Demonstrative or Pronoun

Ljuba Veselinova ljuba at LING.SU.SE
Sun Aug 9 11:14:03 UTC 2009

Pour :
David Gil <gil at EVA.MPG.DE>
Copie à :

Dear David, dear all,

    French: beside the "C'est Jean", "C'est moi" mentioned by Claude
Hagège, I'd like to emphasize that the third option, "C'est Jean /
ici" with an adverb of proximity, is also very frequent, especially
when leaving a message on an answering machine (less so if the
addressee answers directly). In this third case, the first segment is
uttered with a falling intonation signalling the Rheme (/Focus), the
second one ("ici", here) with a flat intonation of Mneme

     In Finnish, the situation is in general terms the one described by
Hannu Tommola, but I have noticed from my records that the order of
elements in the nowadays very frequent type of announcement/adverb
(the one condemned by purists), adding an adverb of internal
proximity, is often put (at least in familiar exchanges) in the same
information structural order as in French: "Jouni-Antti / tässä",
with an identifyig given name uttered as a Rheme, followed by a
Mneme. The high frequency of this ultra-proximal adverb is, although
criticized, pragmatically justified: it introduces the addressee
into the speaker's personal sphere (see e.g. Ritva Laury's work on
Finnish demonstratives).

      In Northern Sami, things are very much the same as in Finnish –
apart from the automatical choice of THE adverb of proximity (Samic
languages do not distinguish "internal" from "external" local cases
as Finnic do), most generally with a Rhematic-Mnemematic word order
and prosody: "Jovnna-Ánde / dábbe" ('J.A. / here'), which does not
exclude the formulation "Mon / dábbe" ('I / here'). But as frequent
is the (for outsiders) enigmatic way of identifying oneself:
"Gáibmi / dábbe" 'Homonym / here' (or, more explicite, "- Dábbe lea
du gáibmi" 'Here is your homonym'); favorized by the limited number
of given names available, and the narrowness of the traditional

      Summing up, I partly agree with the Israelian colleague who
strongly supported the corpus-based observation of oral usage for
solving this question, but we can be grateful to David for offering
us the oportunity to collectively reflect upon such problems in the
mid of the summer.

      MMJFV (CNRS, Universités Paris 3 & Paris 4)
Linguistic Institute 2009
Visiting Scholar - Affiliate
University of California
at Berkeley
fernandez-vest at

Ljuba Veselinova
Dept of Linguistics, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-16-2332 Fax: +46-8-15 5389
URL  :

"We learn by going where we want to go."
                                          Julia Cameron

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