Chuvash affixes in Mari


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples mainly from Bereczki (1979; 1993; 2002) and Kangasmaa‑Minn (1998), in addition to other sources, as specified below.


4 case markers, out of 11 Mari case markers. Note that the “boundaries between case suffixes, derivational suffixes, and enclitics are far from clear‑cut” (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 220).

la ~ ‑lä ‘modal, lative, comparative’, e.g. mar‑la ojla ‘speaks Mari’, totar-la solə̂k ‘Tartar scarf’, jal muča‑ŝkə̂‑la kaja (village/end‑illocution‑modal/goes) ‘goes to the end of the village’ (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 227), kiɗemla ‘as my hand’ (Bereczki 1979: 65)

-sɘ̂(n) ‘causal case, used with participles’, e.g. kottəmašən šolten o ̇ mɘ̂l ‘I did not cook so they would not eat’ (Bereczki 1979: 68). See also Kangasmaa‑Minn (1998: 233, 244). Note that Bereczki (1979: 68) considers this to be a causal case suffix, borrowed from a corresponding case suffix from Chuvash, the use of which is restricted to participles. Its status as a case suffix is confirmed by the fact that it can be replaced by a dative case marker.

‑len ‘distributive’, e.g. kečɘ̂len ‘every day’, almašlen ‘changing’ (Bereczki 1979: 69)

‑j ‘vocative case (used with kinship terms)’, e.g. isaj ‘my older brother!, my uncle!’ (Bereczki 1993: 511). This form may also be from Tartar.


2 valency‑changing verbal suffixes

‑n ‘reflexive’, e.g. wijnem ‘get up’ (from wiem ‘lift up’) (Bereczki 2002: 99)

‑tar, ‑tär, ‑dar, ‑där ‘causative’, e.g. jomdara ‘he/she looses’ (from jomam ‘I disappear’) (Mägiste 1968: 10; citing Beke 1911: 134–136, 287–288, 301–302). Kangasmaa‑Minn (1998: 235) gives the forms =tə̂ ~ =də̂, e.g. joškar=tə̂ ‘make red’, but does not explicitly state that it is borrowed. This form may also be from Tartar.


6 affixes

‑mVš ~ ‑šV ordinal numeral formation’, e.g. kumuso ‘third’, nilemise ‘fourth’ (Bereczki 2002: 99; citing Budenz 1864: 437–438), koγә̑ mśo ‘second’ (Bereczki 2002: 99; citing Galkin 1964: 108), kolә̑ šo ‘twentieth’ (Bereczki 2002: 99). Note that Kangasmaa‑Minn (1998: 233–234, 244) considers this to be “the same (or homophonous) suffix (with an m‑ element)” as =sɘ̂(n) ‘causal case, used with participles’, which is used in the formation of ordinal numerals, e.g. nɘ̂lɘ̂mše ‘forth’.

ala‑ ‘indefinite’, e.g. ala‑kö ‘someone’, ala‑mo ‘something’ ala‑kuze ‘somehow’ (Bereczki 2002: 99)

=le ~ =lö ~ =lo ‘adjectivizer’, e.g. lüm=lö ‘famous’ (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 244)

=rak ‘comparative, modal’, e.g. joškar=gə̂=rak ‘reddish’ (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 234), ko ̇yo‑rak ‘bigger’ (Mägiste 1968: 10; citing Beke 1911: 134–136, 287–288, 301–302). See also Raun (1971: 120 and passim) and Wiedemann (1847: 50). This form may also be from Tartar.

=lə̂k ‘abstract noun’, e.g. kül‑eš=lə̂k ‘necessity’ (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 244), porlək ‘goodness’ (Mägiste 1968: 10; citing Beke 1911: 134–136, 287–288, 301–302)

=kalə̂‑ ‘iterative aspect’, e.g. lüj=kalə̂‑ ‘shoots repeatedly’ (Kangasmaa‑Minn 1998: 245)


Note that it is not clear what the total number of cases is. Kangasmaa‑Minn (1998: 226) gives 10 (in addition to unmarked nominative), to which I added -j ‘vocative’.