query: portmanteau pronouns

davidgil gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Tue Sep 12 13:24:28 UTC 2000

Dear all,

In Tagalog there is a free pronoun, "kita", whose meaning is roughly
"1st person singular non-topic acting on 2nd person singular topic".
That is to say, it is a suppletive form, which occurs instead of the
expected but ungrammatical sequence "ko ka", where "ko" is "1st person
singular non-topic" and "ka" is "2nd person singular topic".

My query is a simple factual one:  is anybody familiar with similar
portmanteau pronouns from other languages?

By "similar", I mean examples satisfying the following criteria:

(1) free pronominal form;
(2) combined reference to two distinct arguments associated with two
distinct grammatical or thematic relations.

Criterion (1) rules out the relatively widespread case of verbal affixes
which combine subject and object reference.

Criterion (2) and the requirement of distinct arguments rules out the
common case of reflexive pronouns, which can also be construed as
combining, say, subject and object reference, albeit to a single argument.

It is my educated guess that pronouns of the Tagalog "kita" variety are
extremely rare cross-linguistically; but I'd like to get a more accurate
assessment of exactly how rare they are.



David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Inselstrasse 22, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 49-341-9952321 (recently changed!)
Fax: 49-341-9952119
Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
Webpage:  http://monolith.eva.mpg.de/~gil/

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