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UNIT FIVE (CV Manual, Grammar)

    Chuvash manual: Contents
    
    UNIT FIVE
    Personal possession;
    the verb “to have“ (pur and şuk)
    
Personal possession
    
    In English and some other languages we are accustomed to having special words to indicate possession, as "my, your, their, our, his“ and so on. Chuvash can do this too when it is a question of expressing possession on the part of a person (that is, not the genitive relationship existing between things expressed by “of“ in English), by using words which mean “my, our, your.“
    
    These words are actually the genitive case of the personal pronouns, the entire declension of which will be given in Unit Eight. When possession of things on the part of persons is expressed in this way, the forms are:
    
    
	manăn lasha 	my horse
	sanăn lasha 	your horse
	unăn  lasha 	his (her, its) horse
	pirĕn lasha 	our horse
	sirĕn lasha 	your horse
	vĕsen lasha 	their horse

    
    The forms manăn, sanăn actually mean ‘of me, of you,‘ thus, “the horse of me, the horse of you,“ hence “my horse, your horse.“ In the case of the 3rd p. sg., there is an additional suffix - i, which we shall explain shortly. There are also short forma of the first three forms, viz., man lasha, san lasha, un lasha, but not of the others.
    
    Two different forms are translated “your,“ the first being the singular and the familiar (used within the family, with friends one would call by first name, relatives, pet animals, etc.). The second form is plural and polite. It is used to people whom one would call “Mr. ‚“ or whenever there is more than one addressed. However, depending on who is addressed, this form can mean one or more than one, and it is never in doubt which, because there must always be some prior reference that tells one who “you“ means. It is also used for more than one person who would be addressed with the familiar form.
    
    Although the manner of expressing possession n shown above is a very common one in Chuvash, there is another important way, also found in the other Turkic languages and elsewhere. This is to add suffixes (morphemes) to the word to indicate who the owner is. This is a new idea for speakers of English, but one not hard to grasp. Thus, if ‘son‘ is yvăl, by adding -ăm (after a consonant), or -ĕm if it is a front vocalic word, or just –m if it ends in a vowel (as acham ‘my child‘), we create the form yvălăm, which of and by itself means “my son,“ with no need for additional words. The entire scheme is:
    
    
	yvălăm		my son 			yvălămăr	our son
	yvălu		your (fam.) son		yvălăr		your son 
	yvălĕ		his, her, son		yvălĕ		their son

    
    Note that the ending of the 3rd p. means not only “his“ but also “hers“ (even “its“ under proper circumstances), and that it violates vowel harmony. Chuvash has experienced a general laxness in its vowel harmony, especially in the sounds -i and -ĕ. Finally, the same suffix is used for singular and plural, viz. “his, her“ as well as “their.“ Since, however, in order to say “his, her,“ or “their,“ it must be clear who is referred to, there is never any trouble to tell them apart.
    
    If speakers want to make it absolutely clear as to what possession is involved, they may combine both forms, and use the genitive of the personal pronoun and then add the appropriate endings to the noun as well, in this way:
    
    
	mănăn yvălăm 		my son			pirĕn yvălămăr 	our son
	sanăn yvălu		your son		sirĕn yvălăr	your son
	unăn  yvălĕ		his son			vĕsen yvălĕ	their son

    
    This is chiefly used for a stronger emphasis, as “Our son did this, but their son did that.“ Note that this method removes any doubts between “his, hers“ and “theirs“ in the 3rd p. For ease in presentation henceforth, we shall identify the third person only as “his“ throughout.
    
    
    
    
Table of Possessive Forms

    
    
		BACK				FRONT
	Consonant	Vowel		Consonant	Vowel

	yvălăm		acham		hĕrĕm		ĕnem
	yvălu		achu		hĕrü		ĕnü
	yvălĕ		achi		xĕrĕ		ĕni
	yvălămăr	achamăr		hĕrĕmĕr		ĕnemĕr
	yvălăr		achăr		xĕrĕr		ĕnĕr
	yvălĕ		achi		xĕrĕ		ĕni
	

    
    
    
    All words may be given possessive forms according to the above possibilities, including loanwords, the only peculiarity there being that a few Russian words in -o use an allomorph -vĕ in the 3rd p. eg. (viz., bjurovĕ ‘his office‘). Note above the use of –i in the 3rd p. sg. possessive vocalic stems, which arises from a replacement of the preceding vowel by -i (thus, lasha + i> lashi). It will be generally clear from the above table what the ending is, but note that the possessive morpheme displaces the regular vowel of the stem in several places.
    
    Nouns in -u/-ü employ their stem alternant in -ăv/-ĕv when any possessive morpheme
    follows, hence:
    
    
	şyrăvăm		my letter		pĕlĕvĕm		my fact
	şyravu		your letter		pĕlĕvü		your fact
	şyrăvĕ		his letter		pĕlĕvĕ		his fact

	şyrăvămăr	our letter		pĕlĕvĕmĕr	our fact
	şyrăvăr		your letter		pĕlĕvĕr		your fact
	şyrăvĕ		their letter		pĕlĕvĕ		their fact

    
    Nouns in single consonant plus ă/ĕ employ their stem alternant with geminated consonant when a possessive morpheme follows, thus:
    
    
	pullăm		my fish			tĕvvĕm		my knot
	pullu		your fish		tĕvvü		your knot
	pulli		his fish		tĕvvi		his knot

	pullămăr	our fish		tĕvvĕmĕr	our knot
	pullăr		your fish		tĕvvĕr		your knot
	pulli		their fish		tĕvvi		their knot

    
    In the 3rd p. sg. possessive, words in –t and -d (orthographically -t, -t‘, -d, -d‘) replace that consonant with ch and add ĕ‚ as follows:
    
    
	pürt		house			sklad		storehouse
	pürchĕ		his house		sklachĕ		his storehouse

	jat		name			tetrad"		notebook
	jachĕ		his name		tetrachĕ	his notebook

    
    In current Chuvash usage, the personal possessive morphemes of the 1st and 2nd p. pl. have been largely supplanted by the analytical forms. Thus, instead of yvălămăr “our son,“ pirĕn yvăl is used, and instead of yvălăr “your son,“ sirĕn yvălu (note ..u!) is used. As mentioned, words in the foreign phoneme -o have their 3rd p. sg. possessive in -vĕ, as kinovĕ ‘his movie,‘ depovĕ ‘his depot.‘ A special possessive morpheme {-ăshĕ} is found with a small class of words made up of kinship
    terms and some numerical terms, thus: appa ‘elder sister‘ but appăsh(ĕ) ‘his, her elder sister.‘
    
    
	amăshĕ			his mother
	ashshĕ (< *aşăshĕ)	his father

	numajăshĕ		many of them (lit. "its many, their many")
	vişşĕshĕ		the three of them (lit. "their three")

    
    The entire declension of atte ‘father‘ is rather irregular.
    
    
	atte, attem 	my father	attemĕr		our father, “Our Father“
	aşu		your father	aşăr		your father
	ashshĕ		his father	ashshĕ		their father

    
    Later, we shall take up the endings (morphemes) that indicate different persons or actors in the verb, and then the student will notice that these endings are very similar to the personal possessive morphemes. Thus tusămăr ‘our friend,‘ but also şyrtămăr ‘we wrote‘ (lit. “our having written“). From this some have concluded that, in these languages and others, verbal endings are an outgrowth of an originally possessive idea, e. g. ‚ “my seeing exists“ is “I see,“ and “I am a see-er“ becoming “I see.“
    
The Verb “To Have“ (pur and şuk)
    
    Chuvash does not have a single verb meaning ‘to have‘ the way English and some other languages do. Instead, they usually say something like “my book exists“ (cf. the Russian "to me a book is‘ with omission of is), “our son is non-existent“ for ‘we have no son,‘ and so on. Chuvash has two words used to indicate possession: pur ‘that which is, what exists,‘ and its opposite şuk ‘that which is non-existent, what there is none of.‘ The following examples will help to make this more evident.
    
    
	manăn kĕneke pur		I have a book (of me a book exists)
	sanăn văhăt şuk			you have no time (your time is-not)
	unăn ĕne şuk			he has no cow
	manăn lasham pur		I have a horse, I have my  horse
	lasham pur			I have a horse
	kamăn pur, ăna tata parĕş	of him who has, to him will be given also (Mark IV, 25)

    For those who may have some acquaintance with Turkish, the words pur and şuk correspond exactly in form, origin and usage to Turkic var and yok. Further, just as var and yok may take the past tense morpheme (vardı ‘there was,‘ yoktı ‘there was not‘), In Chuvash too the past tense morpheme {-chchĕ} (of like origin) may be added to form purchchĕ and şukchchĕ “there was, there wasn‘t.“

 
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