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Mixed person plurals

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Monday, July 4, 2005, 6:45
Hi all,

I've been thinking about the plurals of personal (and relative) pronouns
For background information, my conlang has 4 different persons. I think the
exact difference between 3rd and 4th persons varies between languages - I'm
using the 3rd for people who are in the discussion but who are not the
recipient of the message, and 4th for any extrenal beings, regardless of
their sentience.

So, now I'm faced with the problem of mixed person plurals. It seems to me
that NONE of the generic plurals are pure; eg the generic "2nd person
plural" may well include also people who would be 3rd or 4th person, if
individually referred to.
I could go for a very finely distinctive system, by using different words
for ALL the plural types - 13 different ones are possible: 1+2, 1+3, 1+4,
1+2+3, 1+2+4, 1+3+4, 1+2+3+4, 2, 2+3, 2+4, 2+3+4, 3, 3+4, 4 - but a system
this wide does not seem sensible. However, with regards to this, I do want
to distinguish more than just the generic three or four.

The same problem applies to relative pronouns. I'm not sure of the
terminology used for their classification, but it seems to me that the
singular ones in eg. English correspond roughly with my 2nd, 3rd and 4th
persons. I have two rel. pron. sets, one for abstracts and one for concrete
objects (with the 4th concrete merged with the 4th person), and the 7 later
classes of plurals are again possible in both series here.
Not to mention plurals mixing pronouns from different series altogether
(like 1st person with 4th abstract), but those seem generally a little too
unuseful. A few variants of "all" and a few variants of "person +
possessions" should be enough for those.

The question is: what plural types do you think would be the most likely to
merge? I'm fairly sure that at least the 1+2+4 type is of too little use to
warrant a word on its own. Some types might exist only for certain numbers
(obviously the mixed plurals can have no singular, and eg 1+2 might only
have a dual) ... other restrictions might be possible too.
Oh, and any ANADEWism changes here? What's the most different personal
pronouns (disregarding gender) distinguished in a natlang?

John Vertical

3 vrk:n sääennuste


# 1 <salut_vous_autre@...>
Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>