[Lingtyp] Query re anaphoric object pronouns

Bohnemeyer, Juergen jb77 at buffalo.edu
Mon Dec 16 11:04:22 EST 2019


Dear Martin et al. — There is also a (I think) well-established tendency in cross-reference systems to zero-realize 3SG object pronouns. This is for example the case throughout Mayan. Thus we get in Yucatec:

T-inw=il-ah-∅
PRV-A1SG=see-CMP-B3SG
‘I saw him/her/it’

T-uy=il-ah-en
PRV-A3SG=see-CMP-B1SG
‘(S)he/it saw me’

I wonder whether this carries over to free object pronouns as well, that is, whether 3rd person pronouns are more likely to be omitted than SAP pronouns and SG ones more likely than plural ones. This would obviously make sense based on general principles of information distribution/retrieval in a rational speech act framework. 

(And as a side note, there is an interesting issue here regarding what we mean ‘obligatory’.)

Best — Juergen

> On Dec 16, 2019, at 10:30 AM, Alex Francois <francois at vjf.cnrs.fr> wrote:
> 
> dear Martin,
> 
> One dimension you forgot to mention, and which appears crucial to me for any study of that sort, is animacy.  
> I can think of many languages where zero-anaphora is allowed (or even the rule) for inanimate patients, while it would be less possible for animate ~ human ones.
> 
> I think this is true, for example, for the Mandarin example you cite:
> 
> 今天早上我见到了她。
> Jīntiān  zǎoshang  wǒ   jiàndào le   tā.
> today    morning   1sg  see     PFT  3sg:(Fem)
> 'I saw her this morning.'
> 
> 今天早上我见到了。
> Jīntiān zǎoshang  wǒ  jiàndào le  ∅.
> today   morning   1sg see     PFT ∅
> 'I saw it this morning.'
> 
> (Chinese speakers and experts, please correct me.)
> 
> Mwotlap (and other northern Vanuatu languages) would be similar:   Zero anaphora is the norm for non-human objects, but not expected for human objects:
> 
> No  m-eksas  kē    aqyig         lemtap
> 1sg PFT-see   3sg  today:Past  morning
> 'I saw her this morning.'
> 
> No  m-eksas  ∅    aqyig         lemtap
> 1sg PFT-see   ∅  today:Past  morning
> 'I saw it this morning.'
> 
> I don't think that Mandarin tā qualifies as a clitic;  nor does Mwotlap kē.  
> Insofar as they are obligatorily expressed for animate patients, then these cases would constitute, like English, exceptions to the general principle you're proposing.
> 
> best
> Alex
> Alex François
> 
> LaTTiCe — CNRS–ENS–Sorbonne nouvelle
> Australian National University
> Academia page – Personal homepage
> 
>  
> 
> On Mon, 16 Dec 2019 at 15:13, Haspelmath, Martin <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
> I have a question on 3rd person anaphoric pronouns in the world’s languages. In many languages, these are optional when they refer to a continuous topic, not only in subject (S/A) role, but also in object (P) role. So we get patterns like the following:
> 
>  
> – Have you seen Lee today?
> 
> – Yes, I met (her) in the cafeteria.
> 
>  
> I’m wondering if the following universal tendency is true:
> 
>  
> (U) In almost all languages, if the anaphoric object pronoun is obligatory, it is a bound form (= a form that cannot occur on its own, i.e. an affix or a clitic).
> 
>  
> Spanish and Arabic are examples of languages where the obligatory anaphoric object forms are bound (clitic or affix). English and German are exceptions to this generalization (and perhaps a few other European languages as well).
> 
>  
> But are there many exceptions? According to Siewierska (2004: 43), about two thirds of all languages (223 out of 378 in her WALS chapter) have bound object person forms (= object indexes), so the hypothesized universal tendency is a question about those languages that lack object indexes, and have only independent personal pronouns or demonstratives for object function. Are there many among them which (like English) obligatorily require an overt form in this function?
> 
>  
> Or are most of them like Mandarin Chinese, which according to Wiedenhof (2015: §5.2.2) happily allows zero-anaphora sentences like Nǐ yào ma? [you want Q] ‘Do you want it?’
> 
>  
> I’m interested in all reports of languages outside of Europe which are unlike Mandarin, and like English, in this respect.
> 
>  
> Many thanks,
> 
> Martin
> 
>  
>  
> -- 
> Martin Haspelmath (
> haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
> )
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
> Kahlaische Strasse 10	
> D-07745 Jena  
> &
> Leipzig University
> Institut fuer Anglistik 
> IPF 141199
> D-04081 Leipzig  
> 
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp

Juergen Bohnemeyer (He/Him)
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies 
Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science 
University at Buffalo 

Office: 642 Baldy Hall, UB North Campus * Mailing address: 609 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260 
Phone: (716) 645 0127 
Fax: (716) 645 3825 * Email: jb77 at buffalo.edu * Web: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/ 

Office hours Tu/Th 3:30-4:30pm


There’s A Crack In Everything - That’s How The Light Gets In (Leonard Cohen)



More information about the Lingtyp mailing list