A Grammar of Creek (Muskogee)

By Jack B. Martin; Margaret McKane Mauldin et al. | Go to book overview

37 Case and switch-reference markers

Two suffixes -(i)t and -(i)n appear at the ends of many noun phrases and clauses in Creek. On noun phrases, -(i)t and -(i)n mark subjects and nonsubjects, respectively:

On clauses, -(i)t and -(i)n are a mark of subordination, used for chained, adverbial, or complement clauses:

In (2a), -(i)t is used because the subject of that clause is the same as the following clause; -(i)n is used at the end of the first clause in (2b) to signal a change in subject between clauses. In this use, -(i)t and -(i)n function as switch-reference markers (Jacobsen 1967; Haiman and Munro 1983; Stirling 1993), with -(i)t indicating same subject and -(i)n indicating a switch to a different subject.

A difficult analytical problem is deciding whether these two basic uses—case marking and switch reference—are unified or distinct. From the data presented in (1)–(2), it would seem that -(i)t is associated with marking and maintaining subjects (i.e., marking the default topic of conversation), while -(i)n is associated with marking and shifting to nonsubjects. Some linguists working on related languages treat the two uses separately; others treat all uses as connected.1 Case marking and switch reference are treated together

1 H. Hardy and Davis (1988) treat the switch-reference function and the case marking functions of the Alabama cognates -t and -n as specific instantiations of a more abstract meaning: for them, the meaning of -t is ‘central’ or ‘nuclear’, while -n is ‘peripheral’. Kimball (1991:225) states that the Koasati suffixes “have become distinct from their distinctive uses.” It is sometimes helpful in Creek to treat the case marking and switch-reference functions as related, but separating the two functions often makes the description more concrete.

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A Grammar of Creek (Muskogee)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xv
  • Foreword xix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Abbreviations and Conventions xxiii
  • The Language and Its Speakers 1
  • 1- Creek and the Creek-Speaking Peoples 3
  • 2- Overview of the Language 21
  • 3- Creek Dialects and Ways of Speaking 38
  • Phonology 45
  • 4- Phonemes 47
  • 5- General Phonological Processes 62
  • 6- The Organization of Phonemes into - Higher Units 70
  • 7- Stress and Tone in Nouns 75
  • 8- Stress, Tone, and Grades in Verbs 83
  • 9- Orthography 101
  • Nouns and Their Modifiers 105
  • 10- Nominalization 107
  • 11- Compounding 114
  • 12- Plural Nouns 127
  • 13- Size 131
  • 14- Possession 133
  • 15- Pronouns 142
  • 16- Postpositions 147
  • 17- Noun Forms with Adverbial Function 149
  • 18- Adjectival Nouns (Quantifiers) 151
  • Verbs and Their Modifiers 153
  • 19- Locative Prefixes 155
  • 20- Agreement 168
  • 21- Reflexives and Reciprocals 179
  • 22- Adding Objects- Dative and Instrumental 183
  • 23- Plural Verbs 197
  • 24- Voice Alternations- Middle -K-, Causative -IC- And -Ipeyc- 214
  • 25- Impersonals 228
  • 26- Degree 233
  • 27- Verb Forms with Adverbial Function 238
  • 28- Aspect 241
  • 29- Expressing Time- Tense and Related Notions 257
  • 30- Negation 281
  • 31- Mood 284
  • 32- ‘Be’, Auxiliaries, and Modality 298
  • 33- Numbers and Quantifiers 313
  • 34- Describing Motion and Direction 323
  • 35- Existence 328
  • 36- Sound-Symbolic Verbs 333
  • Discourse Markers 335
  • 37- Case and Switch-Reference Markers 337
  • 38- Focus of Attention Clitic 357
  • 39- Referential Clitic 360
  • 40- Other Markers 364
  • Syntax 369
  • 41- Word Order and Basic Syntax 371
  • 42- Clause Types 387
  • 43- Interpreting Pronouns, Reflexives, and Reciprocals 407
  • 44- Style 416
  • Appendices 421
  • Appendix 1 - Paradigms 423
  • Appendix 2 - Texts 436
  • Appendix 3 - List of Common Affixes 445
  • References 455
  • Index 469
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