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Nik wrote:

>Christophe Grandsire wrote:


>Also, "kare" and "kanojo" ("he" and "she") CAN, and often are, used to
>mean "Boyfriend" and "girlfriend".  A person I know mentioned that she
>used to be confused when Japanese people would ask her online "kare
>wa?", until she learned about that usage.  :-)  I'm not sure if any of
>the other first or second person pronouns can still be used in
>non-pronominal uses.


In Chinese, you can say: "Ni3 de ta1", "Your s/he",  and "Wo3 de
ta1", "My s/he", for "your boy/girlfriend" and "my boy/girlfriend",
respectively.

>From what I understand, the plural suffixes are never used with
>inanimates, are optional with humans (I'm not sure about non-human
>animates), and obligatory with pronouns.  The use of those suffixes is
>not the same with all type of nouns, so it's not surprising that one
>specialized class of nouns, i.e., pronouns, should make it obligatory.


If you were telling a children's tale, I would think forms like
"hanatachi", "the flowers",  (in a sense where they were sentient
creatures) "nekotachi", "the cats", and "inutachi", "the dogs" would
work.

Chinese "men" is comparable. It makes pronouns plural, but can also
be tacked on to certain nouns denoting people:

"Tong2zhi4men hao3"   "Hello comrades."

"Tong2xue3men hao3"  "Hello students."

"Nü3shi4men, xian1sheng1men..."  "Ladies and gentlemen..."

"Hai2zimen"  "children"

"peng2you3men"  "friends"

"ren2men"  "people"   etc.

"hua1men", "flowers", even in a fairy tale, sounds weird to me (too,
the character "men" has the "person" radical).

Kou