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Re: "Register" a grammatical term

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Friday, August 22, 2008, 18:47
Jim Henry wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 22, 2008 at 5:16 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote: > >> Jim Henry wrote: >> [snip] >>> ....... It was in a context, I think, where >>> he was arguing against revival of the obsolete-almost-as-soon-as- >>> the-language-was-born intimate pronoun "ci". >> It came across it in a book I came across in 1949 or thereabouts. I have no >> idea whether any Esperantists still used it or not. But in text books it >> seems to lived on for some time, if not in actual use. > > I wasn't around in 1949, but my impression is that it had long since > dropped out of actual use by then.
The book was older - I think it was almost certainly pre-WWII. I found it one day when I was rummaging around in my grandparents' attic. It had a great influence on the conlangs I churned out in my teens ;) [snips]
>>> (He argues, IIRC, >>> that Zamenhof put the intimate pronoun in to satisfy certain speakers >>> of languages with formal/informal pronouns who would complain >>> if it were absent, but deliberately gave it an unpleasant sound >>> so no one would actually us it for very long.) >> What's unpleasant about _ci_ [tsi]? To me it sounds no more or less >> unpleasant than _vi_ or any of the other personal pronouns. > > Piron's lamatyave, I reckon. /t_s/ sounds to me a bit less > pleasant than some other affricates, but not as unpleasant > as a lot of other phonemes.
Indeed not. When one considers that Esperanto has _scii_ [stsi.i] "to know", I find _ci_ by contrast easy and inoffensive. In any case, what else would Zamenhof have chosen? I guess the most obvious would have been _ti_ (like Welsh :) But _ti-_ was already employed as a demonstrative stem. I assume Zamenhof turned to his native Polish where in the oblique cases of _ty_ (thou), the initial _t_ becomes _c_ [ts] before _i_, so for example the genitive is _ciebie_ (cf, dative: tobie). It seems a sensible enough solution to me if one wants such a pronoun. I would guess _ci_ fell out of use simple because the egalitarian spirit among early Esperantists. [snip]
> > I can't quote Piron exactly because I loaned the book > out some years ago and never got it back.
I've lost a few books that way too :)
> So it's possible I'm misremembering exactly what he said.
No worries -- Ray ================================== ================================== Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. [William of Ockham]