Fusional language

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Fusional languages or inflected languages are a type of synthetic languages, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features. For example, the Spanish verb comer ("to eat") has the first-person singular preterite tense form comí ('I ate'); the single suffix represents both the features of first-person singular agreement and preterite tense, instead of having a separate affix for each feature.

Examples of fusional Indo-European languages are: Sanskrit, Pashto, Punjabi, Hindustani, Greek (classical and modern), Latin, Italian, French and the Iberian Romance dialect continuum, Irish, German, Faroese, Icelandic, Albanian, all Baltic and Slavic languages. Northeast Caucasian languages are weakly fusional.

Another notable group of fusional languages is the Semitic languages group; however, Modern Hebrew is much more analytic than Classical Hebrew “both with nouns and with verbs”.[1] Colloquial varieties of Arabic are more analytic than the standard language, having lost all noun declensions, and in many cases also featuring simplified conjugation.

A high degree of fusion is also found in many Finno-Ugric, Uralic, and Samoyedic languages, like Hungarian, Estonian, Finnish, and the Sami languages, such as Skolt Sami.[citation needed] Unusually for a natively North American language, Navajo is sometimes described as fusional due to its complex and inseparable verb morphology.[2][3]

An illustration of fusionality is the Latin word bonus ("good"). The ending -us denotes masculine gender, nominative case, and singular number. Changing any one of these features requires replacing the suffix -us with a different one. In the form bonum, the ending -um denotes masculine accusative singular, neuter accusative singular, or neuter nominative singular.

Fusional languages generally tend to lose their inflection over the centuries – some languages much more quickly than others.[4] While Proto-Indo-European was fusional, some of its descendants have shifted to a more analytic structure, such as Modern English, Danish and Afrikaans, or agglutinative, such as Persian and Armenian. Other descendants are fusional, including Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slavic languages, as well as Latin and the Romance languages and certain Germanic languages.

Some languages shift over time from agglutinative to fusional. For example, while most Uralic languages are predominantly agglutinative, Estonian is markedly evolving in the direction of a fusional language. On the other hand, Finnish, its close relative, exhibits fewer fusional traits, thereby keeping closer to the mainstream Uralic type.

One feature of many fusional languages is their systems of declensions. Here nouns and adjectives have a suffix attached to them to specify grammatical case (their uses in the clause), number, and grammatical gender; pronouns may alter their forms entirely to encode this information. In most Romance languages and modern English, encoding for case is merely vestigial; this is because it no longer encompasses nouns and adjectives, but only pronouns. Compare the Italian egli (masculine singular nominative), gli (masculine singular dative, or indirect object), lo (masculine singular accusative) and lui (also masculine singular accusative, but emphatic and indirect case to be used with prepositions), corresponding to the single vestigial pair he, him in English.

This page was last edited on 21 July 2018, at 09:50 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusional_language under CC BY-SA license.

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