Dictionary of phrasal compounds

last update: 2014-03-24


  1. Description
  2. Brief list
  3. Detailed list


Phrasal compounds in Talmit consist out of three constituents: Two lexical items from monoplosive roots joined by a monosyllabic postposition (acc. nu, dat. ma, gen. mo etc.); or another 'functional element', as adverbial/converbal -ru or the conjunctions -se, -ra. The native name is eaχtál 'double-word'.

A noun-verb compound of this kind, e.g. tánugi 'inspect, check, discover (whether a person or object is really there)' (= object-acc-see) can be regarded as noun incorporation. Because of the presence of the postposition the syntactic relationship to the verb is always kept clear (unlike English baby-sitting, for example, where one has to use pragmatics to decompose it as 'sitting beside/with a baby' rather than **'sitting on a baby'). The fact that it is indeed a compound can be seen from the fact that

  1. only the first element receives stress
  2. there are internal sound changes, as vowel umlaut, consonant loss and metathesis (see below)
  3. when used as a verb, the auxiliary verb sun 'do, perform, carry out' out is employed instead of conjugating the head verb of the compound itself
Hence tánugi-sun lit. 'do inspection' rather than **tanugínun. The second stage of noun incorporation (Mithun, 1984) where the whole compound can take a new direct object has not always been reached. In this example the searched item is marked by themative la, e.g. bélga-la tánugi-sun 'to check whether there is some milk left' (lit. 'milk-concerning inspection-do').

But apart from noun incorporation, Talmit forms other types of words within the same framework. Some are quite mundane, but most of the time it is a means to derive abstract nouns within the language itself without resorting to loans. For example, dvandva compounds or hendiadys joined by the conjunctional suffixes -ra and -se 'and' are common, such as múzrakan 'day and night', lit. 'black-and-red' or kwássekan 'style', lit. 'colour-and-shape'. The difference between the two is that -ra tends to denote mere enumeration, while -se tends to denote an interaction of some kind between the two elements, e.g. tálzeglo 'communication', lit. 'word-and-ear', loosely 'word interacting with ear'. Compare the contrasting mérame 'people, population', lit. 'human-and-human' with mésseme 'gathering, public event, party'.

Furthermore, verb-verb compounds akin to Japanese compound verbs (複合動詞 fukugō-dōshi) appear. If one verb modifies the other, the adverbial suffix -ru is used in middle place to join them, thereby creating a converb which is best translated by a gerund, e.g. káhruga 'to trample' (lit. 'to walk pressing'). Reduplicating the verb has intensifying or iterative meaning, e.g. gírugi 'splendid, magnificent, beautiful, admirable' (lit. 'to watch and watch, to watch with complete attention', cf. Jap. 見事 migoto) or dérode 'to be active, full of energy and motivation to make something' (lit. 'to do and do, to do with complete devotion').

Another frequent construction is the equivalent of English 'un...able', achieved by appending -rumui to the word where mui is a negative element, e.g. gírumui 'invisible', kézrumui 'invincible' (lit. 'impierceable'), dérumui 'impossible, undoable'. For words from ''heavy'' roots which do not form phrasal compounds this construction is formed by a compound with dérumui, e.g. tógen-dérumui 'not understandable'.

Note common sound shifts:

Brief list

count: 137

Detailed list