[An-lang] Suppletive forms of 1sg+2sg personal pronounclusters

Cena, Resty rcena at epcor.ca
Thu Nov 13 16:49:52 UTC 2003

What I find of some interest (although it may not have any more significance than the clustered form itself) in _kita_ is that it is a cluster of two forms with different grammatical functions (genitive and nominative; at least _kata_ is nominative - nominative) AND what it can tells us, if anything, on the issue of the structure of the Tagalog verbal clause (whether expressions like _nakita ko_ is nominal or verbal), as well as the extent of morphology's disrespect for syntactic boundaries. I can understand the weak boundary, at some level, between Ilocano's _-ak_and the verb (for example, _nabisinak_), but the boundary between Tagalog _ko ikaw_ in sentences like _nakita ko ikaw_ => _nakita kita_, that is to say between the subject and the object, is much too strong, in the traditional sense, to be so disregarded, unless of course the boundary is not that strong after all. Incidentally, _kita_ is ambiguous with two readings: Nakita kita sa tindahan 'I saw you at the store' and 'You and I were seen at the store.' That is, it allows for a nominative-nominative reading. Does anybody know have examples of _nita_?

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Loren A. Billings [SMTP:billings at ncnu.edu.tw]
> Sent:	Thursday, November 13, 2003 5:03 AM
> To:	an-lang at anu.edu.au
> Subject:	Re: [An-lang] Suppletive forms of 1sg+2sg personal pronounclusters
> Dear colleagues,
> Paz Naylor (to the list) and Bob Blust (just to me) pointed something out
> that I was hoping to avoid. Here are the relevant parts of their messages:
> On 11/13/03 10:46 AM, "Paz B. Naylor" <pnaylor at umich.edu> wrote to the list:
> > From what I learned ages ago from sources I can no longer recall, KITA is
> > the old DUAL - a remnant of the old pronominal number system; i.e., it
> > wasn't always simply singular vs. plural.  (Most linguists would have heard
> > of systems that even have - or had- a TRIAL form.) Given that Tagalog (and
> > Cebuano and I don't know what other CP languages) make a formal distinction
> > between 1rst-person INCLUSIVE vs. EXCLUSIVE plural, the notion of the
> > existence of an earlier DUAL form would not be far-fetched.
> On 11/13/03 10:03 AM, "Robert A. Blust" <blust at hawaii.edu> wrote to to me:
> > I'm note sure that I would call kita in languages like Tagalog a
> > 'suppletive' form.  It simply reflects PAN *kita '1pl in', with a shift to
> > dual reference, evidently because the basic conversational unit is the
> > personal dyad.  This has happened independently in the central Philippines
> > and in some languages of northern Sarawak (as Kelabit).  The pragmatic basis
> > for the semantic change seems fairly straightforward: if you are using a 1st
> > person plural inclusive pronoun most of the time for speaker + hearer rather
> > than for speaker + hearers then it would gradually come to have a dual
> > reference.
> I agree, for the most part, with what Paz and Bob have written. It's clear
> from nearly every other Central Philippine (CP) language that _kita_ was the
> Nom 1Pl inclusive form (as in Bikol and Cebuano)--indeed, in PAn. Tagalog
> now has _tayo_ for the Nom1PlIn form. I agree with Bob's rationale for the
> shift of _kita_ from being the 1.Pl.In. to the portmanteau 1SgGen+2SgNom
> form via the idea of the speaker-addressee dyad.
> As an aside, I write "for the most part" above because I don't know exactly
> how the now archaic dual forms _kata_ (Nom) and _nita_ (Gen)--cited in the
> pronoun tables of Schachter (1973) and Schachter and Otanes (1972)--might
> bear on this hypothesis. I know nothing about these two forms aside from
> their mention in Schachter (and Otanes). I can, however add that in one
> Mansakan language (Tagakaulo Kalagan) that _kita_ is strictly 1.Dl.In., with
> _kitamayu_ (i.e., _kita_ + 2.Pl. _mayu_) as the 1.Pl.In. form.
> All that is tangential to the query I was initially trying to pose to you. I> 
> would like to know how widespread the unusual 1sg+2sg pronoun forms are
> outside of CP and Atayalic. I'd also like to know about complicated orders
> of Gen and Nom bound pronouns in languages around these areas. So far, I've
> received a few responses on Atayalic but nothing on the Philippine side.
> Aside from Bob and Paz (to whom I am also grateful), thanks so far to the
> following list members: Naomi Tsukida (Teruku Seediq), Edith Aldridge
> (Takdaya Seediq), Waruno Mahdi (referring me to another's work). I hope to
> have the pleasure to acknowledge other people's help in the future.
> Sincerely, --Loren Billings
> Loren A. Billings, Ph.D.
> Associate professor of linguistics
> Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
> National Chi Nan University
> Puli, Nantou, Taiwan 545 Republic of China
> E-mail: billings at ncnu.edu.tw
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