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2  Agglutination of numerals in Talmit

When you are at an airport, ’gate 1’, ’gate 2’, ’gate 3’ (and so on) are perfectly acceptable labels. In Talmit, word derivation sometimes functions just like that, by agglutinating a numeral.
In ancient times, the agglutination of *aQ ’1’ yielded the singulative and the fusion of a numeral and *-ga ’step’ yielded the conjunctions angá, ilgá, ezgá ’step 1, step 2, step 3’ etc. of conditional sentences: S1 angá, S2 ilgá, S2 ezgá... ’if S1, then S2 and S3’. Furthermore, the names of the five fingers from the thumb onwards were púnat, púnil, púnes, púnor, púnun, formed with pun ’finger’ and a numeral. A rare word for ’hand’ was the superposition of all the five: puna(h)ilézrun2.
However, more such agglutination entered the language as an artificial feature when the Talmic people went through the phase of a centralized empire.

It was the time when a measuring system was introduced; scholarship, poetry and philosophy flourished which led to the fixation of a word-view and a world-description. This world-view was largely based on the concepts of duality and pentality which were already strongly present within the language itself. However, duality was limited to certain scales, like left-right or up-down. There are, however, more natural pairs in the world which cannot be described in quite the same way. The sun and moon, for example, form a pair and yet there is no underlying scale for them.

The new invention then was to assign numerals to them: From the word ban ’celestial body’ were derived: bánat ’sun’ and bánil ’moon’ – lit. ’celestial body 1’, ’celestial body 2’. There was also the dvandva superposition bánahil ’sun and moon’; and bánes ’star’ was sometimes added to the list. This received acceptance, as the usual words for ’sun’ and ’moon’ up to that time were formed by the augmentative and diminutive suffixes -men and -lin: bármen, bállin which is not that much different.

Another natural pair without a scale is male and female. The original roots are √tar ’male’, √in ’female’, √me or √da ’human being’, whence tárme ’man’, ímme, índa ’woman’; or with the diminutive suffixes -win, -lin: tárwin ’boy’, íllin ’girl’.
The numerals at ’1’ and il ’2’ were now agglutinated to the root √me, yielding méat ’man’ and méhil ’woman’; superposition méahil ’male and female, married couple’. This has in fact also found acceptance. The reason is probably the sound-symbolic association of the vowel a with large size and hence bulkiness and strength on the one hand; and of i with slenderness and gentleness on the other.
Similarly, √te ’parent’ yielded téat ’father’, téhil ’mother’, téahil ’both father and mother’ beside the older táte, máte.

With the construction of monuments flourishing at the same time, the parts of a house were numbered in the same fashion: The root √pel ’house’ yielded pélat, pélaχta ’floor’, pélli, péllita ’wall’ and péles, pélesta ’roof’, superposition pelahílles ’mansion, palace’ (contrast: pélwin ’small cheap house’). The word for ’town’, pelestámi (lit. ’many roofs’) was introduced by the same time.

Finally, the root √ka ’earth, realm’ yielded the cosmological terms káhat ’earth, land’, káhil ’sky’, káhail ’earth and sky’ and sometimes káes ’sea’, káhailes ’land, sky and sea, the whole world’.

All these words are very formal. For example, méat, méhil would correspond to English ’male, female’, while tárme, ímme would correspond to the ordinary words ’man, woman’; *Káhat or *Káhailes would be used as the name of the planet ’Earth’ by Talmit speakers in the present; *káhat-teθébne would probably be ’geology’, *ban-teθébne ’astronomy’ and so forth.

Superpositions of this kind may be compared to the Japanese yojijukugo (4-kanji-compound) kidoairaku ’human emotions’ which combines the four kanji ’joy’, ’anger’, ’pathos’ and ’humour’.

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