:343) Conversion generally produces concrete result or event nominals, as opposed to the action (process) nominals in -gyrgyn. E.g.:

tip?ej˝en 'song' vs. tep?aj˝agyrgyn 'singing'

wiwril?et 'vibration' vs. wewral?atgyrgyn 'vibrating'

qeet 'squeak' vs. qaatgyrgyn 'squeaking'

weqet 'step, pace' vs. wawatgyrgyn 'stepping, pacing'

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7. Summary of noun affixation

-*cg/cy˝ Augmentative pejorative

-c? 'name of Numeral'; 'result/instrument of Verb'; 'person/thing with property of Adjective'

-curm 'edge'

-cyku 'interior of'

e-/a-...-ki/ke 'thing without Noun, without property of Adjective, non-result of Verb'

em-/am- 'only'

emqyn-/amqyn- 'each'

ewyn-/awyn- 'main, chief'

gemge-/gamga- 'every'

-gi˝ 'place at base of'

-giniw 'multitude of objects'

-gyrgyn Action nominalizations

-icg 'object associated with action'

im- 'small'

-ine˝(e)/ena˝(a) 'instrument'

-jan(w) 'place abounding in Noun'; 'collective (animates) with property of Adj'; 'place where action of Verb_of_Motion occurs'

-jikwi 'length of geophysical feature'

-*j˝ Augmentative

-jocg 'container'

-jolg 'result/instrument'

-*kw 'wrapping, container of ˝

-lq 'place abounding in ˝

-lqyl 'material intended for making given object'

lygi- 'genuine'

-lyku 'place amongst objects'

mel-/mal- 'supposition'

-mk 'small group of objects'

-nle˝/nla˝ 'place lacking ˝

-*n(w) 'place of permanent activity'

pl- 'spare'

pyc- 'emphasis'

-qaca 'place near'

qej/qaj- 'young of'

-qej/qaj Diminutive

-ret 'complex of objects'

-ril 'complex of articulated objects'

-sq 'surface'

-t?ul part of (whole, non-articulated) object; meat of

-tegyn 'place in front of'

te˝-em 'absolutely only'

-tku 'small number of spread out objects'

-tkyn 'upper part, top of'

tym˝e 'simple, ordinary'

*ym- 'all'

ynan- 'the very'


A number of affixes occur with both nouns and verbs with similar meanings. These are:

em -, lygi-, mec- (cf mel-), tym˝e-, te˝-, -tku





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This page created on 11 July 1999.

Last modified 16 July 1999.