LINGUIST List 23.3015

Wed Jul 11 2012

Review: Indo-European; Historical Linguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Typology: Dupraz (2012)

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Date: 11-Jul-2012
From: Nicholas Zair <>
Subject: Sabellian Demonstratives
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AUTHOR: Emmanuel DuprazTITLE: Sabellian DemonstrativesSUBTITLE: Forms and FunctionsSERIES TITLE: Brill's Studies in Indo-European Languages & LinguisticsYEAR: 2012

Nicholas Zair, Peterhouse & The Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University


This work is devoted to the system of demonstratives used in the Sabellian (alsoknown as Sabellic or Osco-Umbrian) languages of ancient Italy. The Sabellianlanguages, whose best-attested members are Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene, areIndo-European languages often assumed to be closely related to Latin (andLatin's sister language, Faliscan). The majority of the work is devoted to thecollection and analysis of all uses of demonstratives, divided according to stemtype, in the Sabellian languages, from the point of view of their pragmatic,syntactic and semantic usage. One chapter is devoted to a reconstruction of thediachronic developments of the system of demonstratives.

The book contains ten chapters, including the introduction and conclusion.Preceding the contents page is an explanation of the abbreviations andconventions used in the book; at the end of the book is a bibliography, an indexlocorum, and an index verborum. The Introduction and Acknowledgements provide abrief introduction to the inscriptional sources of the Sabellian languages,particularly with regard to their suitability for discussion of demonstratives. Chapter 1, "Some Theoretical Issues", introduces theoretical approaches to thepragmatic, syntactic and semantic properties of demonstratives, with examplestaken from Latin literary and inscriptional sources.

Chapters 2-5 collect the evidence for, and discuss the use of four Sabelliandemonstrative stems, devoting a chapter to each stem. Chapter 2, "*Esto-/*Esmo-:Exophora, Text Deixis, Discourse Deixis, and Suppletion", discusses the evidencefor the stems *esto and *esmo . Dupraz concludes that both *esto and *esmoare used exophorically in Umbrian, South Picene and 'Pre-Samnite', with textdeictic usage also found in the more text-structurally complex context of theUmbrian Iguvine Tables. Exophoric examples have a proximal meaning, i.e., theypoint to a referent close to the speaker. The stems are never usedanaphorically. Furthermore, *esto- is only attested in the nominative oraccusative singular or plural, while *esmo- is found only in oblique cases.Consequently, Dupraz follows earlier scholars in arguing that these two stemsshould be seen as suppletive parts of the same demonstrative paradigm.Strikingly, neither *esto nor *esmo- is found in Oscan inscriptions, but Duprazsuggests that this preposition did exist in Oscan. As a comparandum for theavoidance of a particular demonstrative for pragmatic reasons he points out theinfrequency of 'iste' in Republican Latin inscriptions. He also observes thepresence of *esto- in a single 'Pre-Samnite' inscription. Dupraz considers'Pre-Samnite' to have been particularly close to Oscan (although this is notbased on strong evidence, as he himself acknowledges, p. 60, fn. 120).

Chapter 3, "*Eko-/*Ekso-: Exophora, Text Deixis, Discourse Deixis, andGrammaticalisation", involves the stems *eko- and *ekso-, which form asuppletive paradigm in Oscan. According to Dupraz, following the traditionalview, only *ekso is found in Umbrian, in the form 'es '. He argues against thecontention of Penney (2002), that Umbrian only had a single proximaldemonstrative, and that Umbrian 'es ' belongs in a single, highly suppletiveparadigm with the forms of the *esto-/esmo- demonstrative, and comes fromsomething like *estso-. Dupraz acknowledges that *eko-/ekso- and *esto-/esmo-are both proximal demonstratives which can be used both exophorically and as adiscourse deictic form. However, he identifies differences in their text deicticuses, with *ekso- only being used in Umbrian to point to linguistic expressionsfollowing the sentence containing it, while *esto-/esmo- can refer bothbackwards and forwards. When used in discourse deixis, adnominal and pronominal*ekso- always point to a preceding antecedent, while *esto-/esmo- is again freeto refer in both directions. According to Dupraz, *eko-/ekso- is considerablymore grammaticalised than *esto-/esmo-, with discourse deictic adverbs onlybeing derived from the former in Oscan and Umbrian, and also used much more informulaic environments than *esto /esmo .

In Chapter 4, "*Ollo-: Distance and Anaphora", Dupraz discusses the Umbrian stem*ōlo and the Oscan *ollo . In Umbrian, *ōlo- is found only in a locationaladverb, while *ollo- in Oscan is an anaphoric demonstrative; in both Umbrian andOscan it is used particularly in contexts referring to punishments, judgments orcurses, and consequently, probably had semantics which expressed distancebetween speaker and referent.

Chapter 5, "*I-/*Eyo-/*Eyso-: Anaphora, Discourse Deixis, andGrammaticalisation", is the longest chapter, since demonstrative forms of thisstem are by far the best attested, and are found in both Umbrian and Oscan.Unlike *esto-/esmo- and *eko-/ekso-, *i-/eyo-/eyso- cannot be usedexophorically, and is the only available anaphoric pronoun, except for thesemantically marked *ollo-. Most interestingly, it can also be used as adiscourse deictic, and in official texts, only refers to a clause in the samesentence. This may be an example of genre-based stylistics in Sabellian.

Chapter 6, "Obscure Forms: Stems and Uses", collects and discusses various otherforms which have been argued to be demonstratives or derived fromdemonstratives. Chapter 7, "Sabellian Demonstratives: A Synchronic Comparison",compares various types of Republican Latin epigraphical and literary data forthe use of demonstratives with the equivalent genres in the Sabellian languages.Dupraz concludes that, for similar types of genre, the use of the stems*esto-/esmo-, *eko-/ekso-, *ollo- and *i-/eyo-/eyso- is largely similar to thatof Latin 'iste', 'hic', 'ille' and 'is', with the exception of the South Piceneuse of *esto-/esmo- in poetic epitaphs rather than the expected *eko-/ekso-found in the 'North Oscan' languages and paralleled by the Latin 'hic'. Thisparallelism allows Dupraz to speculate about uses of demonstratives which arepoorly or not at all attested in the Sabellian data.

Chapter 8, "Sabellian and Latin Demonstratives: A Diachronic Reconstruction",concerns the reconstruction of a Common Italic system of demonstratives, whencedeveloped the Sabellian and Latin-Faliscan systems. According to Dupraz, CommonItalic inherited two demonstratives and various particles which could be used todraw a hearer's attention to a referent. One demonstrative had a paradigm*i-/ey-/e-sy-/e-sm-, and the other had a stem *so-/to- (still attested as suchin early Latin). The first demonstrative underwent a paradigm split andelaboration to give *i-/ey-/e-sy- and *esto-/esmo-, while Sabellian *eko-/ekso-,Latin 'hic', Sabellian *ollo and Latin 'olle/ille' arose from referentialparticles.

Finally, a brief Conclusion sums up the findings of the previous chapters.


This book is a valuable contribution to the study of Sabellian grammar. Dupraz'sanalyses of sometimes very obscure passages of Sabellian texts are clear andwell argued. He is careful to emphasise problems caused by uncertainty ofinterpretation, lack of data, and different genres of texts. Sabellian grammaris often explained on the assumption that it is identical to that of Latin.Dupraz's concentration first on the data presented to us by Sabellian, followedby a careful comparison with that of Latin, is a model for this kind of work,demonstrating that while there are similarities between the systems of theSabellian languages and Latin, there are also important differences. In the restof this review I will focus particularly on the arguments put forward inChapters 2, 3 and 8 regarding the stems reconstructed by Dupraz as *esto-/esmo-and *eko-/ekso-, followed by a few more minor points.

The key argument in Chapters 2 and 3 is for the existence in Common Sabellian -and in both Umbrian and Oscan - of two suppletive paradigms *esto-/esmo- and*eko-/ekso-, to be distinguished both formally and syntactically/pragmatically.In this regard, Dupraz argues against the position of Penney (2002), whoconcludes that all the proximal demonstrative forms in Umbrian belong to asingle paradigm with the stems *es-so-, *es-to- and *es-t-so-, and that*eko-/ekso- is not attested in Umbrian. For Penney, Umbrian forms with thehistorical stem 'es-' are to be explained as reflecting either the nominativesingular stem *es-so- or the oblique stem *es-t-so-. Two problems for Penney'sview (as argued by Dupraz, pp. 111-115) are that there needs to be subsequentlevelling between the stems to get forms like nominative/ accusative pluralneuter 'eso' for expected 'estu' < *es-to-, and that this 'estu' is in factattested beside 'eso', giving two allomorphic neuter plurals. The first of theseis not particularly surprising, given such a suppletive paradigm, but the secondis unquestionably a serious problem.

Another of Dupraz's arguments against Penney is the morphological complexity ofhis proposed suppletive demonstrative stem, which, in addition to the stems*es-so-, *es-to-, and *es-ts-o-, also has, according to Dupraz, a stem*est-so-mo-, which Dupraz considers to be a "recharacterisation" of the originaloblique stem *es-t-so- in the dative and locative. However, in this regard Ithink Dupraz has accidentally misrepresented Penney. Penney (2002: 140-141)argues that the second part of *es-so-/*es-to- comes from the inheritedIndo-European pronoun *so-/to-, whose dative, ablative and locative singularswere *tosmo:y, *tosmo:d and *tosmi, respectively (see Weiss 2009: 335-338), witha formant *-sm- between root and ending. Penney calls the sequence *-smo:y an"ending", whereas Dupraz considers *-sm- to be part of a stem. It could beargued that this terminological discrepancy is just hair-splitting, but thepoint is that if one accepts Penney's derivation of the *esto-type stem from*so-/to-, the Sabellic forms in *est(s)osm- > *essmo- > *esmo- come for free, asit were, by inheritance, and do not represent a new, recharacterised stem.Furthermore, the pronominal stems/endings in *-sm- are not unique to *esto- inSabellian, but appear also in the relative pronoun dative singular Umbrian'pusme', and perhaps 'Pre-Samnite' 'pusmoi', which are surprisingly notdiscussed in this connection by Dupraz (this analysis of 'pusme' is doubted byCowgill 1970: 139, but accepted by Untermann 2000: 595-597; for the'Pre-Samnite' form see Lazzarini & Poccetti 2001: 90-92). Interestingly, thistype of 'stem' in the dative, locative, and ablative in *-sm- is argued to be atthe base of the creation of the *esto-/esmo- pronoun at a Common Italic level byDupraz in Chapter 8 (pp. 296-303). He considers that a stem *e-sm- originallyformed part of the *i-/ey-/e-sy-/e-sm- demonstrative, but was then reanalysed asa separate pronoun, *es-m-, to which *es-to- was added as a suppletive stemcreated by adding *es- to forms of the pronoun *to-. Although this theory doesexplain where the formant *es- came from in the first place, it does not providea reason why a suppletive paradigm was created by adding forms of the pronoun*to- to *es-, for which no analogical model is supplied. Dupraz emphasises thathis proposed developments are extremely hypothetical; any attempt at anexplanation of highly suppletive paradigms, such as those that characterise thedemonstratives, is bound to assume a complicated path of different analogicalremodellings for which there is no direct evidence. Nonetheless, I find thischapter the weakest part of the book.

One of the striking discoveries made by Dupraz is, as mentioned in the summary,the claim that in Umbrian text, deictic *esto-/esmo- can refer both backwardsand forwards, while *(eko-/)ekso- can only refer forwards. All of the supposedexamples of text deictic *ekso- in Umbrian consist of the accusative pluralneuter 'eso', largely in a formulaic context involving a verb of saying in thefuture imperative. Formally, 'eso' could equally belong to Penney's proposedstem *estso-, and therefore be part of the *esto-/esmo- stem (although Penneydoes not mention the form 'eso'). Another of Dupraz's arguments against Penneyis this difference in text deictic and discourse deictic usages. However, itseems to me that just as it is at least possible for 'eso' to belong with*est(s)o- formally, the same is true of its syntax/pragmatics; since*esto-/esmo- can refer both backwards and forwards, the distinction between thebehaviour of *esto-/esmo- and 'eso' arises only if we have already decided toassign 'eso' to *eko-/ekso- rather than *esto-/esmo-. Although other cases oftext deictic *esto-/esmo- in Umbrian show a 5:2 ratio of backward: forwardreference, while all 20 instances of 'eso' are forward, this can be attributedto the fact that 'eso' is almost entirely found in a single formulaic context.Besides, the numbers are hardly large enough for us to draw certain conclusionsabout the relative frequency of reference direction. The same goes for thediscourse deictic usages.

Further discussion of *eko- and *esto- and their various stem formants inSabellian still seems to be required. Although not all Dupraz's arguments infavour of his analysis are equally compelling, he has made a very valuablecontribution to the debate, especially by making available a full collection ofdata, and providing strongly-argued support for traditional views regarding thepronouns, against the views of Penney.

I discuss here a few minor points. Dupraz's interpretation (pp.103-104) of Oscan'ekass viass' ('these streets') as exophoric, referring to the streets nearestto the inscription, seems to me less plausible than the alternative anaphoricreading, since two streets have already been referred to earlier in theinscription, and since this produces a less vague referent. Dupraz suggests (p.182) an etymology of Umbrian 'itek' ('thus') as *ita (cf. Latin 'ita', 'thus')plus a particle *-i, plus *ke, which is perfectly plausible; but an alternativeapproach, if we were to accept Haug's (2004) claim of raising of *-a- to -e- inunstressed syllables in Sabellian, would be to posit simply *ita - identical toLatin 'ita' - plus *ke. Dupraz translates (pp. 217-218) lines 6-7 of the OscanTabula Bantina "inim. idic. siom. dat. senate[is] / tanginud. maimas. carneis.pertumum" as 'and that as to this he forbids by decision of the senate, themajor part of it', with 'idic' being taken as a discourse deictic demonstrativepointing to the previous clause and meaning 'as to this'. Dupraz points out that'idic' cannot refer back to the noun 'comono' ('assembly') in the previousclause, since 'comono' is neuter plural, while 'idic' is neuter singular.However, it seems possible to me that 'idic' is meant to refer back to 'comono',with singular for grammatical plural, in a constructio ad sensum - there is asimilar case of this in line 9, where the singular noun 'touto' ('people') takesa 3rd plural verb, 'deicans' ('let them swear'). We would then translate this as'and he forbids it (the assembly) by decision of the senate, the major part ofit'. Dupraz (p. 286, fn. 5) derives Oscan 'ionc' ('this', accusative singular),from *ey-om-ke; it would also be possible to see this as coming from *yom-ke,with recharacterisation of the expected *im (perhaps found in South Picene) withthe o-stem accusative singular marker *-om.


Cowgill, Warren. 1970. Italic and Celtic superlatives and the dialects ofIndo-European. In G. Cardona, Henry M. Hoenigswald & Alfred Senn (eds.),Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans, 113-153. Philadelphia: University ofPhiladelphia Press

Haug, Dag. 2004. On unaccented short vowels in Sabellian and the morphology ofthe Italic 2nd conjugation. Indogermanische Forschungen 109. 235-249

Lazzarini, Maria Letizia & Paolo Poccetti. 2001. Il mondo enotrio tra VI e Vsecolo a.C. Atti dei seminari napoletani (1996-1998). L'iscrizione paleoitalicada Tortora. Napoli: Loffredo Editore

Penney, John. 2002. Notes on some Sabellic Demonstratives. In Ina J. Hartmann &Andreas Willi (eds.), Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology& Phonetics, 131-142. Oxford

Untermann, Jürgen. 2000. Wörterbuch des Oskisch-Umbrischen. Heidelberg:Universitätsverlag C. Winter

Weiss, Michael. 2009. Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar ofLatin. Ann Arbor & New York: Beech Stave Press


Dr. Nicholas Zair is a Research Fellow in Classics at Peterhouse andAffiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University. He iscurrently working on the relationship between orthography and phonology inOscan. His book 'The Reflexes of the Proto-Indo-European Laryngeals inCeltic' will be out this year, published by Brill. His research interestsinclude the Italic and Celtic languages, Proto-Indo-European phonology andmorphology, sound change and linguistic sub-grouping.

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