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Re: [Lambengolmor] 3rd person vs. personless vs. unsuffixed

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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