Pronouns and deixis

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Wed Sep 22 08:54:28 UTC 1999

Dear all,

as far as I understood Suzan's query some days ago it concerned the
question of how personal (!) pronouns and deixis may appear
paradigmatically coupled. The answers that appeared on the list so far
mainly dealt with the 'third person' and its interaction with deixis.
The problem related to this 'person' (or better 'non-personne' in the
Benveniste tradition) is that it presupposes a clear cut between these
two linguistic 'categories' which - as we all know - does not exist in
an universal perspective. Deixis in fact IS nothing but a
'non-personne'. In case the latter is paradigmatically opposed to deixis
(such as in English) it is usually grammaticalized from deictic
structures (Kurylowicz's 'secondary function'). It takes no wonder that
the functional affiliation of deixis and third person may result in a
paradigmatic merger, something like '(s)he-here', '(s)he-there'. I guess
that such a merger is documented in many language systems that show a
third person/deixis distinction [often, however, a merger of the type
'(s)he-here' etc. may be restricted to a non-standard variety - but that
does not matter (and never should!)]. All this is trivial and
well-known, I think.
	But what appears more problematic to me is the possible correlation
between pronouns for Speech Act Participants (SAP) and deixis. At a
first glance, this correlation seems very plausible: EGO (which becomes
SAP(1) in communication) is embodied as 'inner', TU (> SAP(2)) is
embodied as 'outer'. From this a deictic space is construed by the
individual that correlates the speaker to the 'inner' space that is
indexed by a proximal deixis whereas SAP(2) is correlated to a medial or
distal (depending on the general way of how the deictic space is
subcategorized/organized). EGO > SAP(1) becomes the communicative
center, some kind of landmark, the 'region' of which can be 'penetrated'
by the trajector TU (> SAP(2)) [note that in communication 'role
swapping' takes place (Mead 1934) which may considerably disturb this
prototypical system]. Myrkin 1964 ('Tipologija lichnogo mestoimenija i
vprosy rekonstrukcii ego v indoevropejskom aspekte' (VJa 1964,5:78-86)),
Majtinskaka 1966 ('K proisxozhdeniju mestoimennyx slov v jazykax raznyx
tipov' (VJa 1996,1:15-25)), and Majtinskaja 1968 ('K tipologii svazi
lichnyx i ukazatel'nyx mestoimenij v jazykax raznyx tipov' (VJa
1968,3:31-40)) have elaborated a localistic theory of personal pronouns
(the results, however, should be reconsidered in the light of diachronic
typology, cognitive typology, and functional grammar).
	The concept of 'deixis and personal pronouns' represents a major
starting point in Indoeuropean linguistics to tackle the problem of PIE
personal pronouns (cf. Liebert 1957, Erhart 1970, G. Schmidt 1978, and
many others (see Schulze 1998 for the full references) - note that again
the arguments are mostly built on 'internal functinal reconstruction').
	The most surpising thing - in my view - is that though the derivation
of personal pronouns from deictic paradigms which would predict
structures like 'I-here', 'you-there' etc. just in the some way as
'(s)-here' etc. can be predicted) we only have weak evidence from
typology that this correlation really forms the basis for the
grammaticalization of EGO (> SAP(1), TI (>SAP(2) etc. The evidence is so
weak that - inspite of Majtinskaja 1968 - we cvannot claim that this
correlation is 'natural' on a linguistic level. Obviously, many other
things interfere in the formation of personal pronouns that obscure the
basic cognitive relationship between deixis and personality. I have
elaborated the whole problem (in pieces) in Schulze 1998: Person,
Klasse, Kongruenz (PKK), vol 1.2:575-601 (M√ľnchen/Newcastle: Lincom) -
the second volume of PKK ('Die Person') will trat the problem ine xtenso
(hopefully, PKK II will be out in December 1999).


[Note: My email address has been modified: Please use
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| Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
| Institut fuer Allgemeine und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft
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