perception verbs used as deictic (or non-deictic) presentational particles

Nick Bailey nicholas_bailey at SIL.ORG
Sun Apr 30 15:17:45 UTC 2006

Dear Colleagues,

I am looking for examples in different languages where a perception verb,
maybe something like 'see', has been grammaticalized as a 'deictic
presentational' particle, or anything functionally close to that (for
example, it might also function as a non-deictic presentational particle, in
an 'existential' construction meaning 'there is a X.').

Can anyone help me?

The only two clear examples of deictic presentational particles that I know 
of so far are from French and from Classical and Koine Greek:

Voilà mon ami. 'There's my friend'
Voici mon frère, Trey. 'Here's my brother, Trey'
Le voilà. 'There he is' (le is unambiguously the object case, not

idou hudOr 'Here's/There's (some) water!'  (idou is unmarked for near/far
idou egO 'Here I am!' (egO is unambiguously nominative case)

Knud Lambrecht counts voilà as 'a frozen form of the imperative of voir "to
see" meaning literally "see there".'

Greek idou derives from the singular imperative of the middle aorist stem
eidon '(I) saw'. As far as I understand, middle forms were slowly falling
out of classical Greek, and by Koine times, the middle of eidon is only used
as this grammaticalized deictic presentational particle. (The active forms
of eidon, however, continued to be in use, so the real aorist imperative
'see!' or 'look at!' was ide [singular] or idete [plural].)

I would be very grateful for any examples people could share with me, or
references to literature. If possible, please explain what case the
introduced NP is in (object or subject case, etc.), and whether or not the
construction is neutral for near/far deixis (Greek idou is neutral).

Many thanks for your attention.

Nicholas Bailey
nicholas_bailey at 

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