Extra person-s?

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Extra person-s?

Post by OTʜᴇB » 01 Sep 2016 16:54

In all my conlangs so far, I've had the following person-s:
1SG, 2SG, 3SG, 1PL.INCL, 1PL.EXCL, 2PL, 3PL
I've always distinguished between a "we" that includes the listener/reader and one that doesn't. This seems a little asymmetrical though as this distinction isn't anywhere else. Can there be this distinction anywhere else? If so, could someone explain as I like distinctions like this that mean one can be more specific in speech. Also what would be the distinction for "I do" and "One does"?
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by elemtilas » 01 Sep 2016 17:43

OTʜᴇB wrote:In all my conlangs so far, I've had the following person-s:
1SG, 2SG, 3SG, 1PL.INCL, 1PL.EXCL, 2PL, 3PL
I've always distinguished between a "we" that includes the listener/reader and one that doesn't. This seems a little asymmetrical though as this distinction isn't anywhere else. Can there be this distinction anywhere else? If so, could someone explain as I like distinctions like this that mean one can be more specific in speech. Also what would be the distinction for "I do" and "One does"?
Why not?

If the speakers of this language have the need for such distinctions, then they will find some way to make those distinctions! You could certainly do for the 2nd and 3rd persons what you've done for the 1st -- distinguish "you and me" from "you and everyone else" as well as "them over here" from "them over yonder" or whatever.

Queranaran has, apart from incl./excl. distinctions in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd persons, proximacy distinction between the 3rd & 4th persons and animacy distinctions between the 3rd through 7th persons.
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by OTʜᴇB » 01 Sep 2016 17:50

elemtilas wrote:
OTʜᴇB wrote:In all my conlangs so far, I've had the following person-s:
1SG, 2SG, 3SG, 1PL.INCL, 1PL.EXCL, 2PL, 3PL
I've always distinguished between a "we" that includes the listener/reader and one that doesn't. This seems a little asymmetrical though as this distinction isn't anywhere else. Can there be this distinction anywhere else? If so, could someone explain as I like distinctions like this that mean one can be more specific in speech. Also what would be the distinction for "I do" and "One does"?
Why not?

If the speakers of this language have the need for such distinctions, then they will find some way to make those distinctions! You could certainly do for the 2nd and 3rd persons what you've done for the 1st -- distinguish "you and me" from "you and everyone else" as well as "them over here" from "them over yonder" or whatever.

Queranaran has, apart from incl./excl. distinctions in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd persons, proximacy distinction between the 3rd & 4th persons and animacy distinctions between the 3rd through 7th persons.
wait wait wait wait wait wait wait... 7th persons? Now I'm intrigued.

I guess the biggest confusion here is that I don't know how I'd describe the distinction between incl and excl in the 2PL person. I have the indefinite in 1SG now for "I" and "One" and I might apply a similar thing for 2SG, but still nothing for the 3rd person.
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by elemtilas » 01 Sep 2016 18:41

OTʜᴇB wrote:I guess the biggest confusion here is that I don't know how I'd describe the distinction between incl and excl in the 2PL person. I have the indefinite in 1SG now for "I" and "One" and I might apply a similar thing for 2SG, but still nothing for the 3rd person.
Well, I guess it depends on who you'd want to include and who you'd want to exclude, and how many incl/excl forms you want.

An easy choice would be a form that includes the direct audience while excluding all others; and a form that includes both the direct audience and all others. Another possibility is a form that includes only a single interlocutor while excluding everyone else within hearing.

The 'dispassionate third person' is a good one too, really. A handy first person distinction between actually me and a hypothetical I. In the 2nd person, a distinction between "you being directly addressed" and "not you personally, but people in general".

The need for these kinds of things in English, even, is obvious. Can't think of how many times on-line discussions have devolved into bickering for want of a direct-you / indirect-you distinction!
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by OTʜᴇB » 01 Sep 2016 19:06

elemtilas wrote:
OTʜᴇB wrote:I guess the biggest confusion here is that I don't know how I'd describe the distinction between incl and excl in the 2PL person. I have the indefinite in 1SG now for "I" and "One" and I might apply a similar thing for 2SG, but still nothing for the 3rd person.
Well, I guess it depends on who you'd want to include and who you'd want to exclude, and how many incl/excl forms you want.

An easy choice would be a form that includes the direct audience while excluding all others; and a form that includes both the direct audience and all others. Another possibility is a form that includes only a single interlocutor while excluding everyone else within hearing.

The 'dispassionate third person' is a good one too, really. A handy first person distinction between actually me and a hypothetical I. In the 2nd person, a distinction between "you being directly addressed" and "not you personally, but people in general".

The need for these kinds of things in English, even, is obvious. Can't think of how many times on-line discussions have devolved into bickering for want of a direct-you / indirect-you distinction!
I was thinking of that first distinction, but surely that would just be 2SG and 2PL? As for the "people in general", I have a noun case that's a general article that refers to a thing "in general". I'm not sure what a "interlocutor" is, nor how a "dispassionate" third person would work, so I'd need some explanation.
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by Frislander » 01 Sep 2016 19:12

When used as a pronoun 'One' is actually an impersonal.

Also elemtilas, if the distinguishing factor in your 'persons' 3 through 7 is animacy, why on earth are you analysing them as different persons and not just a gender system in the 3rd person?

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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by OTʜᴇB » 01 Sep 2016 19:14

Frislander wrote:When used as a pronoun 'One' is actually an impersonal.
I guess I could have a difference between "I" and "One" when referring to one's self as a "me" and "hypothetical me" as elemtilas says, but then I can also do the same for a "you" and "hypothetical you". I could go further and have this for the third person as well.
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by Nachtuil » 01 Sep 2016 22:29

I don't see why you couldn't have incl and exclus on other persons too. It is definitely a matter for pragmatics. Even third person the exclusive and inclusive could refer to an individual or group indicated earlier or distinguishing one group as a sub group of another.
Edit: elemtilas makes good points.

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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by gach » 01 Sep 2016 23:11

Hang on a minute! The inclusive/exclusive distinction in the 1st person plural is all about explicitly stating whether the 1st person marker also refers to the listener(s) or not. Essentially a 1st person inclusive is a combined 1st+2nd person.

Now, what would the hypothetical inclusive versions of the 2nd and 3rd persons be? If your 2nd person inclusive would be a 2nd person + the listeners, wouldn't it just be a regular 2nd person? Or if it would be a 2nd person + the speaker, wouldn't it simply be the regular 1st person inclusive? And if you try to make inclusive versions of the 3rd person by the same strategies (including the speaker or the listener under them), how would you get something different from the regular 1st and 2nd persons? After all, a 3rd person + the speaker falls nicely under the regular 1st person plural exclusive and a 3rd person + the listener under the 2nd person plural.

It's nice to make the occasional thought experiments like this with grammatical categories but please also check that your word games make practical sense. Otherwise you risk filling your grammar with forms that you use rarely, if ever, when you don't know what they really mean or what the differences between them are.
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by Khemehekis » 02 Sep 2016 00:21

OTʜᴇB wrote: I was thinking of that first distinction, but surely that would just be 2SG and 2PL? As for the "people in general", I have a noun case that's a general article that refers to a thing "in general". I'm not sure what a "interlocutor" is, nor how a "dispassionate" third person would work, so I'd need some explanation.
The word interlocutor means "the person with whom one is having a conversation".

Some of my conlangs have distinctions on the second person: "you and you" versus "you (sing.) and she or he".
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by elemtilas » 02 Sep 2016 01:41

OTʜᴇB wrote:I was thinking of that first distinction, but surely that would just be 2SG and 2PL? As for the "people in general", I have a noun case that's a general article that refers to a thing "in general". I'm not sure what a "interlocutor" is, nor how a "dispassionate" third person would work, so I'd need some explanation.
"Dispassionate" I think is not what I mean here. I think "dissociated" might be better. In English, at least, this form is a way of distancing references to myself (or my interlocutor, or even my audience or anyone else) sometimes as a means of speaking euphemistically, sometimes as a means of speaking politely. "One" can thus refer to any person, but indirectly.

As already mentioned, "interlocutor" is simply the person I, as the speaker here, am directly addressing. You are my interlocutor, I am yours. Other people that are taking part in the discussion, but that neither of us are directly addressing, are a kind of participant audience. Anyone else who ain't here are non-participants and non-audience members.
gach wrote:Hang on a minute! The inclusive/exclusive distinction in the 1st person plural is all about explicitly stating whether the 1st person marker also refers to the listener(s) or not. Essentially a 1st person inclusive is a combined 1st+2nd person.

Now, what would the hypothetical inclusive versions of the 2nd and 3rd persons be? If your 2nd person inclusive would be a 2nd person + the listeners, wouldn't it just be a regular 2nd person? Or if it would be a 2nd person + the speaker, wouldn't it simply be the regular 1st person inclusive? And if you try to make inclusive versions of the 3rd person by the same strategies (including the speaker or the listener under them), how would you get something different from the regular 1st and 2nd persons? After all, a 3rd person + the speaker falls nicely under the regular 1st person plural exclusive and a 3rd person + the listener under the 2nd person plural.

It's nice to make the occasional thought experiments like this with grammatical categories but please also check that your word games make practical sense. Otherwise you risk filling your grammar with forms that you use rarely, if ever, when you don't know what they really mean or what the differences between them are.
Well, that's why we do what we do! We think about how other kinds of people perceive the world, what is important for them to understand about it and what is important to get across to others of their kind. For Daine, these kinds of distinctions are important. Very important, as a matter of social intercourse. (And perhaps other kinds as well. [xD] ) They don't live their lives in isolation; on the contrary, Daine life is essentially communal. Everyone is an audience for everyone else's conversations. It's good to be able to figure out who's who, and these systems of inclusive & exclusive deixis help solve that issue.

I gave some possibles for incl/excl 2nd and 3rd person. I'm sure there are other possible schemes as well.

You do make a good point about pointless additions to a grammar and losing one's way! I think as long we sort out the issues and actually try to understand the languages we make and how they are used, we'll steer clear of the worst of those problems. For the most part, anyway!
Frislander wrote:Also elemtilas, if the distinguishing factor in your 'persons' 3 through 7 is animacy, why on earth are you analysing them as different persons and not just a gender system in the 3rd person?
That's simply how I decided to divide up the space. Gender is already an issue in the pronouns (depending on person, there are as many as four), so calling these other things "genders" seems, at least to me, to be a non-starter. It would also make for an unwieldy "genders within genders" situation in some of the persons.

Really what's going on, and as I understand it, this is a matter of "spatio-social deixis". Daine are terribly fond of perceiving the world in terms of spatio-temporal metaphor. Things aren't just "here" or "there"; they're "here terribly close by on the left" or "here a little further away on the right" or "behind quite a ways before and to the right". This is why some of the translations I've done seem rather unwieldy for an English speaker. Does it really matter if my little brother is "just here before me at my left toe" or "ever so behind and at my right heel" when I could simply "translate" these as "on my left" or "on my right"? Well, for the people in question, these are important considerations and their language has evolved to address those considerations.

So, imagine these persons (1 through 7) as being arranged in a manner of spatial distance from the speaker. The first person - me the speaker - is obviously an animate being and so is my 2nd person interlocutor. My interlocutor is not me and thus not in co-spatio-temporal existence with me (twins being the exception here, but that'll just muddy the already murky waters I think), so he must be "near by". Other folks not being addressed are just a little further away, but still known and reasonably present -- they are proximate to the discussion. The fourth person, moving further away in distance along the continuum, are still animate but rather further away -- they are obviate, non-germane to our discussion. The fifth person refers to ever further away, indefinite "people". "They". Nowhere near, never likely to be near, not even entering into our consciousness. The sixth person refers to even further away beings -- non-personal yet still animate entities. The seventh person refers to the farthest of all -- inanimate and non-personal entities.

I suppose you could call these genders (and indeed, in Talarian, animacy and inanimacy are huge gender categories); I chose to extend from the proximate-obviate model I'd seen for some North American languages' third and fourth persons.

Hope that makes some sense! Please keep at me if I'm not making enough sense!
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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by Salmoneus » 02 Sep 2016 14:08

It's so much easier to make a language look interesting by intentionally using misleading terminology when describing it, than by actually having imaginative features.


gach: theoretically, in addition to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 1st+2nd persons, you could have a 2nd+3rd person. [So, 'you and others', compared to 'just you lot']. I'm not sure any language actually employs this, however - or at least, outside of a general distinction between bounded and unbounded plurals. This is probably because there's no real motivation for it as there is with the 1st inclusive. The need for a 1st+2nd person stems from the problem of politeness toward the interlocutor: using plain 1st plural in an inclusive sense seems to be dictating to the interlocutor, while using plain 2nd plural seems to be avoiding responsibility. But there is no parallel motivation with the 2/3rds person - third person participants, not being present to hear, are much less likely to become offended. There are cases where special care is taken with certain third persons, like emperors and the like, but in those cases it's almost always going to make more sense to just use the 3rd person anyway. There's also the plain matter of usefulness: it's important to specify whether you expect someone to help you, a lot of the time, but it is hardly ever important to specify whether you mind whether your interlocutor asks somebody else for help. Most languages aren't shaped around the requirements of confidential secret service briefings!


Likewise, the indefinite third person cannot really be extended - pretty much by definition. The 2nd person is the person you are actually talking to, by definition - so an indefinite or hypothetical person cannot be 2nd person. And the 1st person is the one who is actually speaking, by definition, so an indefinite or hypothetical person cannot be 1st person. So languages do not do this.


You could, conceptually, have a distinct person for dummy subjects, but I doubt that this actually exists anywhere (the need being virtually non-existent).

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Re: Extra person-s?

Post by gach » 02 Sep 2016 16:28

Salmoneus wrote:theoretically, in addition to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 1st+2nd persons, you could have a 2nd+3rd person. [So, 'you and others', compared to 'just you lot']. I'm not sure any language actually employs this, however - or at least, outside of a general distinction between bounded and unbounded plurals.
Yeah, the little engineer in me glossed over that as something not too useful. The analogous distinction between a pure 1st person plural (all of the speaker's associates are present and nearby) and a hybrid 1st+3rd person plural (also including people who are absent) also seems far too ephemeral to warrant grammaticalising it.
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