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

Hartmut Haberland hartmut at RUC.DK
Sun Apr 30 18:40:40 UTC 2006

Nick Bailey wrote:

>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 
In Modern Greek there is the expression nátos, náti, náto (m f n), 
consisting of the element na (whose etymology I haven't checked) plus 
the enclitic form of the third person pronoun  which otherwise does not 
occur (oblique forms are very common though: accusative ton ídha 'I saw 
him', tin idha 'I saw her', to idha 'I saw it'; genitive to spíti tou 
'his house', tou to edhoka 'I gave it to him').

Ná tos 'Here he is!' would be parallel to earlier idou egO 'Here I am!'.

Hartmut Haberland
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list