[Lingtyp] instant resumption

Zygmunt Frajzyngier zygmunt.frajzyngier at colorado.edu
Sun Sep 19 19:00:12 UTC 2021

Dear Christian,

In several Chadic languages some relative clauses end in a demonstrative. In my 1996 book I analyzed the function of these markers as coding existential status of the head of the relative clause.

Frajzyngier, Zygmunt.1996. Grammaticalization of the Complex Sentence: A case study in Chadic. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins. Complementary Series to the Study in Language.  (Chapter on relative clauses)
All best,

Zygmunt Frajzyngier
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Linguistics,
University of Colorado, Box 295
Boulder, Colorado. 80309

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Christian Lehmann <christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de>
Date: Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 8:59 AM
Subject: [Lingtyp] instant resumption

Dear colleagues,

while working on Cabecar grammar, I have been struggling with a phenomenon which I do not recall having seen treated in the literature and which I have dubbed instant resumption. It is a kind of intraclausal anaphora involving an NP as antecedent and a demonstrative pronoun as anaphor. A variant of this has been well-known as left-dislocation. In Cabecar, however, the construction has these properties:

  *   It does not necessarily involve left-dislocation. The antecedent NP may be anywhere inside the clause, even at its end.
  *   The resumptive pronoun (the medial demonstrative, glossed D.MED below) may, in principle, come later in the clause. However, in 96% of the cases, it follows the antecedent immediately. It does this even at the end of the clause. I therefore assume that, at the structural level, this is (putting it in grammaticalizational terms) no longer anaphora, but apposition.
  *   The phenomenon is completely independent of the internal constituency of the antecedent; this may be a nominalized clause, a determined NP or even a pronoun. And it is independent of the syntactic function of the resumptive - or the entire appositional NP - in its clause; it may be just any function available to an NP.
  *   Instant resumption is always optional, although preferred in many cases.
Here are two examples; the antecedent is bracketed:

E1.    Rogelio    jé            m-á̱=ká̱=ju̱                    bulía.
         [Rogelio]   D.MED    go-PROG=ASC=AM    tomorrow
         ‘Rogelio(, he) will climb tomorrow.’
E2.  jé            rä        sä        yu-ä           kië́        Pedro   jé= i̠a̠.
        D.MED   COP   [1.PL    form-NR   name   Peter]   D.MED=DAT
        ‘that is for the professor named Peter.’

Unless you have seen this kind of construction before, you may think that my analysis is mistaken and the demonstrative is simply a postnominal determiner. Be assured that it is not. The language has prenominal determiners. And as said before, there are 4% of distant resumption which would not be possible if the thing were a determiner.

Certain phenomena I have seen in other languages come to mind:

  *   In Dagbani, the relative clause (described by Wilson 1963 and 1975) is followed by a particle la which Wilson does not categorize but which looks like a demonstrative.
  *   In Wappo, the relative clause (described by Li & Thompson 1978) is followed by a demonstrative ce, which at that time I thought was a postnominal determiner.
  *   In some Australian language which I do not recall, the case suffixes on nouns look like pronouns provided with the same case suffixes. Compare with this E2 above.
Here are my questions to you:

  *   Have you seen instant resumption in other languages?
  *   Is there an established concept and term for the phenomenon which I have overlooked?
  *   Is it a grammaticalized form of left-dislocation, as it appears to me, or is there some other base for it?
  *   How should we conceive its function at the grammaticalized stage? To me, it seems that it no longer has any cognitive or communicative function, but a mere structural function (if I may say so), viz. identifying a nominal expression as such by summing it up, and thus demarcating it against the rest of the clause at least in configurations as E1.
I would be grateful for any help.
Best, Christian

Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt
christianw_lehmann at arcor.de<mailto:christianw_lehmann at arcor.de>

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