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Re: Marking nouns with person?

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 7:13
Julia wrote:
> (Are there actually linguists who claim that _cihu�tl_ *always* means > "she is a woman"? Thomas: is this what you mean by > "omnipredicativity"? -- Do these people consequently translate a > sentence such as "The woman loves her children" as "She-is-a-woman > loves they-are-her-children"? Sheesh.)
Yes, that's literally the case. Andrews has hundreds of such glosses in his 2003 redux of his earlier textbook on Classical Nahuatl. The problem with omnipredicativity is not so much that they think all definite entities are predicates in a sense (along the lines "X such that it is this X"; I disagree with this position, but it's been argued by prominent semanticists) but that they go further and seem to confuse this with the syntactic distribution of words. I won't absolutely rule it out, but I am strongly opposed to the suggestion that lexical categories are not universal; most such claims usually turn out to be more complicated than originally envisioned (see e.g. Henry Davis' work on Salish languages like St'at'imcets (pronounced for the curious [Stl'atl'imxetS]).
> But anyway, I have no idea how either Nahuatl or Mohawk would express > things like "I-the-woman do this-and-this" as opposed to "The > woman does this-and-this" (i.e. whether forms like _nicihu�tl_ or > _wakonkwe_, if it exists, can be used as subjects or objects in a > sentence just like _cihu�tl_ and _yakonkwe_, or if they can only be > used as sentences of their own). :-(
I believe the normal way to express it is "nisiwa:tl kichi:was" (1SgS-woman 3SgO-do-FUT.Sg) "I the woman will do it", or maybe with an emphatic pronoun too: "Newa nisiwa:tl kichi:was". ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637