Tigre affixes in Bilin


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are from Appleyard (2007). Bilin has borrowed an entire set of object markers from Tigre: “Alone among the Agaw languages, Bilin also has a set of object suffix pronouns added to the verb. Both the construction and the form themselves are borrowed directly from Tigre even to the extent that as in Tigre the 2nd person distinguishes masculine and feminine, a contrast that is not made in Bilin elsewhere, neither in the independent pronoun nor in the subject marking of the verb” (Appleyard 2007: 491).


8 borrowed object markers

‑law ‘first singular object’

‑ka ‘second singular masculine object’

‑ki ‘second singular feminine object’

‑lu ‘third singular masculine object’

‑la ‘third singular feminine object’

‑na ‘first plural object’

‑kum ‘second plural object’

‑lom ‘third plural object’


These forms are also attested in Reinisch (1882), who did not recognize them as borrowed. Reinisch (1882: 38) also gives forms that distinguish gender in third person plural (masc. ‑lom, fem. ‑län), which does not appear in Hamde’s (1986) grammar as noted by Appleyard (2007). Hamde (1986: 33, 49–54, 93–94) gives the same forms as Appleyard (2007), without, however, a clear explanation of their function and distribution. Hamde (1986: 48–52) mentions that suffixes are borrowed from Tigre and notes that “we cannot escape the fact the Tigre is invading Bilin through such grammatical explainable aspects of the grammar” (Hamde 1986: 51), without given further details. Hamde (1986: 51–52) mentions two “prefixes and phrases” that would be borrowed from Tigre, one would be a verbal prefix (although written separately) translated as “as, that, is as” (Hamde 1986: 51), another is apparently a nominal derivational element, translated as “mismal, improper” (also written separately). Hamde (1986) dismisses both as incorrect forms. It seems both can be treated as borrowed lexical elements, or maybe particles. Neither Appleyard (2007) or Hamde (1986) give examples of hybrid formation, but since these forms are apparently obligatory, inflectional object markers, and there is no indication that all transitive verbs would be borrowed from Tigre, it is safe to assume that they form hybrid formations.