Minhast/Diachronic Changes

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Fossil Morphemes

Remnants of Proto-Nahenic Noun Classes

Defunct Collective and Abstract Affixes

Polypersonal Agreement Anomalies

Evidence from Noun Incorporation

Gender "Straddling"

Number Discordance

Development of the Passive Voice

Impersonal Voice

Based on early Classical Minhast texts, as well as the pre-Modern Stone Speaker dialects, an additional pronominal form has been reconstructed, -ya-, which functioned as the nominative case for an indefinite third person form (c.f. English "one", French "on", Spanish "se", etc).

From Old Minhast, the reconstructed indefinite pronominal affix appears in the verb complex of *wušun- "to hit":

* Wušunyakyaharuna

Someone hit me (lit. Someone did the hitting of me)

Loss and Reanalysis

This reconstructed pronominal form merged with the accusative segment of the portmanteau pronominal affixes, triggering lenition of velars and palatalization of dentals. Eventually, the meaning of indefinite "one" was lost and the verb was re-analyzed as a stative verb, leading to the replacement of the Transitivizer -u with the Detransitivizer -an. Soon after, or perhaps even simultaneously with these developments, the Inchoative marker -saxt- surfaced, most likely due to analogy with stative verbs. The final result is a passive voice where the Inchoative is applied in semantically transitive verbs which then licenses the passive pronominal affixes, e.g.:


I got hit (lit. I became the one hit)

In those uncommon instances where an independent pronoun is used, the simple Absolutive form is used, eg. 1S.ABS yak, 2S.ABS tah, 3S.ABS kua, etc:

Yak saxtušnexaran
/yak saxtuʃ'nɛxaran/
yak saxt-ušn-ex-ar-an

I got hit (lit. I became the one hit)

Just as a patient demoted by antipassivation can be retained in the clause with a postpositional clitic, in this case the Dative clitic =aran, the demoted agent of a passivized clause can be retained with a postpositional clitic, namely the Ablative clitic =yār

Duyyār saxtušnešexaran
/du:'ja:r saxtuʃnɛ'ʃexaran/
dūy=yār saxt-ušn-eš-ex-ar-an

I got smacked by the salmon's tail.

Despite the degree of polysemy in the passive pronominal affixes, ambiguity is resolved via the S/O pivot; in fact it is the preservation of the S/O pivot that is the primary motivation for using the passive voice. The following comes from a Classical Minhast text:

Saxtimassašpuhaxxarammā, ruwwaššundekarun.
/saxtɪmassaʃpuhax:a'ram:a: ruw:aʃ:un'dɛkarun/
saxt-massap-šuhap-x-ar-an-mā ruwwas-xunde-ek-ar-un
INCH-wound-sword-1S.PASS-PST-INTR-SUBORD help-wound-1S.ACC+3S.NOM-PST-TRN

I had been wounded by (the enemy's) sword, (so) then he tended to my wounds.