Comitative case

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In grammar, the comitative case (/ˈkɒmɪtətɪv/; abbreviated COM) is a grammatical case that denotes accompaniment.[1]: 17–23  In English, the preposition "with", in the sense of "in company with" or "together with", plays a substantially similar role (other uses of "with", like in the meaning of "using" or "by means of" (I cut bread with a knife), correspond to the instrumental case or related cases).

Core meaningEdit

The comitative case encodes a relationship of "accompaniment" between two participants in an event, called the "accompanier" and the "companion". In addition, there is a "relator" (which can be of multiple lexical categories, but is most commonly an affix or adposition).[1]: 17–18  Use of the comitative case gives prominence to the accompanier.[2]: 602  This Italian sentence is an example:

[il professore]accompanier entra nell'aula [con]relator [i suoi studenti]companion
'the professor enters the lecture-hall (together) with his students'.[2]: 602 

In this case, il professore is the accompanier, i suoi studenti is the companion, and con is the relator. As the accompanier, il professore is the most prominent.

Animacy also plays a major role in most languages with a comitative case. One group of languages requires both the accompanier and the companion to be either human or animate. Another group requires both to be in the same category: both human or both animate. A third group requires an animate accompanier and an inanimate companion. Other languages have no restrictions based on animacy.[2]: 603–604 

Comparison to similar casesEdit

The comitative case is often conflated or confused with other similar cases, especially the instrumental case and the associative case.

The comitative relates to an accompanier and a companion, and the instrumental relates to an agent, an object, and a patient.[3]: 593  Enrique Palancar defines the role of Instrumental case as 'the role played by the object the Agent manipulates to achieve a change of state of the Patient.'[4] Even though the difference is straightforward, because the instrumental and the comitative are expressed the same way in many languages, including English, it is often difficult to separate them.

Russian is one of many languages that differentiate morphologically between instrumental and comitative:

Я

Ya

I

пойду

poydu

go

в

v

in

кино

kino

cinema

с

s

with

мамой

mamoy

mom.COM

Я пойду в кино с мамой

Ya poydu v kino s mamoy

I go in cinema with mom.COM

'I'll go to the cinema with my mom.'

Я

Ya

I

нарезал

narezal

cut

хлеб

khleb

bread

этим

etim

this.INSTR

ножом

nozhom

knife.INSTR

Я нарезал хлеб этим ножом

Ya narezal khleb etim nozhom

I cut bread this.INSTR knife.INSTR

'I cut the bread with this knife.'[5]

In Russian, the comitative is marked by adding a preposition s and by declining the companion in the instrumental case; the design с мамой as a whole becomes comitative. In the instrumental case, the object is declined, but no preposition is added.[5]

The comitative case is often confused with the associative case. Before the term comitative was applied to the accompanier-companion relationship, the relationship was often called associative case, a term still used by some linguists.[6]

It is important to distinguish between the comitative and the associative because the associative also refers to a specific variety of the comitative case that is used in Hungarian.[2]: 605 

Expressions of comitative semantic relationEdit

Grammatical case is a category of inflectional morphology. The comitative case is an expression of the comitative semantic relation through inflectional affixation, by prefixes, suffixes and circumfixes. Although all three major types of affixes are used in at least a few languages, suffixes are the most common expression. Languages which use affixation to express the comitative include Hungarian, which uses suffixes; Totonac, which uses prefixes; and Chukchi, which uses circumfixes.[2]: 602 

Comitative relations are also commonly expressed by using adpositions: prepositions, postpositions and circumpositions. Examples of languages that use adpositional constructions to express comitative relations are French, which uses prepositions; Wayãpi, which uses postpositions; and Bambara, which uses circumpositions.[2]: 603 

Adverbial constructions can also mark comitative relations, but they act very similarly to adpositions. One language that uses adverbs to mark the comitative case is Latvian.[2]: 603 

The final way in which comitative relations can be expressed is by serial-verb constructions. In these languages, the comitative marker is usually a verb whose basic meaning is "to follow". A language which marks comitative relations with serial-verb constructions is Chinese.[2]: 603 

ExamplesEdit

Indo-European languagesEdit

FrenchEdit

French uses prepositions to express the comitative semantic relation.

avec

COM

sa

POSS

mère

mother

avec sa mère

COM POSS mother

'with his/her mother'[2]: 605 

In this case, the preposition "avec" is used to express the comitative semantic relation. The preposition "avec" is the standard comitative marker in French; however, French has a special case, the ornative case, a variety of comitative for bodily property or clothes[clarification needed]. The French ornative marker is "à".[2]: 603 

LatvianEdit

In Latvian, both instrumental and comitative are expressed with the preposition ar[1]: 102  However, it is used only when the companion is in accusative and singular or when it is in dative and plural. Otherwise the co-ordinating conjunction un is used.[1]: 21 

un

and

Nelda

Nelda.NOM

ar

COM

Rudolfu

Rudolf.ACC

ļoti

very

nozīmīgi

significantly

paskatījās

PREV.look.PRET.REFL.3

uz

on

Ernestīni

Ernestine.ACC

un Nelda ar Rudolfu ļoti nozīmīgi paskatījās uz Ernestīni

and Nelda.NOM COM Rudolf.ACC very significantly PREV.look.PRET.REFL.3 on Ernestine.ACC

'And Nelda and Rudolf looked very knowingly at Ernestine.'[1]: 21  Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

In the example above, ar is used because Rudolf, the companion, is in accusative and singular. Below, it is used in the other case that it is allowed, with a dative plural companion.

jo

because

ne-bija

NEG-be.PAST.3

ne-kāda

NEG-some.GEN

prieka

fun.GEN

dzīvot

live.INF

zem

under

sveša

foreign.GEN

jumta

roof.GEN

un

and

vēl

still

ar

COM

vis-iem

all-DAT.PL

zirg-iem

horse-DAT.PL

un

and

rat-iem

cart-DAT.PL

jo ne-bija ne-kāda prieka dzīvot zem sveša jumta un vēl ar vis-iem zirg-iem un rat-iem

because NEG-be.PAST.3 NEG-some.GEN fun.GEN live.INF under foreign.GEN roof.GEN and still COM all-DAT.PL horse-DAT.PL and cart-DAT.PL

'Because it was no fun to live under someone else's roof, especially with all the horses and the cart'.[1]: 307 

Uralic languagesEdit

EstonianEdit

In Estonian, the Comitative (kaasaütlev) marker is the suffix “-ga”.[1]: 90 

ja

and

Barber

Barber

rüüpa-b

drink-3SG

koos

together

Balthasari-ga

Balthasar-COM

sügava

deep.GEN

sõõmu

mouthful.GEN

ja Barber rüüpa-b koos Balthasari-ga sügava sõõmu

and Barber drink-3SG together Balthasar-COM deep.GEN mouthful.GEN

'And Barber takes a sip together with Balthasar.'[1]: 90 

FinnishEdit

In Finnish, the comitative case (komitatiivi) consists of the suffix -ne with adjectives and -ne- + a mandatory possessive suffix with the main noun. There is no singular-plural distinction; only the plural of the comitative exists and is used in both singular and plural senses, and thus it always appears as -ine-. For instance, "with their big ships" is

suuri·ne

big-COM

laivo·i·ne·en

ship-OBL-PL-COM-POS.3PL

suuri·ne laivo·i·ne·en

big-COM ship-OBL-PL-COM-POS.3PL

while "with his/her big ships" is

suuri·ne

big-COM

laivo·i·ne·nsa

ship-OBL-PL-COM-POS.3SG

suuri·ne laivo·i·ne·nsa

big-COM ship-OBL-PL-COM-POS.3SG

It is rarely used and is mainly a feature of formal literary language, appearing very rarely in everyday speech.

The much more common, less formal way of expressing "with" is with the postposition kanssa, e.g., suurten laivojensa kanssa "with their big ships". The two forms may contrast, however, since the comitative always comes with the possessive suffix and thus can only be used when the agent has some sort of possession of the thing expressed by the main noun. For instance, Ulkoministeri jatkaa kollegoineen neuvotteluja sissien kanssa, "The foreign minister, with [assistance from] his colleagues, is continuing the negotiations with the guerrillas", has kollegoineen "with his colleagues" contrasted with sissien kanssa "with the guerrillas", the former "possessed", the latter not.

Colloquial Finnish also has the postposition kaa, derived from kanssa and cognate with the Estonian -ga. With pronouns it is written as a suffix, -kaa.

mun·kaa

1SG-GEN-with

mun·kaa

1SG-GEN-with

'with me'

mun

1SG-GEN

kavereitten

friend-ABE-PL

kaa

with

mun kavereitten kaa

1SG-GEN friend-ABE-PL with

'with my friends'

Sami languagesEdit

As there are many Sami languages there are variations between them. In the largest Sami language, Northern Sami, the comitative case means either communion, fellowship, connection - or instrument, tool. It can be used either as an object or as an adverbial.

It is expressed through the suffix -in in the singular and -iguin in the plural.

An example of the object use in Northern Sami is "Dat láve álo riidalit isidiin", meaning "She always argues with her husband". An example of the adverbial use is "Mun čálán bleahkain", meaning "I write with ink".[7]

HungarianEdit

In Hungarian, comitative case is marked by the suffix "-stul/-stül", as shown in the example below.[8]

ruhá-stul

clothes-COM

és

and

cipő-stül

shoe-COM

feküd-t-em

lie-PAST-INDEF.1SG

az

the

ágy-ban

bed-INE

ruhá-stul és cipő-stül feküd-t-em az ágy-ban

clothes-COM and shoe-COM lie-PAST-INDEF.1SG the bed-INE

'I was lying in bed with my clothes and shoes on.'[8]

However, the comitative case marker cannot be used if the companion has a plural marker. So when the comitative marker is added to a noun, it obscures whether that noun is singular or plural.[8]

gyerek-estül

child-COM

men-t-ek

go-PAST-INDEF.3PL

nyaral-ni

vacation-INF

gyerek-estül men-t-ek nyaral-ni

child-COM go-PAST-INDEF.3PL vacation-INF

'They went on vacation with their child/children.'[8]

ChukchiEdit

Chukchi uses a circumfix to express comitative case.

а'ачек

boy

ңытоскычат-гьэ

ran.out-PERF

га-мэлгар-ма

COM.PRED-gun-COM.PRED

а'ачек ңытоскычат-гьэ га-мэлгар-ма

boy ran.out-PERF COM.PRED-gun-COM.PRED

'The boy ran out with a gun.'[9]

In the example, the circumfix га-ма is attached to the root мэлгар "gun" to express comitative.

DrehuEdit

In Drehu, there are two prepositions which can be used to mark comitative. Which of the prepositions is used is determined by the classes of the accompanier and companion.[10]

ɑngeic

3SG

ɑ

PRES

tro

go

me

COM

eni

1SG

ɑngeic ɑ tro me eni

3SG PRES go COM 1SG

'He goes with me.'[10]

eni

1SG

ɑ

PRES

ixelë

meet

memin

COM

ART

jɑjiny

girl

eni ɑ ixelë memin lɑ jɑjiny

1SG PRES meet COM ART girl

'I met (with) the girl.'[10]

HausaEdit

The comitative marker in Hausa is the preposition "dà". In Hausa, a prepositional phrase marked for comitative can be moved to the front of the sentence for emphasis, as shown in the examples below.[11]

(tàare)

(together)

with

yâara-n-shì

children-of-3SG.M

fa,

indeed

yaa

3SG.M.PFV

zoo

come

nannìyà

here

(tàare) dà yâara-n-shì fa, yaa zoo nannìyà

(together) with children-of-3SG.M indeed 3SG.M.PFV come here

'With his children indeed, he came here.'

(tàare)

(together)

with

Bàlaa

Bala

née

COP

na

1SG.RP

jee

go

kàasuwaa

market

(tàare) dà Bàlaa née na jee kàasuwaa

(together) with Bala COP 1SG.RP go market

'It is with Bala that I went to the market.'[11] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

In Hausa it is ungrammatical to do the same with coordinating conjunctions. For example, if the companions were "dog and cat", it would be ungrammatical to move either "dog" or "cat" to the front of the sentence for emphasis, while it is grammatical to do so when there is a comitative marker rather than a conjunction.[11]

Further readingEdit

  • Karlsson, Fred (2018). Finnish - A Comprehensive Grammar. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-82104-0.
  • Anhava, Jaakko (2015). "Criteria For Case Forms in Finnish and Hungarian Grammars". journal.fi. Helsinki: Finnish Scholarly Journals Online.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Stolz, Thomas; Stroh, Cornelia; Urdze, Aina (2006). On Comitatives and Related Categories: A Typological Study with Special Focus on the Languages of Europe. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. ISBN 9783110197648.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Stolz, Thomas; Stroh, Cornelia; Urdze, Aina (2009). "Varieties of Comitative". In Andrej Malchukov and Andrew Spencer (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Case. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. pp. 593–600.
  3. ^ Narrog, Heiko (2009). "Varieties of Instrumental". In Andrej Malchukov and Andrew Spencer (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Case. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. pp. 601–608.
  4. ^ Palancar, E. L. (1999). "Instrumental Prefixes in Amerindian Languages: An Overview to their Meanings, Origin, and Functions". Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung. 52: 151–166.
  5. ^ a b Heine, Bernd; Kuteva, Tania (2006). The Changing Languages of Europe. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. p. 188.
  6. ^ Haspelmath, Martin (2009). "Terminology of Case". In Andrej Malchukov and Andrew Spencer (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Case. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. p. 514.
  7. ^ Nickel, Klaus Peter (1994). Samisk Grammatikk [no. Sami Grammar] (2nd ed.). Karasjok, Norway: Davvi Girji. p. 399.
  8. ^ a b c d Kenesei, István; Vago, Robert M.; Fenyvesi, Anna (1998). Hungarian. New York: Routledge. pp. 212–3. ISBN 9780415021395.
  9. ^ Kämpfe, Hans-Rainer; Volodin, Alexander P. (1995). Abriß der Tschuktschischen Grammatik auf der Basis der Schriftsprache. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 53–4.
  10. ^ a b c Moyse-Faurie, Claire; Lynch, John (2004). "Coordination in Oceanic languages and Proto Oceanic". In Martin Haspelmath (ed.). Coordinating Constructions. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co. p. 453.
  11. ^ a b c Abdoulaye, Mahamane L. (2004). "Comitative, coordinating, and inclusory constructions in Hausa". In Martin Haspelmath (ed.). Coordinating Constructions. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co. p. 180.