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A European colleague inquires:
As is well known, some languages, notably some American Indian
languages, discriminate two kinds of verbal third person, namely the
proximate and the obviative. One can compare the Latin iste vir and
ille vir 'that man'.
A constructed Latin example would be iste vir curri-X versus ille vir
curri-Y, for 'that man run-s', where X and Y represent different
desinences on the finite verb.
What happens if the proximate and the obviative are coordinated within
the subject NP? Does the finite verb take the desinence corresponding
to the proximate or to the obviative? I refer again to the theoretical
Latin example: iste vir et ille vir curri-Z; what shape does -Z take?
What category wins if the subject contains the proximate/obviative AND
the first or the second person? Latin: iste vir et ego curri-Z; ille
vir et tu curri-Z.
Is the proximate or the obviative the less marked category of the two?
Please answer me directly at email@example.com and I will pass answers
on (and summarize them for the list, should there be enough).
Wayles Browne, Assoc. Prof. of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics
Morrill Hall 321, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853, U.S.A.
tel. 607-255-0712 (o), 607-273-3009 (h)
fax 607-255-2044 (write FOR W. BROWNE)
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