demonstrative or pronoun?

p.k.eriksen at ILN.UIO.NO p.k.eriksen at ILN.UIO.NO
Fri Aug 7 16:50:08 UTC 2009

 Dear David.

    In Norwegian one would use a demonstrative.



> 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
> --
> David Gil
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
> Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
> Email: gil at
> Webpage:

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