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  • Historical and Comparative Linguistics & Linguistic Typology x

The Grammar of Perspective

The Sumerian Conjugation Prefixes as a System of Voice


Christopher Woods

The so-called Sumerian conjugation prefixes are the most poorly understood and perplexing elements of Sumerian verbal morphology. Approaching the problem from a functional-typological perspective and basing the analysis upon semantics, Professor Woods argues that these elements, in their primary function, constitute a system of grammatical voice, in which the active voice is set against the middle voice. The latter is represented by heavy and light markers that differ with respect to focus and emphasis. As a system of grammatical voice, the conjugation prefixes provided Sumerian speakers with a linguistic means of altering the perspective from which events may be viewed, giving speakers a series of options for better approximating in language the infinitely graded spectrum of human conceptualization and experience.

"Woods is to be commended for establishing a new precedent for analyzing Sumerian grammar which will hopefully become a model for future studies of the language."
Paul Delnero, Johns Hopkins University

Rutger Allan

The verbal grammatical category of voice pertains to the relationship between syntactic roles (subject, direct object) and semantic roles (agent, patient, experiencer, beneficiary, recipient). Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories. The active voice is marked by act

David Goldstein

Voicing refers to an assimilative process by which a voiceless sound becomes voiced; the term can also be used in reference to the feature [voice], which involves vibration of the vocal cords. Voicing is a process whereby a consonant changes from voiceless to voiced (the reverse is called devoicing

The tune drives the text

Competing information channels of speech shape phonological systems

Timo B. Roettger and Martine Grice

structured, how intonational contours are aligned with the available segmental structure, and how intonational meaning is expressed. However, accumulating empirical evidence has made it clear that segmental and intonational aspects of speech are inherently connected. For intonation to be produced, voiced

Rutger Allan

Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories: the active voice, the middle voice and the passive voice. The act. and mid. voices are distinguished by contrasting sets of personal endings. The passive voice is marked by a special morpheme -thē- or -ē- and only occurs in the


Edited by Erika Langbroek, Arend Quak, Annelies Roeleveld and Paula Vermeyden


Edited by Alexander Lubotsky, Jos Schaeken, Jeroen Wiedenhof, Rick Derksen and Sjoerd Siebinga

Games with names

Naming practices and deliberate language change

Anne Storch

, fresh knowledge that incorporates rather than silences less powerful voices and forms of knowledge. Southern Theory, however, has not been the first attempt to destabilise clear-cut, potentially unscientific, and biased knowledge systems and hierarchies. In fact, to the very opposite: it returns to old

Matthias Urban

Ancash) have in common is some degree of postnasal voicing, characteristic also of the IIB varieties of Ecuador and Colombia (Landerman, 1991: 250; Cerrón-Palomino, 2003: 251). Another characteristic feature of the Northern Peruvian Quechua varieties is the development of voiced fricatives from proto