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RE: [Lambengolmor] 3rd person vs. personeless vs. unsuffixed

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  • Pavel Iosad
    Hello, ... [...] So would I. This is indeed a question of terminology. Personally, I d vote for unmarked or {un|under}specified . It would mean that an
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 2, 2003
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      Hello,

      Andreas Johansson wrote:

      > In regard to the "'controversy'" whether Sindarin verbs with no person
      > marker present should better be called "3rd.sg." forms or "personless"
      > forms, I'd like to question the relevance of both terms.
      [...]

      So would I. This is indeed a question of terminology. Personally, I'd
      vote for 'unmarked' or '{un|under}specified'. It would mean that an
      underspecified form such as _tôg_ or _echant_ will be interpreted as a
      3sg. form, unless there are indications of the contrary (i. e. an overt
      non-3rd person pronoun). Carl's 'personless' runs along these lines, but
      is somewhat confusing: 'personless' vs. 'impersonal'.

      [But "unmarked" or "underspecified" have the same deficiencies I
      noted for "unsuffixed": first, they immediately raise the question,
      "unmarked" or "underspecified" for what? and second, they break
      down in the plural, where they are indeed marked and specified
      for _number_. As for impersonal, that already has a meaning in
      linguistics that doesn't really fit the situation here, sc. of verbs
      and constructions for which there is no actual subject/agent, as
      in "it is raining". "Personless" is, so far as I have yet seen, the
      only term that avoids all the problems. CFH]

      And Carl commented:

      > [I would also point out that there is indirect evidence, from
      > Quenya, that prefixed subjects can nonetheless have personal
      > endings: _elle hiruvalle_ occurs in one of the typescript drafts of
      > Galadriel's Lament (cf. VT41:4). CFH]

      Neither are overt pronouns and agreement markers in complementary
      distribution in Sindarin: cf._le linnon im Tinúviel_ (IV:354). The
      subject is not exactly 'prefixed', but this seems to present a
      counterexample to Andreas' hypothesis.

      Pavel
      --
      Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

      Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth
      --Welsh saying
    • David Kiltz
      ... I think it is very relevant as we are dealing with two different entities. Clearly, they coincide in form (seemingly, I ll write more on that later) but
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 2, 2003
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        On 02.11.2003, at 17:58, Pavel Iosad wrote:

        > Andreas Johansson wrote:
        >
        >> In regard to the "'controversy'" whether Sindarin verbs with no person
        >> marker present should better be called "3rd.sg." forms or "personless"
        >> forms, I'd like to question the relevance of both terms.
        > [...]

        I think it is very relevant as we are dealing with two different
        entities. Clearly, they coincide in form (seemingly, I'll write more on
        that later) but not in function. So, they should be called what they
        are according to their respective function in a sentence. Surely, it
        doesn't make sense to call _echant_ in "Im... echant" a 3rd sg.,
        because it isn't.

        > This is indeed a question of terminology. Personally, I'd
        > vote for 'unmarked' or '{un|under}specified'. It would mean that an
        > underspecified form such as _tôg_ or _echant_ will be interpreted as a
        > 3sg. form, unless there are indications of the contrary (i. e. an overt
        > non-3rd person pronoun). Carl's 'personless' runs along these lines,
        > but is somewhat confusing: 'personless' vs. 'impersonal'.

        I'd stick with 'personless' as the best term for reasons pretty much
        along the line with what Carl has said. 'Unmarked' doesn't seem to fit
        as it does not mean 'lacking a marker' but rather 'not unusual', 'not
        sticking out'. 'Underspecified' conveys (to me) the notion of 'lacking
        a substantial marker', which is not the case. 'Unspecified' doesn't
        work because the forms are specified, just not for person, hence
        'personless'.

        Lastly, 'impersonal' is indeed in use for similar forms but should be
        avoided because it is too ambiguous. In fact, it does not only refer to
        things like "it is raining" but also to French/German "on voit/man
        sieht", Spanish "se nota", Breton "greer", OldIndic "vidé" etc..

        David Kiltz
      • Andreas Johansson
        ... Indeed it does. (Standard disclaimer; in at least one moment in time, Tolkien appears to have envisioned Sindarin not to work like I assumed!) But as Im
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 3, 2003
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          Quoting Pavel Iosad <edricson@...>:

          > Neither are overt pronouns and agreement markers in complementary
          > distribution in Sindarin: cf._le linnon im Tinúviel_ (IV:354). The
          > subject is not exactly 'prefixed', but this seems to present a
          > counterexample to Andreas' hypothesis.

          Indeed it does. (Standard disclaimer; in at least one moment in time, Tolkien
          appears to have envisioned Sindarin not to work like I assumed!)

          But as "Im ... echant" demonstrates, they're not simply obligatory agreement
          endings either.

          I did not actually suggest the forms be called "unsuffixed" - in the past
          tense, these verbs of course commonly display a _tense_ suffix - but "without
          a suffixed pronoun", which we would surely shorten as "pronounless" or some
          such. I still think this is an acceptable conclusion - Pavel's example may
          perhaps be interpreted as having a duplicated pronoun for emphasis - but if
          the choice is between "3rd sg" and "personless", I think the later is the less
          confusing option.

          Andreas
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