[Lingtyp] Truc, machin and friends

Jess Tauber tetrahedralpt at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 14:00:16 UTC 2023

In Yahgan, a recently extinct genetic isolate from Tierra del Fuego, the
form a:ki (colon here marks tenseness of the vowel preceding it), which
when grammaticalized is used as a kind of definite article, has the sense
of 'he, she, it, something, someone, indefinitely used, as when we cannot
recall to mind the name of the thing or person, as when we say Mr.....,
what's his name?'. Etymologically possibly from (u:)koali 'one'.

Note also the form kvmaka:ta (v schwa) (Used only when ignorant of the
coming person, i.e. not knowing who he is) 'There is somebody coming'.
Analysis: kv- normal coreference pronoun prefix on verb 3rd person
(generic), ma- passive voice prefix, ka:ta 'come' (kvka:ta  'he comes, is
coming'). kvmaka:ta also defined here as 'There is someone coming, somebody
is coming'.  Note also probably etymologically related ga:ta 'near, nigh,
close, touching, i.e. no distance off', and ha:ta 'near, nigh, in the

Source- Bridges, Thomas, Yamana-English Dictionary (published in 1933 with
the editors renaming the language using the term 'yamana' (person, man).
The term Yahgan itself (phonetically Ya:gan) was an artificially created
name by the missionary Bridges from the name of the center of their
territory, Yahga Strait (Ya:gasha:ga). Manuscript of the dictionary
originally completed between 1877-79.

On Thu, Mar 9, 2023 at 8:07 AM Jan Rijkhoff <linjr at cc.au.dk> wrote:

> 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,
> Riccardo
> 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.
> Best,
> Françoise
> participant
> title
> 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?
> 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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> --
> 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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