Case Marking of Asamiya in
comparison with Bangla
for animate and inanimate objects
BORNINI LAHIRI
M.PHIL
CENTRE FOR LINGUISTICS
JNU
Introduction

Linguistically, Asamiya and Bangla are
quite similar to each-other.
Basically because:
1. Descendent of Magadhi Prakrit
2. Member of Outer Indo-Aryan group
3. Member of Eastern group of Indo-Aryan
languages.

Similarity in Case Marking feature
They share1. Most of the cases, though they are
realized differently through
affixation and postpositions.
2.
Usage of non-cannonical case
marking
3.
Feature of differentiating animate
and inanimate object through case
marking for some of the cases.
What is case?

Blake- “ Case is a system of marking
dependent nouns for the type of relationship
they bear to their heads”.

Generally case is marked by an affix or a
complete word. At times both are needed to
realize one case. Sometimes affixes are
needed for adpositions to occur.

One case-marking may serve different cases
at different times.
Cases Which are Overtly Marked
in Asamiya and Bangla
Cases Marked
Asamiya
Bangla
Agentive
/-e/
Genitive
/-ɔr/
/-er/, /-der/, /-kar/,
/-ker/
Accusative
/-ɔk/
/-ke/
Locative
/-ɔt/
/-te/
/-ere/, /-di/, /-dara/
/dije/
Instrumental
ACCUSATIVE MARKING

Accusative case is marked by affixation in both the languages.
Asamiya - /-ɔk/ (the vowel drops when the root ends with a
vowel),
Bangla - /-ke/
With animate objects:
eg1: lɔra – tu – k tebil-ɔr
upor-ɔt thoa
boy-CLA-ACC table-GEN on-LOC keep
Keep the baby on the table.
eg2: bacca – ta - ke tebil-er
opor-e rakho
child-CLA-ACC table-GEN on-LOC rakho
Keep the baby on the table.
(Asamiya)
(Bangla)
With Inanimate Objects

Both the languages drop its accusative case
marking when the object is inanimate.
eg3: kitab-khon
tebil-r
upor-ɔt
book –CLA table-GEN on-LOC
Keep the book on the table.
kitab-khon-ɔk
tebil-r
thoa
keep
upor-ɔt
eg4: boi-ta
tebil-er
opor-e
rakho
book –CLA table-GEN on-LOC keep
Keep the book on the table.
(A)
thoa *
(B)
With Bangla Inanimate Objects
boi-ta-ke
tebil-er
opor-e rakho (NOT GOOD)
book-CLA-ACC table-GEN on-LOC keep
Keep the book on the table.
boi-ke
tebil-er
opor-e rakho *
book-ACC table-GEN on-LOC keep
Keep the book on the table.

In Bangla accusative case can be used at times with an
inanimate object to get animate reading. But an
inanimate object can never take an accusative marker
without any classifier.
With Bangla Inanimate Objects contd
putul-ta-ke
dekhli?
(B)
doll-CLA-ACC see?
Did you see the doll?
Here the doll is taken as an animate object.
eg5:
Generally one will say:
putul-ta dekhli?
With Bangla Inanimate Objects contd
eg6: bostu-ti-ke
dekhli?
thing-CLA-ACC see?
Did you see the thing?
(B)
In this sentence the use of /–ke/ gives the
sense that some animate object is being
referred as a thing. May be to make fun of it.
But such use of accusative marking is not
allowed in Asamiya.
Locative Marking
Locative case is marked to the noun in whose
respect the location is being told. It is marked by
suffix in both the languages.
Asamiya : /-ɔt/
Bangla: /-te/
With inanimate objects:
eg7: kitap-tu
bakos-ɔt
book-CLA
box-LOC
The book is in the box.
ase
be
(A)
eg8:
ace
be
(B)
boi-ta
bakɔs-e
book-CLA
box-LOC
The book is in the box.
Locative Marking with Animate Objects
Locative maker cannot be attached
directly to the animate object.
Locative marker can get attached to a
specific location like
majh-ɔt (A) majh-e (B) (middle+LOC=between),
upor-ɔt (A) opor-e (B) (top+LOC =on top),
Locative Marking with Animate Objects
CONTD
eg9
tumi mu-r-tat
ki dekhile?
You I-GEN-LOC what see
what you saw in me?
eg10
tumi ama-r modh-e
ki dekhle
you I-GEN in-LOC what see
what you saw in me?
(A)
Locative marker for animate comes after
genitive marker.
(B)
Locative Marking with Animate
Objects
In Asamiya if locative marker is used with animates
then the sentence becomes ungrammatical whereas
in Bangla it gives different meanings but not that of
locative.
eg11:
kukur-e
kamre
dog - LOC bite
give
Dogs bite. (GENERIC)
dæe
Locative Marking of Bangla with
Animate Objects
dui
bondhu-te
jhogra
two friend- LOC fight
There is a dispute between the two friends.
eg12:
(COUPLED RECIPROCAL)
eg13:
o
ama-e/-ke
bollo
he/she I-LOC/-ACC said
He/she told me.
(ACC-DAT)
Instrumental Marking
When an object helps in doing a work then it takes
instrumental case in these two languages. It is
marked in Asamiya by suffix /-ere/ & /-di/ when the
object is animate & /-dara/ when the object is
inanimate.
eg14: kamkora-zuali-joni-dara
sapha kora
working-girl-CLA-INST clean
do
Get it cleaned by the maid.
eg15:
jaru –ri
sapha
kora
broom-INST clean
do
Get it cleaned by a broom
Instrumental contd
In Bangla when the object is inanimate then the
postposition /dije/ is used. But when the object
is animate then accusative marking /-ke/ is used
before /dije/.
eg16:
jharu dije jhat deao
broomINST sweep give
Get it swept by the broom.
eg17:
dai-ke
dije jhat deao
maid-ACC INST sweep give
Get it swept by the maidservant.
CHART
Case Marking
For
Asamiya
ANIMATE
ACCUSATIVE
LOCATIVE
INSTRUMENTAL
Bangla
INANIMATE
ANIMATE
INANIMATE
-ɔk
Not used
-ke
Not used
Location + LOC
GEN+LOC
-ɔt
GEN+Locat
ion +
LOC
-te
-ere
-de
-ke + diye
(PP)
dije
Conclusion

In Asamiya out of five case markers of
different cases, case markers of three
cases distinguish between animate and
inanimate objects.

In Bangla case markers of every cases
except Genitive case dintinguishes
between animate and inanimate objects.
Conclusion
CONTD

Bangla genitive case marker distinguishes
between plural human and non-human.

For plural human /-der/ is used while for all
other instances /-r/ is used.
Conclusion CONTD
Cases show perception of the language so
the same relation between two objects in
different languages is realized through
different cases.
 It can be said that Asamiya and Bangla
perceives difference between animate and
inanimate objects which along with
classifiers is also realized through cases.

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Case Marking of Asamiya in comparison with Bangla for