LINGUIST List 11.1918

Tue Sep 12 2000

Qs: Proficiency assessment, Portmanteau Pronouns

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  1. Gary Jasdzewski, Proficiency assessment
  2. davidgil, Portmanteau Pronouns

Message 1: Proficiency assessment

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 11:12:16 -0400
From: Gary Jasdzewski <>
Subject: Proficiency assessment

Hello all, I am doing some research on the brains of bilinguals, and
I am concerned about the methods used to assess the proficiency levels of the
subjects in neuroimaging experiments. In many cases the
experimenters rely on having their subjects rate themselves on
comprehension and production, or the experimenters rely on their own 
intuitions about the proficiency level of their subjects.

So, are you aware of any standardized ways of accurately 
characterizing L2 proficiency? Could someone point me to an expert in 
L2 proficiency assessment?
 gary jasdzewski
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Message 2: Portmanteau Pronouns

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 15:23:27 +0200
From: davidgil <>
Subject: Portmanteau Pronouns

In Tagalog there is a free pronoun, "kita", whose meaning is roughly
"1st person singular non-topic acting on 2nd person singular topic". 
That is to say, it is a suppletive form, which occurs instead of the
expected but ungrammatical sequence "ko ka", where "ko" is "1st person
singular non-topic" and "ka" is "2nd person singular topic".

My query is a simple factual one: is anybody familiar with similar
portmanteau pronouns from other languages?

By "similar", I mean examples satisfying the following criteria:

(1) free pronominal form;
(2) combined reference to two distinct arguments associated with two
distinct grammatical or thematic relations.

Criterion (1) rules out the relatively widespread case of verbal affixes
which combine subject and object reference.

Criterion (2) and the requirement of distinct arguments rules out the
common case of reflexive pronouns, which can also be construed as
combining, say, subject and object reference, albeit to a single argument.

It is my educated guess that pronouns of the Tagalog "kita" variety are
extremely rare cross-linguistically; but I'd like to get a more accurate
assessment of exactly how rare they are.



David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Inselstrasse 22, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 49-341-9952321 (recently changed!) 
Fax: 49-341-9952119
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