Michael Noonan noonan at CSD.UWM.EDU
Tue Oct 20 15:18:59 UTC 1998

> >> > Concerning Martin's unidirectional extension Noun > Pronoun:
> >> > Pronoun > Noun may be unnatural/rare, but is probably not impossible.

Concerning Martin's observation, there are plenty of instances in English
of pronouns coming to function as nouns.  The [historic] pronoun most
commonly used in this role is IT. IT is used in children's games -- for
example, hide-and-seek -- to designate a player with a special, central
function in the game. It's also used to refer to animals that have been
neutered:  that dog is an it.  And those of you of an appropriate age and
nationality might remember the character in the Adam's Family TV show
named It.
	The other pronouns may fill noun slots occasionally, though none
seem to have assumed the outright noun status that some uses of IT have
achieved.  For example, SHE functions as a noun in the sentence
	Leslie is a she
meaning 'Leslie is female'.

Mickey Noonan

Michael Noonan			Professor of Linguistics
Chair				Office:   414-229-4539
Dept. of English	       	Fax:	  414-229-2643
University of Wisconsin	       	Messages: 414-229-4511
Milwaukee, WI  53201		Webpage:

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list