Inclusive - Exclusive

Frank Lichtenberk (FOA LING) f.lichtenberk at
Thu Dec 20 02:46:27 UTC 2001

Dear fellow Austronesianists,

I'm undertaking a study of the inclusive-exclusive distinction in
Austronesian and would appreciate data on the languages you are familiar
with. I'm not after the simple existence of the distinction, which is the
norm in Austronesian. Here are the things I'm interested in:

1. Semantic extension or shifts in the reference of the inclusive or the
exclusive pronouns or various pronominal categories (clitics, affixes). This
seems to affect primarily the inclusive forms. In some languages the
inclusive pronoun(s) can be used to establish or maintain "solidarity", as
if the speaker and the addressee were part of the same (social, family,
etc.) group, when in fact they are not.  In some languages they can be used
impersonally, generically, meaning something like 'one' (French on). And in
some languages they can be used with singular reference, referring to the
speaker. (In some languages this is a matter of style/register; in others
what used to be a non-singular form has become a singular form, with a new
non-singular form coming in.)

I would appreciate informnation on, and examples of, such extensions and
shifts, and any others you know of, whether they involve the inclusive or
the exclusive forms.

2. In some languages the inclusive-exclusive distinction has disappeared.
I'm interested in knowing which of the earlier pronouns, the inclusive or
the exclusive one, if any, continues as the sole first person plural (dual,
etc.) form. There is some evidence from the data I have that it is the
inclusive form that is more likely to acquire that function, but there is an
interesting (and, I think, revealing) twist in Tukang Besi (information from
Donohue 1999), where the earlier inclusive form has become the first person
plural form and the earlier exclusive form has become the first person
paucal form. It's only in the first person that there is a plural-paucal
distinction in Tukang Besi.

I would appreciate such information on languages that have lost the
inclusive-exclusive distinction.

Thank you very much. I'll post a summary.

Frank Lichtenberk

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