Pronouns and deixis

aldai aldai at USC.EDU
Thu Sep 23 00:18:00 UTC 1999

About the correlation between pronouns for Speech Act Participants (SAP)
and deixis in Basque.

Trask (1997:197):
	"The intensive personal pronouns have been constructed
	 by adding a demonstrative to the absolutive or genitive of the
	ordinary personal pronouns, with variable results:
	for example, NI 'I' gives NIHAUR, NEU (both NI + HAU(R) 'this')
	or NERAU (NEURE 'my' + HAU(R)), while ZU 'you' gives ZUHAUR, ZEU
	(HAU(R) 'this') or ZERORI (HORI 'that')".

In a speculative reconstruction of the demonstrative system of pre-Basque,
I have proposed there to be two layers within these forms. First, and more
generally, I have proposed that pre-BAsque developed a three-way system of
demonstratives out of a two-way system.

[[[By the way, this is someting I wanted to mention at the ALT III talk by
Cuzzolin, Luaraghi & Ricca; when they spoke about a general evolution
within southern European languages towards a three-way system of
demonstratives. Although, my hypothesis for Basque has to be taken with
all reserves. As a matter of fact, the *official* opinion, due to
Mitxelena 1979, defends just the opposite:

as in Trask (1997:198):
	"There is little reason to doubt the antiquity of the three
	demonstratives, (all of which show mysterious stem-alternations
	for which no explanation has yet been forthcoming)"]]]

Coming back to the intensive personal pronouns, I have proposed that
NIHAUR and NEU are older in the language than NERAU and parallely ZUHAUR
and ZEU are older than ZERORI.

The older intensive pronouns (NEU, NIHAUR, ZEU, ZUHAUR) added the same
demonstrative HAU(R) to both 1st and 2nd personal pronouns. I have
proposed that this happened in the stage of pre-language where there was
just a two-way distinction: PROXIMAL *HAUR vs. DISTAL *HA. Both 1st and
2nd persons were, then, related to the proximal and the non-person (3rd
person) was related to the distal, as in the intensive-reflexive BER-A
'he, she'.

In a more recent stage of language, whose behavior can still be found in
Old BAsque, we would find the intensives NER-AU 'myself' vs. ZER-ORI
'yourself'. This already shows a three-way demonstrative system (as in
Modern BAsque) where the 1st person is related to the proximal HAU, the
2nd person to the mesial HORI and the 3rd person to the distal HA.

Like i just said, this behavior is also found in treatment formulae of Old
BAsque texts, such as "I sinner", "your humble servant", "your sanctity",
"her majesty", and so forth, which would be respectively: NI BEKATARI-AU,
well as in the highly respectful second-person singular of Western
varieties: BER-ORI 'you' (BER- 'self' + HORI 'that mesial').

Gontzal Aldai

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