LINGUIST List 2.229

Thursday, 16 May 1991

Disc: Pronoun Doubling

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  1. bert peeters, Pronoun doubling in Dutch dialects
  2. , Pronoun doubling/copula doubling
  3. "GEERAERTS DIRK, Beeken Jeannine", Re: Responses: Pronoun Doubling

Message 1: Pronoun doubling in Dutch dialects

Date: Tue, 14 May 91 12:09:24 +1000
From: bert peeters <>
Subject: Pronoun doubling in Dutch dialects
Koenraad De Smedt writes:

"in my own dialect of Dutch (Antwerpen), there is a similar double pronoun
 construction, e.g.
 "He de gij da gezien?" = Have you seen that?
 (Have you you that seen?)
 The unaccented pronoun is "de" (related to German "du" I suppose), the
 accented pronoun is "gij"."

I have another explanation on "de" (which makes a parallel with postverbal
"ekik"). Contrast:

(1) Hed egij da gezien? (notice the change in word boundary)
(2) Heb ekik da gezien?
 Have I seen that?

It seems to me one could see in "egij" a contraction of "gij gij", with 
deletion of the first consonant absorbed by the verb ending. The same is
true, mutatis mutandis, for "ekik" = "ik ik".
Koenraad's shorter version of (1) would then have to be rendered as follows

(3) Hed e da gezien?

On the other hand, we now have a case of triple pronoun use in positive

(4) Ik eb ekik da gezien
 "I have I I that seen"

But this is definitely not possible with all pronouns, and may even be limited
to first person singular. I haven't had the time to find out. As to the 
doubling in questions, it seems to be restricted to first and second person
singular, for no obvious reason that I can think of right away.
By the way, does Koenraad have the Swiggers reference I mentioned in my own
first posting?
Bert Peeters <>
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Message 2: Pronoun doubling/copula doubling

Date: Tue, 14 May 1991 15:31:05 GMT
Subject: Pronoun doubling/copula doubling
With reference to Bert Peeters and Bruce Nevin on pronoun
doubling, there is a bit of pronominal enclitic doubling in some
combinations in the Australian Aboriginal (Pama-Nyungan) language
Mudbura that I've worked on, so you get two occurrences of
the 2nd person subject -n in e.g.

pa - n - jina - n

AUX 2ss 3plo 2ss "You-them"

In some other combinations, and in other closely related
languages, you get only one enclitic per argument. This
behaviour seems to relate to the fact that there are 
competing principles of clitic ordering which show up in 
variations of orders in different dialects, and in this case
in a doubling, which may be considered a morphological blend.

Bruce Nevin raises more generally the question of doubling
resulting from "frozen expressions". This would seem to me the
origin of another interesting kind of doubling in current English
- copula doubling e.g.

The important point is is that ...

I've written about that in a paper "To be or double be: current
change in the English copula" in Australian Journal of
Linguistics 8.2 287-306 (1988). Dwight Bolinger has also
discussed it in an article in English Today, and in his recent
Intonation books. Our data (his American, mine mostly Australian)
are closely similar and we both adopt a syntactic blend analysis.
I also point out that this kind of construction is hard to handle
for most current theories of grammar which don't recognise rule
competition or contradiction except as an aspect of performance.
The version with high tone copula following the epistemic
introductory phrase has become blended with the alternative with
low tone copula to yield the doubling. Another way of looking at
it would be that one of the copulas has become frozen in a 
non-copular function (marking subordinate clauses as semantically
main) causing a second genuine copula to be added.

Mentioning this also gives me the opportunity to ask for
contributions to my database of double copula contructions from
actual speech. I have plenty of the common variety like the above
example, but am looking for more esoteric variations now e.g.
with copulas with different tense/agreement, with material
intervening between the two. I was working at one time on the
assumption that the speaker is asserting the subordinate clause
as true, but counter-examples have caused me to ditch that. Any
examples relating to the force/evidentiality etc. of the
subordinate clause would be welcome. If you do send examples, 
please include details of age, gender, occupation, and native
dialect of speaker, and where and when the sentence was said.


Patrick McConvell, Anthropology, Northern Territory University,
PO Box 40146, Casuarina, NT O811, Australia
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Message 3: Re: Responses: Pronoun Doubling

Date: Tue, 14 May 91 14:16:41 +0200
Subject: Re: Responses: Pronoun Doubling
In his response to Bernhard Hurch's question about double pronouns,
Bert Peeters refers to an article by Pierre Swiggers on double subject
pronouns in the Brabantish dialects of Dutch. The article was published
(in Dutch) in Leuvense Bijdragen 1987.

Swiggers concentrates on the dialect of Leuven, but as K. De Smedts'
reply suggests, there are similar constructions in other dialects of Dutch.
As far as I can see, the phenomenon really wide-spread in the Belgian dialects
of Dutch. Apart from Swiggers' article, other dialectological studies on the
topic exist (for instance, one by Magda Devos in the Festschrift Vanacker).
There is no overall study on the subject, but if I am not mistaken, Jan
Goossens is working on a synthesis, including the historical dimension.

Dirk Geeraerts

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