Posting from Martin Haase

Johan van der Auwera auwera at UIA.UA.AC.BE
Fri Aug 24 18:20:10 UTC 2001

Dear Edith and fellow lingtyps,
Enrique is right in drawing your attention to Basque. I have treated the

question of the deictic plural in Basque in one of my contribution to
Handbook of Typology ("local deixis"). Here is some additional
to Enrique's point.
At 09:15 22.08.01 -0500, Enrique L. Palancar Vizcaya wrote:
>As for Basque, there is the Plural suffix "-ok" which contrasts with
>definite plural "-ek (ERG)" and "-ak" (ABS) in that it implies an
>inclusivity of the speaker and hearer as members of the group referred
>the plural noun:

Plural forms containing _-o-_ imply proximal deixis, not necessarily the

inclusion of the speaker. Usually, proximal deixis does NOT include the

>At times the pronoun is also used:

in a situation of emphasis (_gu_ etc. are emphatic pronouns).

>????    gu      gazte-ak
>        1PL:ABS  young-ABS:PL
>        "we the young people"

No question marks are needed here. _Gu gazteak gara._ ("WE are young.")
a correct sentence. A word of caution: Although very popular with
linguists, the _-o-_-Plural is optional and has very strong emotional
(affective) connotations. In Northern dialects of Basque such plurals
unknown and I know speakers of the standard language who do not use

A good example of what Edith is looking for are words like:
_biok_, _hiruok_ meaning: "the two, three of us", referring to the
and another or two other persons (maybe including the hearer, but not
necessarily). Without proximal reference the forms would be:
_biek_, _hiruek_ for the ergative
_biak_, _hiruak_ for the absolutive
I would always gloss _-o-_ as proximal. It seems to be restricted to the

plural, but in a poem I have found a singular example too: _larreon_ 'in

this pasture here'. My informants do not accept this form for colloquial

Basque, but most of them have problems with the _-o-_plural forms as
Best wishes,

mailto:Martin.Haase at TU-Berlin.DE
Tel. (mobil): +49-171-7085525

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list