LINGUIST List 2.288

Thursday, 13 June 1991

Disc: Borrowed Pronouns

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Directory

  1. , Re: Queries
  2. Fan mail from some flounder?, Re: Queries
  3. Bill Poser, borrowed pronouns
  4. Susanna Cumming, pronouns
  5. Dr M Sebba, pronouns

Message 1: Re: Queries

Date: Tue, 11 Jun 91 22:35:08 PDT
From: <suzannegarnet.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: Queries
Reply to Elise Morse Gagne re borrowing of pronouns

The French indefinite pronoun ON, though not strictly borrowed from Germanic,
is generally regarded to have been calqued on Germanic MAN.
--Suzanne Fleischman
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Message 2: Re: Queries

Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1991 21:58 EST
From: Fan mail from some flounder? <SDFNCRritvax.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: Re: Queries
With regard to vo. 2, # 279, ASL has several interesting situations where there
aren't enough morphological slots on the verb to accommodate the number of
necessary moprhosyntactic spaces. You can end up with a serial verb (described
by Ted Supalla, ref provided on request), or what Wynne Janis and I term a
"verb sandwich," where the verb splits in two to accommodate more stuff.
Morris Halle has also discussed this sort of phenomenon in a presentation I
heard last year, and specifically has a different analysis of Anderson's
Georgian data.

Re borrowing of pronouns, I was told about 15 years ago (and I speak from
virtual ignorance here, but when did that ever stop me) that Thai borrowed the
English word "you", largely in order not to have to make a statement about
relative social status every time there was a conversation.
Susan Fischer
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Message 3: borrowed pronouns

Date: Mon, 10 Jun 91 23:08:01 PDT
From: Bill Poser <posercsli.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: borrowed pronouns

The Japanese pronoun /boku/ (casual 1st person masculine singular)
is a loan from Chinese. However, it wasn't a pronoun in Chinese.
Rather, it meant "slave". It's as if English had borrowed "your servant"
from another language and eventually turned it into a pronoun.

Bill Poser
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Message 4: pronouns

Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1991 16:50 MST
From: Susanna Cumming <SCUMMING%CLIPR%VAXF.Colorado.EDURICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: pronouns
In relation to Elise Morse-gagne's query about borrowed pronouns:
widespread use of borrowed pronouns can be found in Southeast Asian
languages which have elaborate honorific systems. For instance,
although Indonesian has reflexes of the Austronesian pronouns, in Java
at least these are of fairly limited use; they are only appropriate
for the most intimate situations. Speakers commonly replace them
with honorific forms including indigenous kinship terms (bapak 'father',
ibu 'mother'), borrowed kin terms (Javanese mbak 'elder sister', mas
'elder brother'; Dutch Om 'uncle', Tante 'aunt'), borrowed pronouns
(yu < English you, gua/lu < Hokkien I/you), and various other items
(saya 'I' from Sanskrit sahaya 'follower, slave', Tuan 'you' from
Arabic tuhan 'lord', etc.) The inventory differs in different parts
of the Malay-speaking world, but at least in the areas where there is
a court tradition a large number of options (expressing a very sensitive
response to differences in social status) is typical. Most of the forms
can be used for second, third, and even first person reference. And
from a syntactic point of view they must be treated as pronouns: not
only do they have the characteristic discourse functions of pronouns,
but they can procliticize to the verb in the "passive" construction --
a position which is not possible for ordinary lexical nouns.
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Message 5: pronouns

Date: Wed, 12 Jun 91 11:15:28 +0100
From: Dr M Sebba <eia023central1.lancaster.ac.uk>
Subject: pronouns
Borrowed pronouns

Elise Emerson Morse-Gagne asks about borrowed pronouns. The
English pronouns I and YOU (in these forms, invariant) appear to
have been borrowed into the Malay of many speakers. Whether this
is true mainly or exclusively for bilinguals who know at least some
English as well, I can't say, though I think it must be pretty
widespread in colloquial Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) among educated
people. This serves the pragmatic function of not requiring the
speaker to choose between the large number of first and second
person pronouns available in Malay, which require the speaker to
make delicate judgments of status, solidarity, etc.

Mark Sebba
Dept. of Linguistics
University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YT, England
Telephone (0524) 65201 ext. 2241 (W) (0524) 69223 (H)
Fax: (0524) 843085
e-mail: eia023uk.ac.lancaster.central1

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