LINGUIST List 9.1695

Wed Dec 2 1998

Qs: Existentials, Universal Grammar, Piraha Pronoun

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.

Directory

  1. Christine Czinglar, Existentials in Scandinavian languages and German
  2. fallou ngom, Spiritual account of Universal Grammar
  3. Dan Everett, Borrowed Pronouns in Piraha

Message 1: Existentials in Scandinavian languages and German

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 11:14:29 +0100
From: Christine Czinglar <Sissystudbox.uni-stuttgart.de>
Subject: Existentials in Scandinavian languages and German


I am interested in a special type of existential construction: one
that is purely existential, i.e. it doesn't have a locative (or
eventive) meaning. The German existential ES GIBT DP PP {"it gives")is
one such example: the locative PP can be omitted, and the location
denotes some kind of "habitat" for the object. The Danish existential
with DER FINDES ("there" plus the s-Passive of the Verb "find") is
another example.

I am looking for papers/manuscripts dealing with this kind of
existentials in Danish, Swedish ("finnas"), Icelandic ("finnast"), or
in any other language. If anyone knows of papers on German "es gibt"
or on Alemanic "es hat", I'd also be very grateful.

If I get enough feedback, I will post a summary with the information
received.

Thanks for any help.


Christine Czinglar
University of Vienna/University of Stuttgart
email: sissystudbox.uni-stuttgart.de
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Message 2: Spiritual account of Universal Grammar

Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 07:32:46 -0600 (CST)
From: fallou ngom <ngomstudents.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Spiritual account of Universal Grammar


Has anybody encountered some work done on a possible spiritual account
of UG? Assuming that the linguistic systems (languages) are subsets of
the cosmic system ruled by the Macro spiritual intelect (the optissime
intellect).

A confusion with this system provides one with deeper understanding of
all the subsets of the cosmic system, including language. This macro
system must have principles and some required assumptions. Please let
me know if you have any information related to this issue.

Thanks in advance.

Akassa. 
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Message 3: Borrowed Pronouns in Piraha

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 15:59:18 +0000
From: Dan Everett <deververb.linguist.pitt.edu>
Subject: Borrowed Pronouns in Piraha

Folks,

Claims about pronoun borrowing are controversial and purported cases are
rare. Sally Thomason and I have recently written a very brief paper
arguing that the pronouns of Piraha, an Amazonian language, were
borrowed from Tupi-Guarani. In this paper, we also mention other cases
of pronoun borrowing, from individual pronouns to entire pronoun systems
(as in Piraha). This paper is posted on the Piraha webpage: 
http://amazonling.linguist.pitt.edu

Your comments would be welcome. However, the main reason for posting
this information to LinguistList is to ask if readers of LinguistList
are aware of any other cases of pronoun borrowing, especially cases
involving the borrowing of the entire pronominal system from one
language to another. I will post a summary if there are cases not
already listed in our paper.

- Dan Everett
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