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CHAT: Unconventional pronoun systemsshow us yours!

From:Steven Williams <feurieaux@...>
Date:Sunday, August 29, 2004, 0:30
My personal pride and joy, Gi-an-nain, has only four
true pronouns (i.e., only two words that function as
pronouns in and of themselves; everything else is a
full noun, even though it is being used in a
pronominal function), split between antecedents that
are participating in the discourse, and those that are

/ar/ [A4] discourse participant, singular
/ìa/ [i.a] discourse non-participant, singular
/arà/ [a.4A] discourse participant, paucal
/eài/ [] discourse non-participant, paucal

To be more precise, like if you wanted to say 'she',
you'd have to use insane circumlocution, as in 'that
woman' (ar/ìa + 'nàiu' ['woman', 'lady']).

/ar-nàiu/ could mean 'you' or 'she', provided she is
taking part in the conversation and /ìa-nàiu/ serves
as 'she' when she has no part in the discussion.

Other factors, like number, are matters of using the
right particles. There is no plain 'plural' marker,
but one may use the numbers two /din/ and three /nàra/
for the dual and trial, as well as the word for 'all'
/tamà/ for a general plural (i.e. all women).
Reduplication of the pronominal stem gives the phrase
the meaning of referring to all members of a given
group; i.e., 'those women'. I call this number the
'paucal', although I'm probably using the wrong term
(again! :-o).


/ar-s'a isà-ikkài-na-ta/
DPsg.PAT very.pretty.COPULA.but
'You're really very pretty.'
'She's really very pretty.' (provided she's standing
right there, involved in the conversation)

/ìa-s'a isà-ikkài-na-ta/
NDPsg.PAT very.pretty.COPULA.but
'She's really very pretty.' (she's not involved in the

Circumlocution must be used for other pronominal
concepts, like 'when' /kai-jE/ (time.ADESSIVE) and
'way over there' /pia-jE-anu/ (place.ADESSIVE.far).

Anyone have an unconventional pronoun system to share,
or criticism of my own system?

"Alle Idole müssen sterben."
"All idols must die."

--Einstürzende Neubauten, "Seele Brennt" (Soul is on Fire)

"Where am I? What is this thing called 'the world'? Who is it who has lured me into
the thing, and now leaves me here? How did I come into the world? Why was I not

--Søren Kierkegaard

"You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need
not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and
solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no
choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

--Franz Kafka, Journals


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