Hindi and Gujarati discontinuous NPs

Thomas Wiederhold th.wiederhold at GOOGLEMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 23 12:14:19 UTC 2008

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Dear all,

I'm preparing a paper on discontinuous NPs (DNP) in some Indian languages.  
I got two sets of data that I would be interested in judgements from  
native speakers. It concerns discontinuous NPs in Hindi and Gujarati, I  
got conflicting judgements from different people, but unfortunately some  
of them were not-quite-native speakers. Still, even between native  
speakers there seems to be some variation. I just would like to know how  
widespread this variation is...

Here's the set of Hindi sentences I need more judgements for. Keep in mind  
that the construction might be quite marked and that it probably needs a  
proper context for being acceptable. If so, just imagine any context you  
like... (Maybe the left peripheral noun should be read as a contrastive  
topic, but it's really up to you.)

kitaabeN   us-ne  xariidiiN   bahut acchii
books-FEM  he-ERG buy.PST     many.FEM
"He bought many books."

baccoN-ne     kal           kai  yah gaanaa gaayaa    thaa
children-ERG  yesterday     many this song  sing.PERF be.PST
"Many children sang this song yesterday."

bacce     kal      kai  yah   gaanaa gaayeN ge
children  tomorrow many this  song   sing   fut
"Many children will sing this song tomorrow."

For Gujarati native speakers I got the following questions. Of course  
similar considerations regarding proper contexts apply:

These are the two "reference sentences", these should be grammatical:

peter-e   nannu bacchu joyu.
Peter-ERG small child  saw.N
"Peter saw small children."

peter-e   nanna     baccha-ne joyu.
Peter-ERG small.OBL child-ACC saw.N
"Peter saw (the) small children."

Some ellipses:

peter-e   joyu  nanna-ne.
Peter-ERG saw.N small.OBL-ACC
"Peter saw (the) small one."

peter-e   joyu  nanna.
Peter-ERG saw.N small.OBL

peter-e   joyu  nannu-ne.
Peter-ERG saw.N small-ACC

peter-e   joyu  nannu.
Peter-ERG saw.N small

And now finally some DNPs:

baccha-ne peter-e   joyu  nanna.
child-ACC Peter-ERG saw.N small.OBL
"Peter saw (the) small children."

baccha-ne peter-e   joyu  nannu.
child-ACC Peter-ERG saw.N small

bacchu peter-e   joyu  nannu.
child  Peter-ERG saw.N small

bacchu peter-e   joyu  nanna.
child  Peter-ERG saw.N small.OBL

If you know anyone who could be of assistence and isn't on this list, it  
would be great if you could forward this email.
Thanks a lot for your help.

Thomas Wiederhold
DFG-Project FA 255/5 (=Morphosyntax and Phonology of split NPs and PPs)
Linguistics Department
Potsdam University

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