[Lingtyp] Verbal person-number indexing reconstructed for a family/deeper subfamily?

Ana Krajinovic krajinoa at hu-berlin.de
Wed Jun 20 11:43:32 UTC 2018

Dear Ilja,

There has been some work on reconstruction of subject markers in Oceanic 
languages (Austronesian), for example in Lynch et al. below. It is also 
very common for the subject markers to form portmanteau morphemes that 
contain TMA values, see Ross and Lithgow below. At the moment there is 
some work on reconstruction of subject markers in Western Oceanic by a 
PhD student Carlo Dalle Ceste at ANU (Canberra), and we are 
collaborating on understanding how portmanteau subject/TMA markers 
emerge in diachrony.

Lynch, John, Malcom Ross & Terry Crowley. 2002/2011. The Oceanic 
languages. London: Routledge.

Ross, Malcolm & D.R. Lithgow. 1989. The prehistory of some Western 
Oceanic tense/mood markers: insights from natural morphosyntax. 
Unpublished Ms. (available on academia.edu)

All the best with your research,


Am 20.06.18 um 13:38 schrieb Martin Haspelmath:
> Changing the topic a bit: I'm glad that the term "person(-number) 
> indexing" is being used in this discussion, because "agreement in 
> person" seems to be extremely rare in the world's languages (found 
> only in Germanic, Romance, and Anejom, according to Siewierska 1999: 239).
> Many linguists use the term "agreement" in situations like Spanish "yo 
> quier-o“, even though in almost all languages with person indexes the 
> independent personal pronoun is only used to emphasize the referent. 
> This seems to be motivated primarily by the situation in German and 
> English, where the pronoun is indeed obligtory and the verb can be 
> said to copy its person-number features from the pronoun.
> Or am I missing something? Are there other reasons to use the term 
> "person agreement", e.g. in the Austronesian languages of eastern 
> Indonesia that David mentions?
> Best,
> Martin
> *********
> Reference
> Siewierska, Anna. 1999. From anaphoric pronoun to grammatical 
> agreement marker: Why objects don’t make it. /Folia Linguistica/ 
> 33(1–2). 225–252.
> On 20.06.18 09:36, David Gil wrote:
>> Ilja,
>> This is not exactly what you're asking for, but perhaps close enough 
>> to be of interest.  Austronesian languages typically do not have 
>> verbal person-number subject indexes; however, in many Austronesian 
>> languages of eastern Indonesia, verbal agreement has arisen, and, for 
>> the most part, the markers in question are clearly reconstructable to 
>> the earlier Austronesian independent pronouns.
>> Best,
>> David
>> On 19/06/2018 21:52, Ilja Seržant wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> I am looking for families (or subfamilies with a larger time depth) 
>>> for which verbal person-number subject indexes / "agreement" affixes 
>>> (featuring the intransitive subject for ergative lgs.) are 
>>> reconstructed. (I already have data on Dravidian, Semitic, 
>>> Indo-European, Maya, Finno-Ugric and Turkic but I need more for my 
>>> study on the dynamics of these).
>>> I would be very grateful for any reference.
>>> Best,
>>> Ilja
> -- 
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
> Kahlaische Strasse 10	
> D-07745 Jena
> &
> Leipzig University
> IPF 141199
> Nikolaistrasse 6-10
> D-04109 Leipzig
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