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Eldin Raigmore wrote:
[snip]
> Here's what Prof. Valentine said:
[snip]
> 
> |I think your puzzles are making reference to a common convention in
> |Ojibwe/Algonquian studies, to code person/gender in this way
> 
> |3 third person animate
> |0 third person inanimate

Which is exactly the same way as I understood 3 and 0, i.e. 
animate and inanimate *3rd person* respectively.

> |But I don't know anyone who calls 0 "zeroth" person, or 0th person. It's
> |just a code used in paradigm lists for reasons of economy, though you could
> |certainly say that animate generally outranks inanimate (but I'm not sure
> |what zero would mean in such a scheme, given what 1, 2, 3 mean).

Nor am I.

As I've stated before, if "0th person" has any meaning, then 
it can only mean a zero subject. That's why I & Jörg thought 
of the impersonal forms of Insular Celtic. But even they are 
not normally termed "zeroth."

It's comforting to know that those who actually know what 
they're doing with Ojibwe don't call 3rd person inanimates 
"zeroth persons."

Clearly, however, the Wikipedia article needs rewriting - 
Now why doesn't that surprise me?

> |There are also "unspecified actor forms" which are animate intransitive and
> |transitive inanimate forms that don't have explicit subjects. It's rather
> |like German hier wird getanzt 'there is dancing here.' Such forms are often
> |called impersonal passives. It's common in Ojibwe paradigm coding to call
> |these X forms, and to call the implied actor/agent of a passive X as well. I
> |think that's what's causing the other odd usage... so, for example, 's/he is
> |seen' is coded as X>3s, 'I am seen' as X>1s, etc.

Right - that makes more sense than Wikipedia article, which 
calls this the "null person" and defines it as "indefinite 
proximate singular." I think I prefer to believe Professor 
Valentine.

 From what is said above, this is practically the same as 
Insular Celtic impersonal forms. That's the way passives are 
treated in those languages.*

(* In modern Welsh, however, this is reserved for formal 
style. They colloquial language now uses analytic forms with 
the verb _cael_ "to get, receive.")

> |The direct suffix in transitive verbs is -aa; the inverse is -ig. In the
> |passive, you get -aa, so if you think of passive as X > 3, e.g., waabamaa,
> |'s/he is seen,' then you could argue that X is higher on the person
> |hierarchy than 3, creating an order 2 1 X 3 (3') 0 (0'). (3' is animate
> |obviative; 0' inanimate obviative).
> 
> |cheers,
> 
> |rand
> 
> I think I got that. Did anyone else?

Yep - makes lot more sense than the Wikipedia article. Thanks.

I can now breath a sigh of relief and say again that AFAIK 
the term 0th person is not used in the description of any 
natlang.   ;)

-- 
Ray
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Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.
[WELSH PROVERB]