Absolutive Descriptives

Étienne Ljóni Poisson graduated from undergraduate studies in Icelandic, Finnish and linguistics from the University of Iceland in 2011, and is currently finishing a BS in organic chemistry and biochemistry from the same university. During his studies he began to systematically describe Siwa, his conlang project which he is still working on to this day. Siwa’s descriptive grammar is one of the most thorough descriptions of a conlang available in English.

Étienne speaks French, English, Icelandic, and Finnish fluently and is currently studying Georgian and Northern Sámi.

Abstract

Siwa is an a priori conlang set in pre-Columbian Quebec whose protolanguage emerged at the end of the last glacial maximum in Europe and subsequently migrated to North America. In this essay, a component of verbal morphology is described which has not been identified in natural languages, though it may be likened to Japanese counter words. Absolutive descriptives are monosyllabic infixes that add directly to verb stems and add information about the absolutive argument. Interestingly, Siwa is an active-stative language and does not display ergative-absolutive alignment. The article is part of the language’s complete grammatical description, A Descriptive Grammar of Siwa.

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