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Phaleran update: Demonstratives; obligatory obviatives

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 10:42
In my last post on Phaleran, I mentioned Phaleran's
demonstrative system.  Here's some information on
that, as well as some other oddities about Phaleran.


The demonstrative system is complex by Standard Average
European standards:  it employs three degrees of spatial
deixis, two degrees of visibility, two degrees of time,
and three degrees of formality.  Space incorporates aspects
of discourse into spatiality, as objects are considered
according to their proximity both to the speaker and to
the hearer.  Formality is a function of the social
difference between the speaker and the hearer.  This
embodies age, caste, occupation, and genetic relationship.
A younger person of low rank with no kinship to the hearer
and whose caste is much lower will use a highly
lexicalized honorific demonstrative.  Visibility and
time do not operate entirely without respect to one
another, since things that are distant in time are likely
also to be distant in space. For this reason, there are
fewer distinct demonstrative dimensions.  All of this
can be summarized in the following diagram:

Near speaker, near hearer (roughly, "this")
            Visible, Same time     Invisible, Same time
Informal        siwo                   swotli
Formal          siwom                  swondri
Honorific       c|anta                 c|andri
            Visible, Diff. time    Invisible, Diff. time
                swotwam                  *
                *swontwam              melas
                *c|antwam                *

Not near speaker, near hearer (roughly, "that")
            Visible, Same time     Invisible, Same time
Informal        aia                    aiatli
Formal          aiam                   aiandri
Honorific       c|'el                  (c|'elli)
            Visible, Diff. time    Invisible, Diff. time
                aiatwam                   *
                *aiantwam               ?eltu
                *c|'eltwam                *

Not near speaker, not near hearer (roughly, "yonder")
            Visible, Same time     Invisible, Same time
Informal        heo                    heotli
Formal          (hyum)                 (hyundri)
Honorific       neigwa                   *
            Visible, Diff. time    Invisible, Diff. time
                heotwam                  *
                (hyuntwam)             wensa
                *neigwatwam              *

Not every possible combination of meanings is actually
extant. Some constructions, those marked with an
asterisk, would be readily understood and not thought
strange, but are nonetheless only infrequently used.
Others are used, but only in certain dialects, and not
in the standard; these are in parentheses.   Also,
note that invisibility is not simply a fourth level of
deixis as in some languages (i.e., so far away you can't
see it);  it can actually refer to things that are
nearby, but for whatever reason one can't see them.
Note that the honorifics all use a different root than
lower levels of formality.  These are all borrowings
from C|'ali, which for a long time was the elite cultural
 language and the source of learned borrowings. Servants,
 who at that time spoke Phaleran, were forced to speak
C|'ali in the presence of their masters. When the tables
turned, and Phalerans overthrew the C'ali order at the
time of the Collapse, they still kept their learned
borrowings, which had by this time become naturalized
into the language.

Obviates as obligatory anaphora

The third person in Phaleran distinguishes two different
types of pronoun: proximative and obviative.  The basic
difference between the two is that proximative pronouns
are more topical nouns in the sentence, while obviative
pronouns are considered less important information.
Usually, it is simply a matter of choice which one is
used. The only exception to this rule is when one is
referring to possessed items, which must obligatorily
be used with obviative pronouns:

  Kala ahrallu  t?eri     eotwo      kwaminti
  once lord.ERG slave.ABS 3SgDatProx buy-a-slave.MID.3SgPfRe.S

  eo       swontaþnunti;           ellei   aima    mâ
  3SgSProx head.nod.CAUS.3SgPfRe.S 3SgSObv however not

  'Once a lord bought himself a slave.  The one approved
   of the idea; the other, however, did not.'(Phaleran proverb)

Although the last English sentence is in fact two Phaleran
main clauses, a proximative pronoun in the second is
ungrammatical (*eo aima mâ).

Thomas Wier <trwier@...> <>

             "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
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