Mixed Person Plurals: ANADEWism and "clusivity"
|Date:||Saturday, July 16, 2005, 18:48|
Hello, John, and others.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Tom Chappell <tomhchappell@Y...>
> For those impatient to skip to the end, it has 73 pronouns.
I read in Anna Siewierska's "Person" that Fijian has 156 pronouns.
Leaving aside case and gender,
and just concentrating on
"emphatic" (free-standing, independent) subject pronouns
inflected for person (there are three), "clusivity", and number
(there are four -- singular, dual, trial or paucal, and plural),
gives Fijian a paradigm of fifteen.
> The system is not all that unreasonable
> considering the amount of information it is tasked to deliver.
> Many languages have two-syllable pronouns;
> this one has three-syllable pronouns, not a big step up.
Fijian is a mora-counting language.
A syllable with a long vowel is "heavy" and counts for two morae.
Every Fijian root is composed of trochaic "feet".
A "heavy" syllable counts as a foot all by itself;
Two "light" syllables in a row, prominence on the first of them,
is a standard trochaic foot;
but a "heavy" syllable counts as a foot all by itself.
Fijian has some pronouns that are two feet long!
Some of them are four morae.
Some might be four syllables long
if VV combinations count as two syllables;
but if VV combinations count as diphthongal monosyllables,
still, some Fijian pronouns are three syllables long.
(Fijian has only 15 consonants and only 5 vowels,
and all syllables are either CV or V;
it allows no consonant clusters.)
Reading in Anna Siewierska's "Person",
one typology (she cites Cysouw 2000:86 on her p. 85) she uses types
languages according to how they distinguish and/or group ten possible
referents, three of which are individuals and seven of which are
(This stuff comes from 3.2.1 "More than one person and the
inclusive/exclusive distinction" pp. 82-88, and 3.2.2 "Duals and
larger numbers" pp. 88-92.)
The three individuals are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd persons;
the seven groups are;
1+1, 1+2, 1+3;
((19) on page 82.)
(Siewierska won't use the term "fourth person" in this book. She
does discuss most of the ideas people have meant by "fourth person",
including obviative (itself having several meanings), logophoric
pronouns, long-distance reflexive pronouns, and indefinite-reference-
person pronouns (like English "one"). But she does each under its
own heading, not under "fourth person".)
Siewierska points out on pp. 82-83 that natlangs have little use for
a separate word for the 1+1 group as opposed to the 1+2, 1+3, and
John, I think you also mightn't need a separate word for this.
[DIFFERENT SECOND-PERSON PLURALS]
[DEPENDING ON INCLUDING OR EXCLUDING THIRD PERSONS]
On the same pages (82-83) Siewierska also points out,
with supporting documentation from three famous linguists,
that natlangs have little use for a separate word
in the plural number
for the 2+2 group as opposed to the 2+3 group;
but, John, I think
you may specifically desire to make such a distinction.
In the footnote (at the foot of page 83) to the above comment,
she mentions that languages with a /dual/
may very well distinguish
between the 2+2 group and the 2+3 group
in the /dual/ number
(as opposed to the plural number).
(The questions then would become, whether, which, and how does the
language designate and distinguish the groups 2+2+2, 2+2+3, and 2+3+3
in plural number? I'll get back to this.)
An example is in the Ponapean paradigm (33) on page 89,
which gives "kumwa" for 2+2 dual, but "ira" for 2+3 dual.
As for the 2+2+2 vs 2+2+3 vs 2+3+3 distinction:
If the language distinguishes between 2+2 and 2+3 in the dual,
then it can (and some of them do) distinguish, in the plural,
between, on the one hand, 2+2+2,
and on the other hand, 2+2+3 and 2+3+3.
But, if it has no "determinate" number greater than dual but less
than plural (i.e. if it has no trial number -- paucal won't do
because paucal is /in/determinate) -- then, if I read her correctly,
no natlang attests distinguishing the 2+2+3 and 2+3+3 groups from
each other in paucal or plural.
[DIFFERENT FIRST-PERSON PLURALS]
[DEPENDING ON WHICH OTHER PERSONS ARE INCLUDED AND EXCLUDED]
On pp. 85-87 Sierwieska discusses the ways languages handle
the three groups 1+2, 1+3, and 1+2+3 in the plural number.
She summarizes the attested ways (not their relative frequency)
in table 3.1 on her page 86.
-For each one of the three groups, a language can either have a word,
or not have a word.
-If there are just two of the groups for which the language has a
word, it can either have the same word for both groups, or a
different word for each group.
-If each of the three groups can be a referent of some word in the
language, there are "basically" three choices again;;
--there can be just one word that means any of the three groups,
--each group can have its own word, or
--one group can have its own word, while another word means either of
the other two groups.
That could lead to fifteen different patterns, but actually only
seven are in her Table 3.1.
That is because, if there is a word for some group(s) and there is
not a word for some other group(s), there is only one attested
there must be only one word, it must mean both groups 1+2 and 1+2+3,
and group 1+3 must be the group for which there is no word.
All five conceivable patterns in which each group can be referred to
by some word, are actually attested.
On pages 87 and 88 she says half the world's languages just have one
word for all three groups (like "we" do), and a third of them have
one word for 1+2 and 1+2+3 ("inclusive"), and another word for 1+3
The third most common pattern is attested by only 4% of the languages
in her database, she says; that is the pattern that distinguishes all
three groups, each by its own word.
Let us know what progress you've been making!
Thanks for writing.
Tom H.C. in MI