[Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Kees Hengeveld P.C.Hengeveld at uva.nl
Thu Mar 9 09:51:47 UTC 2023

Dear Raffaele,

You may find examples from a few non-Indo-European languages in the following paper:

Hengeveld, Kees & Keizer, M. Evelien (2011), Non-straightforward communication. Journal of Pragmatics 43.7, 1962-1976, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2011.01.001.

Best wishes,


Kees Hengeveld

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> On Behalf Of Raffaele Simone
Sent: woensdag 8 maart 2023 19:08
To: LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

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?

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<https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Funiroma3.academia.edu%2FRaffaeleSimone&data=05%7C01%7Cp.c.hengeveld%40uva.nl%7C8a0ddf94218144b0c15108db207584f6%7Ca0f1cacd618c4403b94576fb3d6874e5%7C0%7C0%7C638139461339337481%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=9MeMI48hpS8lUjhx75tPdoisXRcnleI6Oam0LM77U24%3D&reserved=0>

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