[Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Jan Rijkhoff linjr at cc.au.dk
Thu Mar 9 13:07:32 UTC 2023

More cases of 'fillers and placeholders' are discussed in an article on bystander deixis, when the form of an utterance is co-determined by the presence of sanctioned or non-sanctioned bystanders who are within earshot of the speaker. In one of the three main subtypes of bystander deixis, part of the message is communicated in such a way that certain bystanders will not be able to understand the full content of the utterance.

One way to hide (part of) one's message from others who are present at the speech situation is word substitution. The simplest form of word substitution is probably an "ad hoc" or "on-the-spot" substitution, as when an entity is referred to as, for example, "you-know-who/what" ("Did you know that you-know-who got a new job?"). 

More details can be found in (attached): Rijkhoff, Jan. 1998. Bystander deixis. In Yaron Matras (ed.), The Romani element in non-standard speech (Sondersprachenforschung 3), 51-67. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Best, Jan R

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Riccardo Giomi <rgiomi at campus.ul.pt>
Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2023 1:58 PM
To: Raffaele Simone
Cc: LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Caro Raffaele,

I can cite two papers from Tohru Seraku, written from two different theoretical perspectives, where the author also presents or refers to data from a variety of languages, including Ryukyuan, Ilocano, Japanese and Mandarin:

Searku, Tohru. 2020. Placeholders in Yoron Ryukyuan: A view from Functional Discourse Grammar. Lingua 245.

Seraku, Tohru. 2023. Grammars for placeholders: The dynamic turn. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 8(1).

Examples from another handful of languages are found in

Hengeveld, Kees & Evelien Keizer. 2011. Non-straightforward communication. Journal of Pragmatics 43, 1962–1976.

Hope this helps, best wishes,


Françoise Rose <francoise.rose at univ-lyon2.fr<mailto:francoise.rose at univ-lyon2.fr>> escreveu no dia quinta, 9/03/2023 à(s) 13:36:
I am very sorry, I meant dear Raffaele !
(this reminds me of all the times I am called Rose)

De : Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>> De la part de Françoise Rose
Envoyé : jeudi 9 mars 2023 13:33
À : Raffaele Simone <raffaele.simone at uniroma3.it<mailto:raffaele.simone at uniroma3.it>>; LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Objet : Re: [Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Dear Simone,
As a follow up to the 2010 volume mentioned by Timur, Brigitte Pakendorf and myself organized a workshop on fillers and placeholders at ALT this winter. They were talks on a variety of languages (I am pasting below the program). The type of word you are referring to is called nominal placeholder in the literature. Their source can be a noun, but also a demonstrative or interrogative pronoun,… I am joining the call for abstracts, which includes some references.

Olga Kazakevich<https://iling-ran.ru/web/en/scholars/kazakevich>
Placeholders and other fillers in Northern Selkup
Elena Klyachko<https://gisly.net/>
Placeholders versus general extenders in Tungusic languages
Brigitte Pakendorf
Looking for the right word: a corpus-based investigation of placeholders in Negidal
Albert Ventayol-Boada
Unravelling the distinct functions of l'ə (льэ) in Kolyma Yukaghir
Dolgor Guntsetseg
Placeholders in Khalkha-Mongolian
Maïa Ponsonnet
Placeholders in a polysynthetic language (Dalabon, Gunwinyguan, non-Pama-Nyungan, Australia)
Yi-Yang Cheng
Prosodic (in)dependence and discourse functions: On the indeterminate morphosyntactic analysis of clause linkers in Matu'uwal, an Austronesian language of Taiwan
Marianne Mithun<http://mithun.faculty.linguistics.ucsb.edu/>
Placeholders on the Move
Françoise Rose<http://www.ddl.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/Rose>
One more thing ‘thing’ can do in Tupi-Guarani languages : ‘thing’ as a filler in Teko
Alexander Rice<https://sites.google.com/view/arice>
Mashti: A multipurpose filler in Northern Pastaza Kichwa

De : Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>> De la part de Raffaele Simone
Envoyé : mercredi 8 mars 2023 19:08
À : LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Objet : [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

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Riccardo Giomi, Ph.D.
University of Liège
Département de langues modernes : linguistique, littérature et traduction
Research group Linguistique contrastive et typologie des langues
F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral fellow (CR - FC 43095)
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