Pronouns and deixis

Max Wheeler maxw at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Mon Sep 27 15:29:59 UTC 1999

-- Begin original message --

> From:         Scott DeLancey <delancey at DARKWING.UOREGON.EDU>
> Date:         Fri, 24 Sep 1999 15:39:05 -0700

> Quite true, and yes, quite disappointing--the parallellism I/you/3rd::
> proximal/distal/far distal is *so* enticing.  Is it possible that one
> reason we see so little evidence for deictic connections for 1st/2nd
> pronouns, in contrast to the overwhelming evidence that distal or far
> distal demonstratives are the ordinary source for 3rd person pronouns,
> is simply that 1st and 2nd pronouns are diachronically very stable,
> so we don't have sufficient data on where they come from when they
> are renewed?
> Scott DeLancey

Italian is quite interesting where <ci>, originally, and still also, a clitic
locative adverb, probably < Latin proximal <hic>, has become 1pl object
clitic; the 2pl object clitic <vi> may have two sources: (1) Latin <vos> (2pl
Nom/Acc pronoun), (2) Latin <ibi> (mesial locative adverb). To put it another
way, as clitics, <ibi> and <vos> may, fortuitously, have become homonymous
/vi/, setting up a path for <ci> (locative) to take on the role of 1pl
clitic, replacing expected *ni < <nos>.

As far as I can tell, though <ci> and <vi> are both in current use as
locative clitics, they are no longer really distinguishable as 'proximal' vs.


Max W. Wheeler
School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex

Tel: +44 (0)1273 678975 Fax: +44 (0)1273 671320 Email: maxw at

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