nominal-internal person agreement

g.corbett at SURREY.AC.UK g.corbett at SURREY.AC.UK
Sun Sep 30 13:01:12 UTC 2012

There is a different sort of nominal-internal person agreement, in Tundra Nenets, as pointed out by Irina Nikolaeva. In phrases like "my while reindeer'", a personal possessive marker on the noun possessum is obligatory while one on the modifier "white" is optional. The data are reported in Corbett (2006: 141-142); the original source is Nikolaeva (2005).

Nikolaeva, Irina. 2005. Modifier-head person concord. In: Morphology and Linguistic Typology: Online
Proceedings of the Fourth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMH4) Catania,
21–23 September 2003. Available at:
Corbett, Greville G. Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Greville Corbett

On 29 Sep 2012, at 15:28, Enrique L. Palancar wrote:

Hello Pattie,

Here is my contribution to Steve Wechsler's query:

Notions such as "all of us came back" in Otomi, a language family of Mexico, are conveyed by a construction involving two juxtaposed clauses, one being a depictive clause referring to the quantification of the subject "we being all" and a main clause "we returned".

Data from Northern Otomi, variety of San Ildefonso Tultepec

dí=ga’tho=he                          dá=penk=he
‘We all came back’

The lexical item which in (1) is a verb, in (2) is a determiner.

pa                bi=’<y>a’= [ga’tho                                               nu=ya    khö’i]
‘To bury all people.’

The  treatment of "all" as a verb is an unsurprising one in Mesoamerican languages.
Hope this helps,

Very best,

Enrique L. Palancar

CNRS (UMR 8202)
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Surrey Morphology Group
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Tel. +44 (0)1483 682856
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 23:10:11 -0500
From: pepps at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU<mailto:pepps at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Subject: 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<mailto:wechsler at>

Greville G. Corbett

Surrey Morphology Group
English (J1)
Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences
University of Surrey
Guildford                                   email: g.corbett at<mailto:g.corbett at>
Surrey, GU2 7XH
Great Britain                               phone:  +44 1483 682849            fax:  +44 1483 686231

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