LINGUIST List 7.1190

Sun Aug 25 1996

Sum: "my own ones"

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <dizdartam2000.tamu.edu>


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  1. Kutz Arrieta, "my own ones" summary

Message 1: "my own ones" summary

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 13:32:56 EDT
From: Kutz Arrieta <kutzalogos-usa.com>
Subject: "my own ones" summary

First,I want to thank the people who responded to my query about "my
own one"

Diana Maynard <maynarddcs.man.ac.uk>
Markell R West <markellafterlife.ncsc.mil>
Ted.Hardingnessie.mcc.ac.uk (Ted Harding)
"M. Lynne Murphy" <104LYNmuse.arts.wits.ac.za>
gmhamannsickkids.on.ca (Marc Hamann)
"Patrick C. Ryan" <protol9mail.idt.net>
 Karen Stanley <kstanleycharlotte.infi.net>
Jon Aske <jaskeabacus.bates.edu>
"Paul Foulkes" <Paul.Foulkesnewcastle.ac.uk>
GAVIN O SHEA LINGUISTICS PG <GOSHEAacadamh.ucd.ie>
jakob <ufjakobqms5.hinet.net> Jakob Dempsey, Taichung, Taiwan
charles t scott <ctscottfacstaff.wisc.edu>
Glenn Ayres <gayresns.inter.edu>
EDavis52aol.com Evan Davis
Charlie Rowe <roweemail.unc.edu>
ragnirenspidernet.it (renata ragni)
greenafrica.pangeanet.it (Marina & Anthony Green)
gladney frank y <gladneyux6.cso.uiuc.edu
Bruce Despain <BDDespainchq.byu.edu>

I asked the question about the ungrammaticality of "my own one, my own
ones" because I was told by native speakers that it was ungrammatical
and I wanted to know why. To my surprise, a good amount of speakers
consider it perfectly grammatical, eventhough a fair amount of them
spoke of "emphasis", "closeness", "register", etc There seems to be a
split that has something to do with the Atlantic. Here are some data:

	"My friend left her pencils at home so I lent her my own ones".

	"Ah! My children! My own ones!"

"(The second example is a bit special in that "my own one" in this
sort of context is an indivisible phrase, used by someone to refer to
someone that they love deeply)."

As far as the speakers that don't like the construction, the most
frequent comment has been that the structure is redundant.

"Do you want some peanuts?"
"No, thanks. I have my own."

Lets use these stamps, they belong to the office and no-one will
know /ah no, I'd prefer not, they're actually my own ones/.etc

I couldn't use my brother's (implicitly excellent) machine, so I had
to use my own one.

Some speakers accepted both "my own ones" and "my own":

"You can keep your candies, I have my own.
 or,
 You can keep your candies, I have some of my own.

"My own ones" simply sounds redundant in this context. On the other
hand, in the sentence:

When it comes to carrots, my own (ones) are the best"

if you suggest that two children share the crayon(s), one of them may
= request that he/she be given "my own one(s)".

Redundancy, "own" is already a pronoun, so you don't need "one" I
don't have an answer to your question, except to note that there are
many other determiners/pronouns which exhibit the same phenomenon:

	?*my ones, ??*these ones, *a few ones, *many ones, etc.

This is a headache for people trying to learn English as a second
language. Note also that one(s) must stand for a count noun:

	I like this book better than the one I read yesterday.
	*I like this food better than the one I ate yesterday.

The answer may have something to do with the fact that "my own" is a
possessive construction, and that possessive constructions resist
quantifiers. So:

*(1)My own ones
*(2)My ones

But:

(3)My own car
(4)My car

It would appear that where possessive constructions are concerned, the
quantifier must precede the construction. So:

(5)One/several/many of my own...

I believe that if we try to say "my own one(s)..." we are going to
have a contruction where "one(s)" is an unbound variable, which would
rule out grammaticality. This is my thought off the top of my head--it
has been a few years since I've cracked my syntax textbooks.

I think _own_ is a red herring. It seems the possessives in English
come in two forms, adjectival (pre-nominal) and pronominal
(absolute)--terms just made up by me. You can't say (_Plenty of chairs
here, but..._) *where is my/your/our/her/their? You can say
...my/etc. chair with a real noun, but *my one is preempted by the
absolute form _mine_, and likewise with the rest, except for _his_,
which has only that form.


It turns out that "own" is a pronoun. You can think of it merging or
amalgamating with the "one". It is like we use "mine" for *"my one".
Here the "my" amalgamates with the "one" to form "mine". At least,
this seems to help explain it for me. Depending on your theoretical
framework, the idea of amalgamation may or may not be insightful.

 This reminds me of the older form of "my" that used to appear
before words starting with a vowel (like the alternation between "a"
and "an"). So the old (now poetic) expression would be "mine own".

Kutz Arrieta
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