By Trevor G. Fenell, Henriki Gelson
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Extra resources for A Grammar of Modern Latvian (Slavistic Printings and Reprintings ; No. 304) Vol.3
In Bella Coola (Salishan: Nater 1984: 112), on the other hand, independent personal pronouns are reported to be, strictly speaking, stative verbs ('to be me') that can be nominalized like other verbs. There are also languages like Mbay (Central Sudanic, Nilo-Saharan: Keegan 1997: 62) that are reported to have no independent pronouns as such. Subject, object, and possessive affixes that are attached to verbs, prepositions, and nouns carry out the function of such pronouns. Further, certain nouns like yaa 'thing', dee 'person', Ida 'speech', and loo 'place' may be used in a general pronominal sense, translating as 'something' and 'somebody'.
This disparity in gender marking leads to an interesting distinction in the control of verbal agreement. While the person (and number) distinction is controlled by the pronoun that occurs in the subject position, gender distinction is controlled by the noun phrase that provides the basis for the identification of the referent of that pronoun. This can be exemplified with the help of sentences that involve verbs of saying. For example, there are two different kinds of ant, of which one is called mungi, a word in feminine gender, and the other one is called mungla, a word in masculine gender, hi a story that reports a conversation among these ants there would be gender distinction in the case of first person verbs but not in that of the corresponding personal pronouns, as shown in (14c,d) (Kashi Wali, personal communication).
Before proceeding further with this characterization of the distinction between personal pronouns and other types of pronouns ('proforms'), I wish to emphasize an important point concerning my basic approach to the study of lexical or grammatical categories and processes. I believe that a distinction needs to be made between primary and secondary (or extended) functions of various categories and processes that occur in a language. We can account for their prototypical characteristics only on the basis of their primary function.
A Grammar of Modern Latvian (Slavistic Printings and Reprintings ; No. 304) Vol.3 by Trevor G. Fenell, Henriki Gelson