Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Redundant pronouns (was: "Tagalog,it's got a Trigger System," She Said)

From:Pablo Flores <fflores@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 16, 1999, 1:50
Matt Pearson <mpearson@...> wrote:
> Steg Belsky wrote: >=20
> > > > My brother, he told me people in other places don't talk like this. > > His friend Ari, she lives in Jersey. > > Those stupid tourists, they clog up the subways. > > The computer, it broke. >=20 > There's nothing remotely strange or 'grammatically incorrect' about thi=
>=20 > construction at all. It even has a name among linguists: "Left > Dislocation" > (viz. moving one of the verb's arguments to the left edge of the clause > and 'replacing' it with the appropriate pronoun). French and Italian > also have this construction, although in those languages the left- > dislocated element is replaced with a clitic or 'light' pronoun rather > than a full stressed pronoun.
Only when the argument is the object, not the subject as in the examples=20 above. If you say "Ton ami, il n'est pas chez moi", you have "il" ("he") replacing "ton ami". I think there should be a subclassification... I mea= n, if left/right dislocation means "to move a verb's argument to the left/right of the sentence", you should also be able to clarify if that's the usual position for the argument. In Romance languages, as in English,= =20 subjects tend to be before the verb (left side) and objects after it (rig= ht side); but in Romance langs, if the object is a pronoun, it's usually a proclitic (attached to the beginning of the verb). So left dislocation is not such big a deal for a subject, but it certainly is for an object.
>=20 > English, French, and Italian also have Right Dislocation: >=20 > I love him, that man of mine > I've never met him before, that crazy brother of yours
Spanish doesn't have any Left Dislocation, but Right Dislocation is actually the norm... The redudant accusative pronouns are almost always there in colloquial speech even when they're not needed: Yo nunca lo conoc=ED a tu hermano. "I never met him, your brother" (literally "I / never / him / met / to / your / brother"), with no real pause in between. Significantly, this construction is so common that the pattern has spread to sentences where the direct object is not animate, and the preposition "a" ("to") is not normally used. I mean, formally you would say Nunca hab=EDa visto tu casa. "I had never seen your house" but in fact a lot of people say Nunca la hab=EDa visto a tu casa. "I had never seen it, your house" lit. "Never / it / I-had / seen / to / your / house" BTW, why, could it be, is there a difference between animate and inanimat= e objects in Spanish? Does anybody know? The "a" for animate direct objects is a bother when there's also a dative object (though word order and intonation differentiate them).=20 Anyway, there has to be some reason for dislocation. Getting some breath maybe? One would think that, ideally, the more rigid the word order, the more frequent dislocation should be... --Pablo Flores