Possession/modification by simple juxtaposition

Edith Moravcsik edith at UWM.EDU
Sat Nov 22 22:41:47 UTC 2008

Hi David,

I assume that the basic schema of an inclusory construction is this:

PLU.PRO + COMITATIVE.NP, meaning 'the referent of the singularized pronoun 
plus the referent of the NP'

E.g. "we with John"
meaning: 'I and John'

I assume that the basic schema of an associative plural is this:

meaning: 'the referent of NOUN and some others belong to his or her group'

If this is correct, what does Alex Francois mean by saying that many ASP-s 
are also inclusories? Does he mean that they have two alternative 
interpretations, one ASP, the other inclusory? Or does he mean that ASP-s by 
definition are also inclusories at the same time?

Regarding your question, whether ASP-s of the type /John 3PL/ can be 
understood with dual reference or only with three or more referents: I have 
best intuitions about the Hungarian ASP. Here, the ASP marker is not exactly 
a third person plural pronoun but a marker related to the regular nominal 
plural marker (actually, it is a possessive marker plus the plural); e.g.

John-e'-k 'John and his people'

This construction can mean either
(a)  John and only one other person, or
(b) John and several others.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Gil" <gil at EVA.MPG.DE>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:49 AM
Subject: Re: Possession/modification by simple juxtaposition

> Dear all,
> Re the Semitic construct state:  I add my voice to those who have pointed 
> out that this is NOT a case of simple juxtaposition.  In Hebrew, too, like 
> in Arabic, attributive possession may be expressed in a construction of 
> the form N-CONTSR N; while there are, admittedly, some instances of 
> syncretism betwen construct and absolute states (eg. many masculine 
> singulars, and many feminine plurals), this does not justify 
> characterizing the construction is involving simple juxtaposition.
> Re the Västerbotten dialect: I would tend to agree with Östen Dahl that, 
> as compounds, they don't really belong in the same boat as true syntactic 
> juxtapositions.
> Finally, since this discussion seems to have become public, I append below 
> the comments which I sent earlier today to Andrew Spencer, containing some 
> examples of what I think ARE bona fide instances of simpe juxtaposition 
> ...
> What you're looking for is very common in the languages of Indonesia. Off 
> the top of my head, Malay/Indonesian (Standard Malay/Indonesian, Riau 
> Indonesian, Jakarta Indonesian), Minangkabau, and Sundanese, all have this 
> pattern, with modifiers occurring postnominally, eg. (from Standard 
> Malay/Indonesian):
> buku bagus 'book good'
> nama anak 'name child'
> buku Gwen 'Gwen's book'
> ibu Gwen 'Gwen's mother'
> all with no additional morphology or other markings of the respective 
> construction. I'd be surprised if there weren't dozens of other languages 
> in western Indonesia that worked like this.
> In the east of the archipelago, genitives switch to prenominal, but some 
> languages still allow for bare juxtaposition, eg. Papuan Malay ...
> buku bagus
> anak nama (for some reason I'm not sure about this one, and would have to 
> doublecheck with a speaker before you cited it)
> Gwen buku
> Gwen mama
> In my papers on Riau Indonesian I've discussed at some length the multi- 
> (or rather macro-)functionality of bare juxtaposition in that language. 
> Also, I have a chapter in the World Atlas of Language Structures (map 60, 
> "Genitives, Adjectives and Relative Clauses"), which deals with various 
> patterns of coalescence of these three functions (albeit not specifically 
> with the bare juxtaposition option.)
> Best,
> David
> -- 
> David Gil
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
> Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
> Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
> Webpage:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/

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