Carib affixes in Garifuna


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are from Taylor (1954; 1956; 1959; 1977), Taylor and Hoff (1980), Hoff (1986), de Pury (2001; 2005), and Escure (2004: 45–46; 2012). See also Grant (2010).


1 possessive person‑marker prefix

i‑ ‘first singular possessor’, e.g. iuaku ‘my drink’, iúti ‘my share (of food etc.)’ (Taylor 1956: 39)


1 collective (plural) suffix

‑gu ‘collective, plural’, e.g. níbirigu ‘my younger siblings’, numégegu ‘my (personal) belongings’, nibą́iagu ‘my grandchildren’, tibegu ‘her people’ (Taylor 1959: 190–191)


Note that Escure (2004: 45–46) discusses a number of further affixes of putative Carib origin, in particular a nominalizing suffix ‑un(i), and a large number of evidential particles (or suffixes) of which she discusses in particular ‑ti (hearsay), ‑na (uncertainty), and ‑me (deductive). However, no corresponding elements have been identified in Carib (Kalin’a, Galibi), the source language for Cariban material in Garifuna. For the evidential particles, Escure (2004: 45–46) cites similar‑looking forms from Hixkaryana as sources forms (Derbyshire 1999: 53), but Hixkaryana is from a different branch of the Cariban family. Additionally, the Garifuna evidential particles are only attested in Escure’s (2004: 45–46) material, and not mentioned by other sources. For the nominalizing suffix, Lokono/Arawak (the Arawakan language most closely related to Garifuna) ‑n (Pet 2011: 22–24 ), seems a likely cognate, which means the form would be native.