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Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

Use of the Nominative of Samoyedic Substantives as Instances of Object and Attribute; pp. 119-126

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2009.2.03

Ago Künnap

The objective of this article is to present observations on the use of the nominative of Samoyedic substantives as instances of object and attribute. Namely, thanks to N. M. Tereçsçcenko’s Samoyedologic scholarship, her views that (1) in (Tundra) Nenets, Enets and Selkup, the nominative object can only be definite and (2) Nganasan and Selkup cannot have a nominative attribute of the possessive declension have widely spread. Both of these viewpoints are prevailingly erroneous. Samoyedic languages commonly use three cases for the direct object: (*)m-accusative, unmarked nominative and rarely (*)n-genitive. We are interested in the nominative: can it be only a definite object in some Samoyedic languages. In such cases in Samoyedic where nominative marking is common, there is obviously no reason at all to speak about definiteness/indefiniteness of an object. The case ending of substantival attributes in Samoyedic languages is a genitive suffix, as a general rule. However, rather a large number of exceptions to that attribute genitiveness general rule of Samoyedic are known to exist. It is necessary to consider the so called Turkic II izafet construction, in which case the attribute consists of the nominative form (mainly with the possessive suffix), occurring both in Nganasan and Selkup.

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