On Monday, June 2, 2003, at 08:33 AM, Stone Gordonssen wrote:
>>> Here's an idea which I took from Numic languages (Shoshoni, Paiute,
>>> etc). Instead of gender, third person pronouns can be differentiated
>>> relative distance; referents which are closer (proximal) have
>>> pronouns than those which are further away (distal). This relative
>>> distance can be metaphorical as well; referents which are mentioned
>>> first or which are agents can be referred to with proximal pronoun
>>> forms, while referents which are mentioned later or which are lower
>>> in the
>>> agency hierarchy can be referred to with distal pronoun forms.
> Interesting. I've similar pronouns in Bes Dis'z.
The Numic languages also have switch reference, but that system has its
origin in the tense/aspect system of the language. I had switch
reference in Tepa (the precursor to Miapimoquitch), but it has now
become entwined with deixis in Miapimoquitch. There is a three-way
deictic distinction which is cross-cut with same subject/different
subject as follows:
same subject different subject
proximal te= ta=
distal ke= ka=
neutral e= a=
The consonant encodes deixis and the vowel encodes same/different
subject. All of these forms are proclitics which appear on the first
element of subordinate clauses.
And lest you think that the Miapimoquitch system is just too orderly,
here's a look at Shoshoni's deictic prefixes.
near si- i-
not at near se- e-
far sa- a-
out of sight su- u-
These prefixes are combined with a group of several deictic stems,
including -t1n 'demonstrative', -pai 'time', -s1n 'emphatic', etc. The
correspondence between deictic distance and the F2 of the prefixal
vowel is particularly to be noted; it's one of the best examples of
iconicity in natural language grammar that I know of.
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