Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. 1921.
nominal or verbal in force. For example, inikw-ihl-i, with its suffixed article, is a clear-cut nominal form: the burning in the house, the fire in the house; inikw-ihl-ma, with its indicative suffix, is just as clearly verbal: it burns in the house. How weak must be the degree of fusion between fire in the house and the nominalizing or verbalizing suffix is apparent from the fact that the formally indifferent inikwihl is not an abstraction gained by analysis but a full-fledged word, ready for use in the sentence. The nominalizing -i and the indicative -ma are not fused form-affixes, they are simply additions of formal import. But we can continue to hold the verbal or nominal nature of inikwihl in abeyance long before we reach the -i or -ma. We can pluralize it: inikw-ihl-minih; it is still either fires in the house or burn plurally in the house. We can diminutivize this plural: inikw-ihl-minih-is, little fires in the house or burn plurally and slightly in the house. What if we add the preterit tense suffix -it? Is not inikw-ihl-minih-is-it necessarily a verb: several small fires were burning in the house? It is not. It may still be nominalized; inikwihlminihisit-i means the former small fires in the house, the little fires that were once burning in the house. It is not an unambiguous verb until it is given a form that excludes every other possibility, as in the indicative inikwihl-minihisit-a several small fires were burning in the house. We recognize at once that the elements -ihl,-minih,-is, and -it, quite aside from the relatively concrete or abstract nature of their content and aside, further, from the degree of their outer (phonetic) cohesion with the elements that precede them, have a psychological independence that our own affixes never have. They are typically agglutinated elements, though they