demonstrative or pronoun?

Siva Kalyan sivakalyan.princeton at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 7 16:30:02 UTC 2009


In Tamil (on the telephone) one would use the name followed by the verb for
'speak' in the first person singular. See Asher and Annamalai's (2002)
textbook (
http://books.google.com/books?id=iMZpM40xFfsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=asher+tamil&ei=xlR8SrKtG4HUlAS4irSmDQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false)
for an example.
In languages such as Japanese, which are pro-drop and where verbs don't
inflect for person and number, I imagine it would be hard to tell the two
possibilities apart (in this case, both would be simply *Jon desu*).

Hope this helps.
Siva

On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 5:52 AM, Olesya Khanina <khanina at eva.mpg.de> wrote:

> Dear David,
>
> the same in Russian
>
> Regards,
> Olesya
>
>
> Siewierska, Anna wrote:
>
>> Dear David,
>>
>> In Polish you would use the demonstrative, To Jan.
>>
>> Best
>>
>> Anna
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG]
>> On Behalf Of David Gil
>> Sent: 07 August 2009 15:09
>> To: LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG
>> Subject: demonstrative or pronoun?
>>
>> Dear all,
>>
>> Consider the following very similar contexts;
>>
>> Context A:
>> John and Bill are friends.  John calls Bill on a landphone; it's a bad
>> line, Bill doesn't know who is speaking; John tries to identify himself
>> (using a predicate nominal construction)...
>>
>> Context B:
>> John and Bill are friends.  John sends Bill a text message from a new
>> number that Bill is unfamiliar with; John identifies himself (using a
>> predicate nominal construction)...
>>
>> My question:
>>
>> In languages that you are familiar with, in the above contexts, is the
>> subject of the predicate nominal construction a demonstrative or a 1st
>> pronoun pronoun?
>>
>> In English, the subject is a demonstrative; the pronoun is infelicitous in
>> the given context:
>>
>> This is John
>> #I am John
>>
>> But in Indonesian, the subject is most commonly a pronoun, though a
>> demonstrative is also possible:
>>
>> Ini John [less common]
>> Aku John
>>
>> I am curious to know what happens in other languages.  (I have a hunch
>> that the availability of the "pronominal subject" option in Indonesian is
>> correlated with the questionable status of pronouns as a discrete
>> grammatical category in Indonesian, but this hunch is easily testable with a
>> bit of cross-linguistic data.)
>>
>> Note: I don't expect to find differences between the two contexts; I
>> provided both just in order to make the situation more natural to as many
>> respondents as possible.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> David
>>
>>
>>
>
> --
> ****************************************************************
> Olesya Khanina (PhD)
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Department of Linguistics
> Deutscher Platz 6       phone:    +49 (0) 341 35 50 339
> D-04103 Leipzig         fax:      +49 (0) 341 35 50 333
> Germany                 e-mail:    khanina at eva.mpg.de
> http://email.eva.mpg.de/~khanina/
> ****************************************************************
>
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