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Elena Filimonova, editor: Clusivity: Typology and Case Studies of the Inclusive-Exclusive Distinction.

Elena Filimonova, editor: Clusivity: Typology and Case Studies of the Inclusive-Exclusive Distinction. Typological Studies in Language. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins, 2005.436 pp.

Elena Filimonova teaches in the Slavonic Studies Department, Cambridge University and in 2000 she organized a workshop on personal pronouns, one result of which is this book with fifteen papers in English. Her introduction (pp. ix-xii) describes each contribution, ending with the hope that the coinage "clusivity" will gain acceptance. (Actually, "clusivity" was used quite independently by B. Michailovsky [2001a: 156, 2001 b: 160]) The coinage sounds good. The papers are arranged in two parts: "Case studies on special problems" (Chapters 1-8, pp. 3-258) and "Areal and family portraits" (pp. 261-424). The first chapter is a theoretical introduction and the last one a conclusion by the editor. Each paper has its own bibliography and the reader will find useful indexes (authors, languages, subjects) at the end of the book.

The first chapter (pp. 3-48) is "Understanding inclusives", by Michael Daniel (Moscow State Univ.). According to Daniel, languages with and without INC ("inclusive") betray intrinsically different views of interlocutive behaviors. One point is that, morphologically, EXC ("exclusive") is more often than INC related to s1 (lst person singular), which is certainly true. The paper gives the impression of a somewhat cursory look at many lists (starting with the World Atlas of Language Structures (Haspelmath et al. 2005), which Daniel contributed to). The reader (not only the French reader), for instance, can only be amused by the section Is 'we' a plural of 'I', since many linguists, even before Meillet, have tackled the topic quite successfully. His treatment of Algonquian (pp. 22-24) is a bit strange: after stressing that the "traditional" treatment is inadequate (and without offering a better one), he insists, "... these approaches are based on the traditional view that pronominal systems may be either inclusive or non-inclusive of the European type and the inability to abandon this view in order to analyze unusual linguistic structures." In the final sections "Previous studies of locutive hierarchies" (Frans Plank and Arnold Zwicky are mentioned whereas Silverstein's famous 1976 article is not), and the brave "A note on the tradition," the reader will find that "to sum up, the traditional approach to inclusives is based on an Indo-European, or, more broadly, non-inclusive linguistic intuition."

Balthasar Bickel (Leipzig) and Johanna Nichols (Berkeley), who also contributed together to the Leipzig Atlas (to which this paper is a commentary), follow with "Inclusive-exclusive as person vs. number categories worldwide" (pp. 49-72). This paper employs the typical Nichols technique of using typology for historical reconstruction. Nichols did fieldwork on Chechen and Bickel on Belhare (Eastern Nepal). It is hardly a coincidence to find in their worldwide map of the INC/EXC distinction (p. 54) that there are four types: (1) no distinction, (2) minimal augmented, (3) Chechen, (4) Belhare. This looks like a typology pro domo. Then comes the geological information, which has become a must in this kind of reconstruction-from-the-origin paper and "global linguistic geography" (p. 57) with statistics. "We take the high frequency of gross inclusive-exclusive distinctions in the Circum-Pacific area as evidence that high frequency of inclusive-exclusive oppositions characterized the Ancient Sunda population" (p. 60). Note that the authors do not write "characterized the Ancient Sunda languages", which we would expect (granted, of course, that the feature was stable and had not diffused since its hoary past), but "population"--with the unfortunate assignment of linguistic features to populations, the only way certainly to use linguistic history for worldwide population history, but ignoring the iterated warnings of Saussure, Boas, Sapir, Meillet and others, before and after World War II, telling us that the linguistic, anthropological and biological maps do not coincide. When Leroi-Gourhan wrote about the North Pacific Continuum (1946), he hardly imagined that future authors would equate language features with a biological distribution, as many tacitly had in the 1880s. It is true that the authors see the Circum-Pacific area as nuanced "into a western half with a preference for Chechen systems and an eastern half with a preference for Belhare systems"--a cleavage they interpret as secondary "once the Ancient Sunda migrations lost importance and populations became more independent" (p. 60). Father Wilhelm Schmidt (1926), arguing along the lines of the Kulturkreis ideology then in vogue (with attention paid through maps to the inclusive feature that he also considered to be archaic), did not equate cultural traits and racial definitions.

The paper by Michael Cysouw (Leipzig, also a contributor to the Leipzig Atlas) is "Syncretisms involving clusivity" (pp. 73-111). Syncretism here means that the INC or EXC marker is morphologically identical to another marker. Section 1 states that clusivity is not what you think it is and introduces the paper, Section 2 is about methods, Section 3 compares INC/EXC with the 1st person, Section 4 with the 2nd person, Section 5 with the 3rd person, Section 6 "discusses some special syncretisms between inclusive and exclusive". In Section 7 the author shows that INC is not more closely linked with 2nd person than with others. Section 8 intends to show that many rare cases are just incidental, and that "common phenomena need more sweeping generalizations, while incidental phenomena should be approached with a situation-specific explanation" (p. 75). The paper is faithful to its plan. Its main drawback is the almost total absence of historical linguistics or morphological analysis. Common phenomena may have become common diachronically, and some that are now rare may have been common, so that the "sweeping generalization" should be accompanied by diachronic remarks. In the same vein, the author decides that only exact likeness will be retained "like the English you-singular and you-plural" (justification of syncretism p. 76). He is probably wrong in asserting (p. 77) that INC = s1 is attested only in Binandere (New Guinea): in Logone Chadic languages, INC may be -mu (= s1). However, he is right in stressing, as other authors have done, that more often than not, EXC is closer to sl. Section 6 considers the difference between DU-INC and PL-INC. The author sums up his interesting cases in a chart (p. 97). In the last section, he briefly discusses semantics and cognition but seems to believe that reasonable systems should be common: "if it is indeed possible for human language to invoke the crosslinguistically widespread semantic category of 'you-non-singular' to define the inclusive-exclusive opposition, then why is this not more regularly attested among the world's languages?" The paper is rich in data and systematically arranged. In trying to keep to basic synchrony, it nevertheless runs the risk of being slightly shortsighted or naive.

The fourth chapter is by Horst J. Simons (Humboldt Universitat): "Only you? philological investigations into the alleged inclusive-exclusive distinction in the second-person plural" (pp. 113-150). Are there languages that have distinct morphs for addressees and for addressees plus others? He reviews the opinions from "no" through "maybe" (Greenberg, Cysouw, Zwicky) to "yes" (Comrie, Plank, Hagege), and reports what he has found in .html. Still better, he surveys the adduced or alleged data in detail: SE Ambrym (with a map, p. 119) is searched through for the exceptional pair of forms P2INC/EXC, and the quest ends up in dialect variation. Abkhaz: he scrutinizes the literature for Hewitt's pair of morphs for p2, digs up a interesting 1895 reference, then turns to sources in "lesser known languages such as, for instance, Russian or French" (p. 123), revealing what Dumazil, then Lomtatidze, said about the pair: one member of the pair is emphatic, clusivity is ruled out. Port Sandwich: Hagege's source, our author rightly discovers, is Jean-Michel Charpentier (1979), who actually indicates a fine distinction based on whether "notre interlocuteurest suppose inclus a notre groupe"--which is interesting but not clusivity stricto sensu. He then describes with acumen other adduced cases, among which are included Mongolian, Mao Naga, and Bavarian. His results are synthetized (p. 137) in a chart where Bavarian answers weakly to the question "only in connection with 'respect'." This brilliant paper ends with methodological remarks.

Chapter 5, "Inclusive and Exclusive in free and bound person forms", (pp. 151--178), is by Anna Siewierska (Lancaster) and Dik Bakker (Amsterdam). Clusivity is marginal here, since the broader question of whether bound forms tend to be less distinctive than independent pronouns in the same language permeates the whole discussion of grammaticalization. Section 1 is an introduction, Section 2 presents what the authors mean by INC/EXC distinction, Section 3 provides the data, Section 4 discusses morphosemantic questions (Do affixed reduced forms explain out the discrepancy with pronouns?), Section 5 concludes. Section 1 favors the additive method of organizing persons (1 + 2, 1 + 2 + 3, etc.), but Section 2 quickly peoples this dreary landscape with a wide linguistic culture. An interesting discussion is provided on pages 170--171, about the complementary (or not) distribution of NPs and person-markers. I guess that languages do vary at this level, for instance, socially. Any decent French grammar would propose Georges a retrouve la clef as a good sentence, but Georges, il a retrouve la clef is in most social contexts far more common. The same is true in many languages, for instance, in Modern Hebrew. A problem that follows the authors to the last page is that affixes are not always obviously derived from free forms.

Chapter 6, "Inclusive imperative", (pp. 179-211) is by Nina Dobrushina and Valentin Goussev, both from Moscow. I am not sure that, as the authors write on p. 179, "Along with requests or commands, the invitation to a common action is one of the most frequent activities in human life," unless one considers humankind as a kind of football team. This paper was probably difficult to write: probing how far imperatives such as Let's go are inclusives (and let's run away ?) needs real context. Their main point is the semantic bias: imperatives target addressees, and explicit exclusives are rare. Examples are Even (according to Malchukov 2001), but this does not seem conclusive; the Sagay dialect of Khakas (according to fieldwork by the authors); West Greenlandic (according to Fortescue); and perhaps Nanai (according to Avrorin). The clearest case is Khakas, although authors do not tell their readers that what they gloss as 1DuInc -an, 1PlInc -anar and 1P1Exc -ibis are historically s2, p2, P1.

Chapter 7 (pp. 213-230), by Michael Cysouw (Leipzig) is "A Typology of honorific uses of clusivity". Cysouw's topic is interesting since Persons in languages are constantly torn between behaving as Nouns (and have duals, plurals, accusative etc.), and behaving as Names (Mijnheer, Sir, Your Highness etc.). Cysouw's paper resulted from (as often in this book) a crosslinguistic survey associated with the Leipzig World Atlas. His Section 2 presents cases of INC as polite s2, Section 3 INC as humble sl, Section 4 INC as "bonding first person" (positive politeness), Section 5 INC as impolite s1, Section 6 EXC as polite s1; Section 7 is a discussion. Cysouw rightly says (p. 213) that "inferences from frequency are only to be taken with great caution" and I find his Section 1 a model of honesty. Examples follow, in Austronesian, Limbu (Michailovky 2001b is not quoted), Tamil, etc., many of them remarkable. One difficulty with some of these examples is transquotation (using authors who are quoting other authors, etc.). Another point is that the INC/EXC contrast plays its role in transitivity: in Tupi-Guarani languages, for instance, 'I verb you' (the "sagittal form" in Hagege's terms, see Hagege 2001) is expressed by using EXC only. This has a bearing on Cysouw's topic. Moreover, we are not far from the "ethic dative" (tu vas me ranger ca tout de suite! 'you will pick that up/put it away immediately [for me]!'), in which people interested in the process are mentioned although they play no explicit "role", since these sentences often contain connotations of politeness or anger. The author concludes that INC more often implies politeness or distance than EXC does, but there is more than that in his rich contribution.

Chapter 8, by Kearsy Cormier (Bristol), is entitled "Exclusive pronouns in American Sign Language" (pp. 231-258) and concludes the first part of this book. The author explains that in ASL (briefly compared with other systems on pp. 249-50) the EXC/INC can be made clear, but is not "grammatical".

Chapter 9, "Inclusive-exclusive in Austronesian" (pp. 261-289), by Frantisek Lichtenberk (Auckland) begins the second group of contributions. The main points are: (a) the opposition is nearly always operative in Austronesian languages and is historically deep-rooted; (b) INC often means polite behavior regarding the addressee; (c) when the opposition was lost, INC survived and became P1. The author discusses "integrative" uses of INC, in which the addressee is included for reasons of politeness or intimacy. His examples are numerous, well arranged and commented. He then shows that INC may become an indefinite pronoun like French on. In his discussion of the Polynesian 1 st person singular INC, he does not cite Haudricourt (1959), an important paper. The numerous important descriptions of New Caledonian languages are also ignored. The last interesting pages are devoted to languages where the INC/EXC has been lost and especially to Tukang Besi (SE Sulawesi, according to Donohue) where the kami type is dual or paucal while the kita type is plural.

Chapter 10 (pp. 291-311), "The inclusive-exclusive distinction in Tibeto-Burman languages", is by Randy LaPolla (Melbourne). This paper continues and sometimes repeats material from other papers by the same author devoted to Tibeto-Burman (TB) reconstruction and to the old but still open question: did Proto-TB have person marking on verbs? Tibetan and Burmese, the first TB languages to become known in Europe, had none; but more and more TB languages with person marking have been discovered and the question about the possible degree of morphology in Proto-TB has become more and more challenging. This context (which the paper does not describe) explains the orientation of the chapter: a survey shows that (a) quite a few languages have the distinction in the pronouns; (b) only a few have it in person markers on verbs: Kiranti (E Nepal) and Chin (Kuki-Chin, SW Myanmar and NE India); (c) for those languages exhibiting the opposition in the pronouns, the author thinks that "usually the exclusive form is less marked and historically prior to the inclusive form", and he infers that the distinction cannot be Proto-TB. The author points out that only sl *na and s2 *na(n) were posited by Benedict at TB level, and he infers that no INC/EXC opposition is likely. Surprisingly, he makes no reference to Matisoff (2003). What then follows is a systematic survey with a rather dry conclusion (p. 305). (What is odd is his use of the label "Mizo-Kuki-Chin", as if you were to use "Spanish-Romance" instead of "Romance". My guess is that the point is to rub out the term "Naga"). The author does show that occurrences of INC are sparse and diverse in form, except within Kiranti. But since he does not provide an analysis of person systems, and only cites 1st persons (singular, dual, plural, INC and EXC), comparative reconstruction is not achieved and etymologies are left undecided. As far as historical linguistics is concerned, the paper appears inconclusive. The old question remains open.

Chapter 11, "Inclusive-exclusive distinctions in the languages of central-western South-America" (pp. 313-339, with a map on pp. 336337) by Mily Crevels and Pieter Muysken (Nijmegen), begins by discussing where the term "inclusive" came from and how. Since nobody in the book happens to mention it (perhaps this rare book is neither in Konstanz, nor in Leipzig), please note that the culprit is Fray Domingo de Santo Tomas, who published in 1560 a Grammatica o Arte de la lengua general de los Indios de los reynos del Peru; there is a modern facsimile edition of this interesting grammar of Aymara. Section 2 sketches a typology of the 65 languages (from 33 "families") examined by the authors, Section 3 is about historical linguistics, Section 4 about contacts, Section 5 is a conclusion. The authors then take pains in applying Cysouw's descriptive arithmetic (1 + 2, 1 + 2 + 3 etc.) to their data. The main part of the paper is devoted to possible historical shifts implying clusivity within the 33 groups to which the languages belong. Since the authors neither discuss phonological reconstruction nor historical linguistics, one often has the impression that they are not clear about what distinguishes typology and history: they sometimes seem to think that a common pattern is sufficient history. Their aim is to support Cysouw's "grammaticalization path"--"there has to be an inclusive for there to be an exclusive" (p. 329), which strikes one as tautological, since the two notions imply one another. This is the debate between structural linguistics and "genetic" linguistics, which hopes to find in today's statistics the older path of the human mind.

The third paper about a specific language group is Irina Nevskaya's (Russian Academy and Frankfurt) "Inclusive and exclusive in Turkic languages" (pp. 341-358). The author admits from the start (p. 342) that the INC/EXC grammatical opposition does not exist in Turkic languages. She examines imperatives, which are certainly interesting, but not for clusivity. The contrast exists between "youS and me" and "youP and me": she adds welcome morphological explanations (pp. 347-348). She then studies pronouns and discusses Gronbech's (1936) opinion that the bizler forms were INC while biz were EXC. However, forms like bizler that the author dubs "multi-plural" are neologisms that were coined with the help of the nominal plural marker -let when the polite meaning in forms like biz became common. The same happened in Mongolian and elsewhere. This brings the author to discuss the plural in Turkic and my stoboj (Russian: "we with-you") effects: in Turkic, the correct pronoun for the subject in the sentence, "I am going to the movies with you this evening" (p. 351), she says, is biz 'we'. Her last point concerns the Yakut dual. She did perhaps stray somewhat from clusivity, the book's subject, but her paper is certainly clear and interesting.

The two chapters that follow concern specific studies, one by Jeanette Sakel (Manchester) entitled "Development of an inclusive-exclusive distinction: a possible loan scenario in Mosetenan" (pp. 359-379) and the other by Jan van Eijk (First Nations University of Canada) entitled "The inclusive and exclusive in Shuswap: a background investigation" (pp. 381-397). The two Mosetenan languages, Moseten and Chimane, are spoken in the Bolivian Andes foothills and show the INC/EXC opposition in verbal marking but not in pronouns: INC can be shown to be recent, and the author suggests it is borrowed. The author rightly distinguishes between a calque (she does not use this classic term, which is more precise, however, than those she found in the literature) and a borrowing and rightly summons the Gumperz and Wilson example of INC being brought from Marathi into neighboring languages, an example she cleverly opposes to the widespread idea that calques induce systems to simplify. Most of the paper is Mosetenan morphology, striking in many ways: intransitive verbs lack person marking but transitive ones have it with a sagittal (ASl + OS2 cannot be analyzed). Shuswap is the only Salish language that exhibits the INC/EXC opposition. The author's opinion is that the opposition developed within Shuswap. His whole discussion of local history and borrowings and routes is excellently written and convincing. (Although apparently some people know these places as well as Burgundy or Tuscany, the uninitiated layman would have appreciated a map.) The author wisely refrains from excluding borrowing in his conclusion (p. 391), but he certainly makes a solid case for local development. This is probably one of the best papers in the book.

The concluding chapter, "Clusivity cross-linguistically", is by Elena Filimonova herself. She reviews the book's chapters and tries courageously, if not always convincingly, to put them into some Greenbergian "if this ... then that" scheme. She insists that INC is not a 1st person, and she is right in a general way, but the range of this emphatic claim depends on the details. Similarly, I am not sure that Cysouw's descriptive technique (maybe useful with students) leads us very far when it takes for granted the unshakable truth of being either 1st or 2nd or 3rd person and calculates the rest from these. I wonder what he does with 'I love you' in Hungarian, Georgian or Guarani, where the person morpheme is not additive. Elena Filimonova is also right in stressing (p. 401) that the INC/EXC contrast is not balanced, but she is not when she takes as a discovery the fact that INC is often a proper morpheme while EXC is derived. In Boro-Garo languages, for instance, (Tibeto-Burman, but LaPolla overlooks this point), we have three distinct pronouns only, s1 *an, s2 *n[??]n, P1 *[??][??]n. P2 is derived from s2, but P1 is distinct. One reasonable view is that P1 was an earlier INC that (as in Austronesian) became the normal P1. Moreover, other TB languages in Nepal have a homologous form and this could in some measure be related to the Kuki *i form that LaPolla seems to dismiss. So, Elena Filimonova is right in observing that INC is special, but she does not follow through: we can propose that, indeed, INC is a different person (and not Cysouw's 1 + 2), and we now have a more educated look at these cases, such as Tupi-Guarani, where EXC in transitive situations gives 'I verb you', transposing in an active pattern (I acting on you) what EXC is in a stative one (I distinct from you).

Elena Filimonova and her colleagues admittedly started from a bookshelf--the Universals Archives in Konstanz. The aim was certainly risky, because clusivity is a difficult topic--so close to argumentation, rhetoric and pragmatics. The best aspects of the book are the wide range of languages and its several chapters containing well-described local situations. The weaknesses lie in the almost complete disregard for historical linguistics and (notwithstanding the emphatic claims) the addiction to the 1, 2, 3 categories for person. It seems that nobody has ever heard of Emile Benveniste (1966a [1946], 1966b [1956]).


Benveniste, Emile (1966a [1946]). Structure des relations de personne dans le verbe. In Problemes de Linguistique generale, vol. 1,225-236. Paris: Gallimard.

--(1966b [1956]). La nature des pronoms. In Problemes de Linguistique generale, vol. 1, 251 257. Paris: Gallimard.

Charpentier, Jean-Michel (1979). La langue de Port-Sandwich (Nouvelles-Hebrides): Introduction phonologique et grammaire. Langues et Civilisations a Tradition Orale 34. Paris: SELAF.

Gronbech, K. (1936). Die turkische Sprachbau. Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard.

Hagege, Claude (2001). La Structure des Langues, 6th ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Haspelmath, Martin; Dryer, Matthew; Gil, David; and Comrie, Bernard (eds.) (2005). Worm Atlas of Language Structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haudricourt, Andre (1959). La premiere personne inclusive du singulier en Polynesie, BSLP 54(1), 130-135.

Leroi-Gourhan, Andre (1946). Archeologie du Pacifique-Nord. Materiaux pour l'etude des relations entre les peuples riverains d'Asie et d'Amerique. Paris: Institut d'Ethnologie.

Malchukov, A. L. (2001). Imperative constructions in Even. In Typology of Imperative Constructions, V. S. Xrakovski (ed.), 159-180. Munich: Lincom.

Matisoff, James (2003). Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Michailovsky, Boyd (2001a). Limbu nous autres and 1st person morphology. LTBA 24(1), 145-156.

--(2001b). Notes on Brian Hodgson's Limbu paradigms (1857). LTBA 24(1), 157 161.

Santo Tom,is, Domingo de (1994 [1560]). Grammatica o Arte de la lengua general de los indios del reyno del Peru. R. de Cerron-Palomino (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid: Ediciones de cultura hispanica, Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional.

Schmidt, Wilhelm (1926). Die Sprachfamilien und Sprachenkreise der Erde. 2 vols. Heidelberg: Winter.

Silverstein, Michael (1976). Hierarchy of features and ergativity. In Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, R. M. W. Dixon (ed.), 112-171. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.


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Author:Jacquesson, Francois
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Date:Jan 1, 2008
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