Nominal Morphology

Noun inflection in Elamite has suffixes distinguishing animacy, number (singular vs. plural), and most notably what grammarians have labeled gender. This last category marks agreement between subject and verb, and between elements of possessive constructions and subordinate clauses (Stolper pg. 60). The markers are distinguished according to whether the form they modify refers to the speaker (called the locutive case), addressee (the allocutive), or the third person (the delocutive). Distinctions are also made for number and animacy in the last instance. These suffixes are

Person Suffix
1 sg. -k
2 sg. -t
3 sg. anim. -Ø,-r
3 pl. anim. -p
3 inan. -Ø, -me, -n, -t

Elamite forms possessive constructions similar to Sumerian. However the genitive marker is determined by the gender of the possessor. E.g. in the phrase sunki-k GN-k(a) "I, the king of GN", the rectum of the construction is marked with the first person suffix -k since the possessor, sunki, is in the locutive case. Similarly in the phrase szak-Ø PN-r(i) "(he) son of PN" the rectum is marked with the delocutive since that is also the case of the possessor. When modifying whole phrases or nouns in apposition, these suffixes obligatorily appear at the end of the phrase or the final word, but they may optionally appear after preceding constituents as well. For example [PN meni]-r [GN ak GN2]-r(i) "(he) PN, the ruler(?) of GN and GN2" (Stolper pg. 61), but szak hanik PN-r(i) ak PN2-r(i) "beloved son of PN and PN2" (ibid).

The third person inanimate suffix -me can also be interpreted as an abstraction suffix when attached to an animate noun. Thus sunki "king" → sinki-me "kingship".


Person Nominative Accusative Person Nominative Accusative
1 sg. u un 1 pl. nika/nuku nukun
2 sg. nu nun 2 pl. num(i) numun
3 sg. anim. (h)i in/ir 3 pl. ap/ap(p)i ap(p)in
3 sg. inan. i(n) i(n)

(See Stolper 2008 pg. 62, Reiner, 1969 pg. 76)


As in Sumerian, Elamite adjectives do not form a distinct morphological class. Rather, they behave like nouns in the rectum of a genitive construction, taking gender suffixes appropriate to the noun they modify. E.g. temti risza-r 'great lord'. Comparatives and superlatives are expressed via genitive constructions, e.g. risza-r napi-p-r(a) 'greatest of the gods'.

nominal_morphology.txt · Last modified: 2010/04/17 02:14 by ong
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