Santa affixes in Chinese of Línxìa/Hézōu


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are mainly from Li (1984). Hézōu (Dwyer 1992) is the older name for the city and province (Dwyer 1992: 161; Lee‑Smith 1996a: 366). There seem to be two ethnic groups living there, speaking different dialects, the Hàn and the Huí, who are Muslims (Li 1984: 320).


1 case marker (out of a total of 4 case markers in Chinese spoken in Línxìa/Hézōu)

‑lɑ ‘comitative case’, e.g. ɑmɑ‑lɑ ‘with mother’, tɑmən‑lɑ ‘with them’ (examples from Li 1984: 314). Note that Li (1984: 312–315) clearly states that the four case markers are suffixes, and they are written with a hyphen, e.g. ‑la, even though they are called “postposition” in Dwyer’s (1992) description. The comitative case suffix is used primarily by Hàn people in Línxìa, according to Dwyer (1992: 169), and borrowed from Monguor, Santa, and/or Easter Yugur (Mongolic) according to Dwyer (1992). Li (1984: 314) describes “comitative case suffix /lɑ/”, identifying it with a corresponding Santa (Mongolic) form, although he hypothesizes, based on ethnographic facts, that Mongolic influence on Línxìa/Hézōu is substratum influence, not borrowing. Lee‑Smith (1996: 868) gives a Turkic etymology for this marker.


Lee‑Smith (1996: 868) also gives a Turkic etymology for the object marker xa and a mixed Turkic/Tibetan etymology for the case marker glossed as “to/until”. I follow Dwyer’s and (1992) Li’s (1984) analysis, which is based on much more careful argumentation, and not addressed by Lee‑Smith (1996). Note also that according to Slater (2003: 329) it often “becomes impossible to trace the precise historical path of any given linguistic feature [in China’s Qinghai‑Gansu Sprachbund]”.