[Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Guillaume Jacques rgyalrongskad at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 09:42:04 UTC 2023

Dear Raffaele Simone,

In Japhug, what I refer as the cataphoric function of the medial
demonstrative *nɤki* corresponds to what you are looking for (see A grammar
of Japhug | Language Science Press (langsci-press.org)
<https://langsci-press.org/catalog/book/295>, pp 226-227, in particular
examples 134 and 135), a demonstrative that is used to replace a noun one
cannot think of immediately, followed by a hesitation. It is also used as a
speech filler without specific reference (see pp.457-458). This
demonstrative is etymologically from the 2sg possessive prefix *nɤ*- follow
by the proximal demonstrative *ki* (literally "your this").

Best wishes,


Le jeu. 9 mars 2023 à 09:08, Raffaele Simone <raffaele.simone at uniroma3.it>
a écrit :

> Dear friends and colleagues,
> I am preparing a paper on that group of general-generic words that are
> used to designate entities whose name you do not know or do not remember,
> or whose name you do not want to remember or that, simply, have no name in
> a language.
> I’m referring to “nouns” like French "truc" and "machin", Italian "coso",
> "arnese", "aggeggio", or, for people, Italian "tizio", "tipo", Spanish
> "tío", “fulano”, English "dude" etc. They form apparently a special word
> class and implement a particular way of designating.
> The situation in the European languages I am familiar with seems very
> fragmented and discontinuous: some languages do have sets of dedicated or
> semidedicated words for that function, but most don’t, as far as I see.
> Does any of you have examples from other languages and, if any,
> bibliographic references?
> Thanks,
> Raffaele
> ==============
> Emeritus Professor, Università Roma Tre
> Hon C Lund University
> Membre de l'Académie Royale de Belgique
> Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France
> Accademico (corrispondente) della Crusca
> Prix de l'Institut de France-Fondation Bonnefous 2022
> ===============
> Attività e pubblicazioni // Activity and publications
> http://uniroma3.academia.edu/RaffaeleSimone
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Guillaume Jacques

Directeur de recherches
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