VS: nominal-internal person agreement

Denis Creissels Denis.Creissels at UNIV-LYON2.FR
Sat Sep 29 13:29:16 UTC 2012

In Tswana too, the pronoun can be omitted. I think this is general in Bantu


Denis Creissels



De : Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] De
la part de Daniel W. Hieber
Envoyé : samedi 29 septembre 2012 14:29
Objet : Re: VS: nominal-internal person agreement


Swahili has this feature too, unsurprisingly:


sisi s-ote

we 1p-all

'all of us'


ninyi ny-ote

you(pl.) 2p-all

'all of you'


Interestingly, you can also omit the pronoun and just say sote, nyote, wote,


Other examples:


Sisi sote tu-me-kwend-a ku-le.

We all 1p-PERF-go-IND LOC-DEM

'We have all gone there.'


Ki-tamba ch-ote ni ki-chafu.

7-cloth 7-all COP 7-dirty

'All the cloth is dirty.'

'The whole cloth is dirty.'


Ny-umba z-ote ni z-angu.

10-house 10-all COP 10-1s.POSS

'All the houses are mine.'


Examples are taken from the following source, and my grammatically
judgements agree with all of them.


Wilson, Peter. 1970. Simplified Swahili. Essex: Longman.





Omnis habet sua dona dies. ~ Martial

On Sep 29, 2012, at 7:25 AM, Fabre Alain <alain.fabre at TUT.FI> wrote:

I have similar examples from my Nivacle data (Mataguayo family, Paraguayan
xa-niôs-e-sh-elh    ya’-lhakôm’a-elh
1A-ask-3P-instr-pl    1S-all-pl
‘All of us ask about it’

shn-ôk-e-i        kun    kas-lhakôm’a
1pl.incl-go-3-apl.loc    courtesy    1pl.incl.-all
‘Let’s go there!’

-lhakôm’a ‘all’ agrees with the subject of the preceeding verb.  The
personal prefixes of –lhakôm’a are ambiguous, because the same prefixes are
used for predicative nouns and property verbs (as well as other kinds of
verbs). All translational equivalents of adjectives are inflected like
predicative nouns and other types of verbs. However, as Nivacle makes
extensive use of multi-verb constructions, the above examples could also be
analysed as (asyndetic) coordinated VPs.
All the best,
Alain Fabre

Lähettäjä: Discussion List for ALT [LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG]
käyttäjän Pattie Epps [pepps at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU] puolesta
Lähetetty: 29. syyskuuta 2012 7:10
Aihe: nominal-internal person agreement

Hello all,

This query is on behalf of Steve Wechsler:

It has been noted that (at least some) Bantu languages have person
agreement inside certain Quantified Noun Phrases:

Thina s-onke   si-fik-ile            (Zulu; Doke 1963:94, cited in
Baker 2008:115)
we     1pl-all    1pl-arrive-perf
'We have all arrived.'

The quantifier onke 'all' agrees with thina 'we' in person (and
number).  This is said to be typologically rare since adnominals such
as quantifiers do not normally agree in person.  I would be interested
in any examples of such apparently nominal-internal person agreement
in Bantu or other languages.  In particular, I wonder if phrases like
[we 1pl-all] can occur in all nominal positions in the sentence (such
as object position), or rather tend to be sentence-initial.

Steve Wechsler
wechsler at mail.utexas.edu

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