demonstrative or pronoun

bingfu Lu lubingfu at YAHOO.COM
Sun Aug 9 20:55:07 UTC 2009

Claude is right, Chinese tends to use ‘wo shi X (I be X).  However, ‘zhe shi X’ (this be X) is also allowed.  The difference, I guess, is as follows.
In the speaker’s intuition, “I” is more identifiable to the hearer than “this”. That is, if the speaker thinks the hearer is easy to find out who is speaking, he will use ‘I’, either due to noisy environment of unexpectedness.   If he thinks it is pretty hard for the hearer to identify who is speaking, he will use ‘this’ instead. 
The same is hold for Context 2.

--- On Sat, 8/8/09, claude-hagege <claude-hagege at WANADOO.FR> wrote:

From: claude-hagege <claude-hagege at WANADOO.FR>
Subject: demonstrative or pronoun
Date: Saturday, August 8, 2009, 8:49 AM

Dear all, 
- French says c'est Jean or c'est moi. 
- Chinese says wo shi X ("I am X"). 
- Colloquial Tunisian Arabic, and literary Arabic (when used at all in oral conversation by phone!), which have no verb be in the present, say ana ("(it's) me") or Mohammed ("(it's) Mohammad"), or huna Mohammad "here Mohammed". This stresses that the deictic adverb meaning "here" is a third option, in languages, beside demonstratives and pronouns, all three being semantically linked, since "here", for instance, is "the place where ego is". Cf. also the relationship, in Japanese, between kochira "here" and ego: beside X desu,mentioned by Siva Kalyan, it is usual, in Japanese, to say kochira Tanaka "here (="ego") Tanaka".
    Demonstratives and pronouns seem to be equally distributed in this context among languages . Recall that diachronically, in many languages, pronouns originate from deictic forms.
All best
Claude Hagège, Collège de France, Paris

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list