[Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

Laura Arnold Laura.Arnold at ed.ac.uk
Thu Jan 12 11:35:08 UTC 2023

Hi Christian,

Ambel (Austronesian > South Halmahera-West New Guinea) has a clitic ki= which is typically used as a diminutive, but may also function as a marker of respect or affection. The latter uses are clearest when the context rules out a diminutive reading:

e.g.    ái
lál     ki=pa   n-abí   n-anán

dog     big     KI=ART  3SG.AN-want     3SG.AN-eat

'The big dog (whom I love) wants to eat.'

There's more on the form and function of ki= in the Ambel grammar, sections 3.10 and 6.2.4: https://laura-arnold.org/documents/Arnold_2018_AGrammarOfAmbel.pdf

All the best,
From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Paolo Ramat <paoram at unipv.it>
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2023 10:38
To: Christian Döhler <christian.doehler at posteo.de>
Cc: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

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Italian (and Dutch) make use of suffixes to denote sympathy, empathy or affection:
il cagnetto,  il cagnolino "the little dog" (Dutch -tje, -kje etc.). Wolfgang Dressler and his team have many publications on this.
Prof. Dr. Paolo Ramat
Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Socio corrispondente
'Academia Europaea'
'Societas Linguistica Europaea', Honorary Member
Università di Pavia (retired)
Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS Pavia) (retired)

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Il giorno gio 12 gen 2023 alle ore 11:10 Christian Döhler <christian.doehler at posteo.de<mailto:christian.doehler at posteo.de>> ha scritto:
Dear colleagues,

I am looking for publications that address the difference between (1) and (2). In (2), the English adjective poor is used to signal the speaker's sympathy or affection towards the dog.

  1.  The dog is waiting for its owner.
  2.  The poor dog is waiting for its owner.

While English (and my native German) does this by extending the meaning of the adjective poor (and arm in German), other languages have special words with only that meaning. For example, Komnzo bana is a postposed adjective that only conveys sympathy.

    ni bananzo namnzr karen.
    ni           bana=nzo        na\m/nzr                       kar=en
    1NSG    SYMP=only     1PL:NPST:IPFV/stay    village=LOC
    'Only we poor guys stay behind in the village' (subtext: 'while the others are going to the celebration in the neighbouring village')
    (NSG = non-singular, SYMP = sympathy marker, NPST = nonpast)

Yet other languages seem to have special verb morphology for this. Van Tongeren describes this for Suki (her PhD grammar will probably be available later this year).

Pointers to more examples and publications of this are most welcome. I was googling this with keywords like "sympathy", "empathy", "affection", but with not much luck. So there might be a whole literature on this phenomenon under different terminology. If that's the case, then please excuse my ignorance.

Very Best,

Dr. Christian Döhler
Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)
Schützenstraße 18
10117 Berlin
Raum: 445
Tel.: +49 30 20192 412

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