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Mandarin pronouns (ta1) [Was: a question about names]

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Thursday, September 30, 2004, 12:27
John Cowan wrote:

> Mark J. Reed scripsit: > > >>Among natlangs, I'm given to >>understand that the Mandarin 3rd-person singular pronoun used to be >>genderless, but modern Mandarin (under Western influence, I presume) has >>introduced a specifically-female version while continuing to use the >>genderless to refer to males - which seems a step backwards >>sexual-equity-wise, IMHO. > > > Only in writing: the 3rd person pronoun is still ta1 for animates and > (normally) zero for inanimates; applying ta1 to inanimates is a product > of translationese.
Or a necessary strategy where the syntax requires a pronoun. Li & Thompson give an example (4.138): He2lan2 di4fang4 fei1chang2 xiao3 wo3men zhi1dao ta1 Holland place unusually small we know 3sg de jing1ji4 wen4ti2 bu jian3dan1 ASSOC economy problem not simple "Holland is a small country. We know its economic problems are not simple". Though L&T further note: "As a general rule, the third person pronoun, ta1, serving as a topic or as a topic that also functions as a subject does not refer to an inanimate entity" ObConlang: My current project, Tiemish(1), as the attached URL suggests, is broadly inspired, nay stolen, from Mandarin. It's the closest thing to a relex I've done. OTOH, it's intended as something straight-forward that I can easily write texts in and become familiar with, and later it will serve as the mother of a very unruly brood of ill-behaved and unusably-complex conlangs :) s. -- Stephen Mulraney This post brought to you by the letter 3 and the number 0xF


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>