Varieties of Comitative

Thomas Stolz, Cornelia Stroh and Aina Urdze

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Varieties of Comitative

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Linguistic Typology


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This article describes the formal varieties and polysemy patterns of comitative case based on a worldwide convenience sample of 320 languages (including regional varieties). The inventory of formal means expressing Comitative comprises the following major strategies: affixation (both on [pro]nouns and verbs), adpositional constructions, adverbial constructions, and serial-verb constructions. For the present purpose, these strategies are considered instances of case relators. In the sample, bound morphology encodes Comitative in 50 per cent of those cases which do not display Comitative-Instrumental syncretism. As to affixation, suffixation expectedly predominates. However, prefixation and circumfixation are also attested more than just once. Similarly, the adpositional strategies include prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions. This article also discusses restrictions on the use of Comitative, uses of comitative markers in complex structures, and the diachrony of Comitative.

Keywords: comitative case; polysemy; languages; affixation; adpositional constructions; adverbial constructions; serial-verb constructions; suffixation; diachrony; complex structures

Article.  3062 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Linguistic Typology

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