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Relative clauses in Ikanirae Seru

From:Estel Telcontar <estel_telcontar@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 16, 2003, 6:36
Hi, I've stopped being nomail, at least for a few days, till the next
essay crunch comes along.

Here is the promised tale of the Ikanirae Seru relative clause.

So, I figured I'd have Ikanirae Seru make relative clauses by simply
adding the little relative marker |se| before a normal clause (I gloss
it as "that"), so to say "the boy who is silent" Ikanirae Seru would

rao se eki tu toku
boy that he be silent

So far so good.

A day or two later, I tried making a sentence like "I am a woman who
eats meat." (i.e. I'm not a vegetarian)  I wondered whether the pronoun
in the relative clause would be first person, matching "I", or third
person, matching "woman".  Would it be

uti tu kosama se uti tame ketu a.
I  be woman that I eat meat STATEMENT.

or would it be

uti tu kosama se eki tame ketu a.
I  be woman that she eat meat STATEMENT.

As I said them to myself, I realized that both were allowed, but that
they had different emphases: the first version implies that I'm the one
under discussion, and that I'm telling you more about myself.  The
second implies that eating meat, being vegetarian, or some unknown
woman who eats meat is under discussion, and I am either identifying
myself as a member of the category of meat-eaters, or saying that I am
in fact the unidentified meat-eating woman.  So I thought that was
rather neat, to accidentally find I had a distinction that English
doesn't have.

Then I tried making relative clauses containing a transitive verb where
both subject and object are pronouns.  I realized then that it was
ambiguous which pronoun referred to the antecedent:

manikoso se eki seru na eki
man    that he talk about him

could mean either
"the man that he talks about"
"the man that talks about him"

So, to disambiguate, one can put the little word |ini| "self" after the
pronoun that refers back to the antecedent, giving the disambiguated

manikoso se eki seru na eki ini
man    that he talk about him self
"the man that he talks about"


manikoso se eki ini seru na eki
man    that he self talk about him
"the man that talks about him"

|ini| is also the reflexive pronoun, so if we omit the second pronoun
we also have the sentence:

manikoso se eki seru na ini
man    that he talk about self
"the man that talks about himself"

So, that's the story of the relative clause

(Anyone know about a natlang that marks relative clauses in a similar
way, using a marker like my |se|?  What do such natlangs do about the
ambiguity I found?)


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Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>