Which Indo-European languages use possessive affixes?

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Good morning, I have been reading an article about possessive affixes in Wikipedia and it says you can find them also in Indo-European languages. Do you have any idea or any list of which Indo-European languages, I mean languages spoken with more than 1-5 million people, so not rare languages, use them? Albanian, Basque, Celtic languages, Persian, Sanskrit, etc. :confused::confused::confused::confused: but I am not a linguist, so I have no idea. I have known it is only in Uralic and Semitic languages. Thanks.
 
  • ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Curiously, two earliest attested Indo-European languages, Hittite language - Wikipedia and Luwian language - Wikipedia, have a system of possessive affixes. In Hittite it is fully developed in the old language but gets replaced by Genitive of personal pronouns and partly by separate possessive pronouns in the last centuries of the Hittite civilization. Unlike in other language families and in modern Iranic languages, the Hittite system is organized in the most Indo-European way: the fully declinable possessive affixes are added to the fully declinable forms of the nominals, e. g.:
    attas "father" (Nom. Sg.) — attasmis "my father" — attastis "your father" — attassis "his father" — attassummis "our father"…
    attan "father" (Acc. Sg.) — attanman "my father" — attantanattansanattansumman…
    atti
    "to father" (Dat. Sg.) — attimi "to my father" — attitiattisiattisummi…
    attiēs
    "fathers" (Nom. Pl.) — attiēsmis "my fathers" — attiēstesattiēssesattiēssummes…
    attus
    "fathers" (Acc. Pl.) — attusmusattustusattussusattussummus…

    The neuter nouns have special forms in the Nom./Acc.:
    ı̯ugan "yoke" — ı̯uganmet "my yoke" — ı̯ugantetı̯ugansetı̯ugansummet…
    Among modern languages an independently developed system of invariable possessive pronouns exists e. g. in Persian: Persian grammar - Wikipedia.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Greek uses possessive pronouns that are placed after the noun.
    They're written as separate words, but if there was no "space" in writing, perhaps they could be considered affixes:

    το σπίτι μου (to spiti mu) - my house, lit. "the house my"

    Albanian, Basque, Celtic languages, Persian, Sanskrit, etc.
    Basque is not an Indo-European language.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Sanskrit and Avestan also have enclitic genitive and accusative personal pronouns.
    But enclitic pronouns ≠ possessive affixes. Old Church Slavonic, for instance, also had enclitic pronouns, but those had only accusative and dative forms, thus being fundamentally unable to serve as possessive morphemes.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Greek uses possessive pronouns that are placed after the noun.
    They're written as separate words, but if there was no "space" in writing, perhaps they could be considered affixes:

    το σπίτι μου (to spiti mu) - my house, lit. "the house my"
    The same can be said, e.g. for English: "if there was no space, they could be considered affixes ("myhouse"). :)
     

    aefrizzo

    Senior Member
    italiano
    "Io, mammeta e tu" (Me, your mother and you) is an old song by Modugno, aka "Mister Volare".
    Soreta (your sister) and frateme (my brother) are currently used by Neapolitan speaking people.
    Bold=stress
     
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    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    The same can be said, e.g. for English: "if there was no space, they could be considered affixes ("myhouse"). :)
    Except that all adjectives and numerals would have to be considered affixes too ("mythreeredhouses").
    Is it possible to have intervening words between the Greek noun and the post-nominal possessive? If not, that might indicate that they should be treated as suffixes.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Is it possible to have intervening words between the Greek noun and the post-nominal possessive? If not, that might indicate that they should be treated as suffixes.
    These forms (μου, σου, του, etc. in genitive and με, σε, τε, etc. in accusative) can be used either as personal or possessive pronouns. As personal pronouns they are placed just before the verb (μου είπες -you told me) and as possessive they are placed just after the noun (σπίτι μου - my house).
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    So, not so many languages, so after all, it is only Iranian languages, Hittite and Luwian.

    Yes, that's right. What I (and probably Encolpius) really meant was a suffix.
    I mean "házam, házad, háza..."[my house, you house in HUngarian], so maybe possessive suffixes, yes.
     

    aefrizzo

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Actually I don't speak Neapolitan and hardly understand it:confused:. Nevertheless some instances (even insulting) are very popular all around Italy, but admittedly just apply to those words I quoted, relevant to the family milieu. Isn't it enough? Are possessive suffixes expected to apply to everything? Then am I wrong. But how do you explain the Neapolitan case?
    Maybe a native Neapolitan citizen could help.:)
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Spoken Romanian has similar features with Neapolitan, although they are regarded as non-literary or even vulgar (insulting) way of speech,
    used frequently in curses (preferred) or in normal sentences by the low educated people:

    mă-ta ("your mother", literary mama ta) - Nominative and Accusative cases
    mă-tii ("your mother's/to your mother", mamei tale) - Genitive and Dative
    tac-tu ("your father", tatăl tău)
    frate-miu ("my brother", fratele meu)
    soră-mea ("my sister", sora mea - separate words) - Nominative and Accusative
    soră-mii ("my sister's/to my syster", sorei mele - separate words) - Genitive and Dative

    Although they are spelled in 2 words (which is just an orthograhic convention), these words are pronounced as one.
    Such examples are restricted to the family members.
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    "Io, mammeta e tu" (Me, your mother and you) is an old song by Modugno, aka "Mister Volare".
    Soreta (your sister) and frateme (my brother) are currently used by Neapolitan speaking people.
    Bold=stress
    Spoken Romanian has similar features with Neapolitan, although they are regarded as non-literary or even vulgar (insulting) way of speech,
    used frequently in curses (preferred) or in normal sentences by the low educated people:

    mă-ta ("your mother", literary mama ta) - Nominative and Accusative cases
    mă-tii ("your mother's/to your mother", mamei tale) - Genitive and Dative
    tac-tu ("your father", tatăl tău)
    frate-miu ("my brother", fratele meu)
    soră-mea ("my sister", sora mea - separate words) - Nominative and Accusative
    soră-mii ("my sister's/to my syster", sorei mele - separate words) - Genitive and Dative

    Although they are spelled in 2 words (which is just an orthograhic convention), these words are pronounced as one.
    Such examples are restricted to the family members.
    Also in Sardinian the possessives always and exclusively go behind the subject (but not attached), it's a feature inherited by Latin.

    Mama mea/mia, tua, sua, nostra, bostra, issòro (ipsorum = their) = my, your, his/her, our, your, their
    (feminine plurals : mamas meas/mias, tuas, suas, nostras, bostras, issòro)
    Babbu meu, tou, sou, nostru, bostru, issòro = my father etc.etc.
    (masculine plurals : babbos meos/mios, tuos, suos, nostros, bostros, issòro)
    Sorre mea/mia, tua = my sister etc.etc.
    Frade meu, tou = my brother etc.etc.
    Fradile meu, tou = my cousin (male) etc.etc.
    Sorrasta mea/mia, tua = my cousin (female) etc.etc.
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    It has, but in a strange underdeveloped form.

    Some details. In Classical Armenian, there were special deictic particles indicating that an action, person or thing is regarded as being in the realm of the first, second or third person, respectively -s, -d and -n (from Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/ḱe - Wiktionary, Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/só - Wiktionary and Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₁énos - Wiktionary): e. g. ordid "son at yours" with a possessive pronoun might mean "my son that is at yours" (ordid im) and without it simply "your son". In the modern language, -s and -d rather mean possession (namaks "my letter", namakners "my letters/our letter/our letters" as it is ambiguous what exactly gets pluralized by the Plural affix -ner-) or enforce the personal reference of the subject (es usuc'ič's "I as a teacher", es ink's "I myself"), and -n has mostly become a definite article.

    See here the paradihms:
    որդի - Wiktionary
    նամակ - Wiktionary
     
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    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Interesting, I know nothing about Armenian, it would be interesting to know if there was any Turkish influence, because I think Farsi was influenced by Arabic, or do you (guys) think those atypical phenomenons are not foreign in those Indo-European languages?
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Classical Armenian is attested since the 5th century, before any Turkic or Arabian migrations to the region (although other varieties of Semitic were widespread immediately south of the Armenian plateau since long ago of course). Separate systems of personal and deictic affixes existed in the Urartian language - Wikipedia, spoken by the same population that later became known as Armenians, though the details are quite different. Both Armenian and modern Iranic obviously come from the languages imposed by invaders to the overwhelming majority of the local population, so a major substrate influence is more than probable, but the personal affixes are such a regular trait of the human speech that they easily evolve themselves (cp. the Hittite, Neapolitan and Romanian examples above).
     
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