LINGUIST List 8.1722

Mon Dec 1 1997

Disc: Re: 8.1705, Sum: First Person and Gender

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. Koontz John E, Re: 8.1705, Sum: First Person and Gender

Message 1: Re: 8.1705, Sum: First Person and Gender

Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 15:56:00 -0700 (MST)
From: Koontz John E <John.KoontzColorado.EDU>
Subject: Re: 8.1705, Sum: First Person and Gender

From: Cyril Veken <> To put the various
contributions in a nutshell, here is what I have been able to bring
together so far:
1. Languages that have "men's speech" vs "women's speech". Marked by
special morphemes whose function seems to indicate the speaker's sex.
Among these, we have Sapir's beautiful and famous description of
Yana, and some Arawan languages of the Amazon, Garifuna (Arawak
language of Central America), some Siouan languages, and Chukchi and
Biloxi (where are these languages spoken, I'm afraid I don't
know). Possibly Thai with a final particle (krap for males and ka for
females), and Ngala.

- -----

Biloxi is a Siouan language, from the Southeastern branch of Siouan.
It is extinct, but was spoken on Biloxi Bay in Mississippi, USA,
c. 1700, and when studied in Louisiana, USA. The most significant
piece of original documentation is the Dorsey & Swanton grammar of
Biloxi and Ofo, published by the US Bureau of American Ethnography.
Chafe's Macro-Siouan (separately and in CTIL) is the easiest
bibliogrpahy to reference.

Sentence final particles which mark the sex of speaker are fairly
common in Siouan, but not universal. The particles principally mark
distinctions like assertion, formal announcement, imperative,
surprise, etc., and only secondarily indicate speaker sex.

These particles are definitely not pronominals, and fall essentially
under the heading of concord to my way of thinking.

While these particles are the main intrusion of "sex gender" into
Siouan grammar, there somewhat similar concords for "positional
gender." For example, the progressive forms in Omaha-Ponca and other
Dhegiha languages are indicated by a verb final auxiliary that
concords with the "positional gender" of the subject. For certain
types of subjects these forms have person concord as well and it is
possible to find instances of 'I the standing' or 'I the moving'
serving as a progressive auxiliary. The same forms, or a similar set,
depending on the language, serve as articles and follow definite
relative clauses, so that you can get utterances that might be
rendered as 'Not fearing I the moving am coming to you.'

I think basically these constructions do not satisfy your requirements
and are, within the bounds of the grammar, essentially like the
Romance or Slavic cases suggested to you.
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