Edith A Moravcsik
edith at CSD.UWM.EDU
Mon Dec 25 19:06:59 UTC 2000
In the beginning of December, I posted a query regarding the grammatical
means that languages use to differentiate between the following two
(a) John and Mary went to the party together.
(b) John and Mary went to the party separately.
I was interested in ways of expressing these two meanings other than by
the use of different adverbs - as in English - and other than the use of
the comitative case on "Mary" in (a). More particulary, I was wondering if
there were languages with alternative forms for 'and' that express the two
meanings while keeping the equal status of the conjuncts.
The eight responses all came directly to my e-mail address. I would like,
once again, to thank to the respondents. Here is a summary. On request, I
can reproduce more detail from the responses.
LUIS OQUENDO noted that in the Wayuunaiki language, the word -_jeh_ 'and'
has different additional meanings.
ELENA MASLOVA referred me to a paper by Suzanne Kemmer.
The reference is this: "Collective and distributive meaning, or: where
unity meets multiplicity." 23rd LACUS Forum 1996, edited by Alan K. Melby,
Chapel Hill, NC: Linguistic Association of Canada and the US, 231-249.
It is indeed an interesting study focussing on the expressions of verbal
collectivity and distributivity and showing, among others, that either can
be expressed with a reciprocity marker.
MARK DONOHUE reports that in Tukang Besi there are three ways of
expressing these two meanings, one ambiguous between 'together' and
'separately' and two specific to these meanings. The three expressions
differ in verb form, in particles, and in whether the two conjuncts are
adjacent or not. See Mark Donohue: _A grammar of Tukang Besi_. Berlin:
Mouton de Gruyter. Grammar Library Series, #20. 1999.
ANVITA ABBI reports in Hindi, a redpulicated comitative form is used for
the 'together' meaning. An alternative is a construction that is ambiguous
between the two meaning:
it consists of an unreduced coordination of the two sentences 'John went
to the party.' and 'Mary went to the party' conjoined with the word _aur_
and the inclusive emphatic particle added to 'Mary'.
JOHN OLE ASKEDAL provided Norwegian data. The contrast is made with the
use of the adverb for 'together' versus the use of a reflexive form for
the 'separately' meaning.
URSULA DOLESCHAL noted the Slavic "my s toboj" construction
("we with you", where "we" is in reference to 'I' and 'you'
only). She suggested, however, that native speakers of Russian and Slovene
would need to be consulted to make sure these constructions did indeed
unambiguously convey the meaning of 'together' in these two languages.
ALEXANDRA Y. AIKHENVALD provided information on a similar construction in
Tariana (Arawak) - a language for which she has just completed a
voluminous grammar. For the expression of the 'together' meaning, the
second conjunct is in the comitative case and the verb is in the third
For the 'separately' meaning, a coordinating enclitic is used on the
second conjunct instead of the comitative, with the verb, again, in third
ANDREJ MALCHUKOV reported on Even (Tungusic). Both meanings are expressed
the same basic way, which involves the comitative on the second conjunct
and the verb in the third person plural; the only difference is that for
the 'separately' meaning, the verb carries a distributive affix. For
further information, see Melchukov's article
entitled "Verbal distributivity and valency in Even",
_Languages of the world_ (LINCOM), 1992. #3. (I have not yet been able to
get hold of it.)
Edith A. Moravcsik
Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
E-mail: edith at uwm.edu
Telephone: (414) 229-6794 /office/
(414) 332-0141 /home/
Fax: (414) 229-2741
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