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nu alltr e gw alltr?
I came across an interesting thread on sci.lang and thought it might be of
interest here: regarding emphatic and/or inclusive/exclusive pronouns.
The discussion started as a question of the origin of nosotros & vosotros
in Spanish; and has lead to cognates in French [nous autres & vous autres]
and Catalonian [nos altres & vos altres]. It has ended up a discussion on
these forms' use (historical or current) as either inclusive forms or
emphatic forms. I toss you lot this idea to see if it may have a place in
Brithenig or Breathanach.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:
On Tue, 03 Nov 1998 00:43:05 GMT, Jeff Smith <email@example.com>
>Tom Carbon wrote:
>> On 02 Nov 1998 17:21:55 -500, Lloyd Zusman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> >In these particular French-speaking areas, are both «nous» and
>> >«nous-autres» currently in use, or is it only «nous-autres»?
>> "Nous" is standard and common, "nous autres" is special-purpose
>> and colloquial.
> This is not really accurate, at least about Québec French (so logically
>it could apply to other areas, but I do not know them well enough).
>"Nous autres" and "nous" exist of course, but the difference is not that
>much a matter of exclusiveness or colloquialness, but rather one of
>emphasis (which will be heard more often in everyday informal speech,
>yes). Now I just checked in my last year edition of _Le bon usage_ of M.
>Grévisse, and there is no mention whatsoever about colloquial speech. It
>is just said that autres can be used to reinforce nous and vous (nous
>autres, vous autres). But this is incomplete, unless this is a feature
>of my Québec french: it applies to all three plural persons, so that
>'eux autres' is fairly common too.
Doubtlessly, Sp. <nosotros>/<-as>, Cat. <nosaltres> and Fr. <nous
autres> arose as a means expressing the diference between 1p.pl.
exclusive (me+them) and 1p.pl. inclusive (me+you). A large
proportion of the world's languages makes that distinction, including
other European lgs. like Russian (<my> vs. <my s toboj>/<my s vami>).
Of course, this -<otros>/-<altres>/-<autres> eventually also came to
be interpreted as a mere redundant plural marker on the pers.
pronouns, hence such forms as <vosotros>/<-as>, <vosaltres>, <vous
autres> and <eux autres>.
In Spanish and Catalan, <vosotros>/<-as>, <vosaltres> replaced the
original 2p. pl. pronoun <vos>, which had come to be used as a formal
singular pronoun (as Fr. <vous>, where this did not happen), and
eventually replaced <tú> as the default/informal 2.sg. pronoun in
some places (e.g. Argentina and cf. English "you" vs. "thou"). In
Spain itself, <vos> is not used now (nor <vós> hardly in Catalan): it
was crushed between the newly formed formal <usted> [created out of
<vuestra merced> "your grace", when <vos> was losing its formality]
and a resilient informal <tú>, which, together with <vosotros>, has
counterattacked and is now challenging <usted(es)> (same applies to
Cat. <tu>, <vosté>, <vosaltres> and <vós>). On the other hand, the
plural <vosotros> has largely disappeared from Spanish America, where
<ustedes> is the norm (formal or informal).
Why <nosotros> replaced <nos> is less clear. I don't think exclusive
"we" is more comon in speech than inclusive "we". Probably the fact
that <vosotros> had come to be the only plural form gave <nosotros>
an unfair advantage over ambiguous <nos> (which was also "us", and
still is). The same ambiguity probably caused the loss of initial
/b/ in the object pronoun <os> < <vos>. We now have forms for all
the object pronouns in Spanish that differ from the subject pronouns.
Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ~ ~
Amsterdam _____________ ~ ~
========================== Ce .sig n'est pas une .cig