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Re: About persons

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 23, 2001, 15:44
On Tue, 22 May 2001, jesse stephen bangs wrote:

> dirk elzinga sikayal: > > I noticed something odd in the Uto-Aztecan data you gave here, Dirk. Tell > me if I'm right: > > > Shoshoni (1 is speaker, 2 is listener, and 3 is neither): > > sg du pl > > 1+2 ---- taweh tammen > > Chemehuevi > > 1+2 ---- tami tawe > > It looks to me like /tami/ is cognate to /tammen/, and /tawe/ to /taweh/, > which suggests that some of these forms have switched from dual to plural > over time. Or has one of the languages used an innovative ending that > only coincidentally resembles the endings used in the other language? I > think that they actually switched, because of the following data: > > > Shoshoni > > 1+3 ne neweh nemmen > > 2 en meweh memmen > > 3 suten suteweh suteen > > Chemehuevi > > 1+3 nee nemi > > 2 emi memi > > 3anim iNa ime here > > maNa mame visible > > uNa ume invisible > > Here Ch. -mi or -me, which appear cognate to Sh. -men, always appear as > the plural, suggesting that the use of this same ending for dual in the > 1st person is anomalous. > > Am I right?
You are. The m ~ w alternations in Numic are phonological in origin; intervocalically, an /m/ was realized as a [w] or a nasalized [w~] (as it still is in Shoshoni). If /m/ is geminate, no lenition takes place. So the real alternation in the set is between original geminate /m/ and singleton /m/, which is lenited and shows up as [w]. Consequently, the variation occurs in which set of pronouns induce gemination--the dual or the plural. Some Numic languages have gemination induced by plurals (Shoshoni), others by duals (Chemehuevi). Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "The strong craving for a simple formula has been the undoing of linguists." - Edward Sapir