A corpus-based study of the human impersonal pronoun ('n) mens in Afrikaans
Compared to men and een mens in Dutch
This article compares the grammaticalizing human impersonal pronoun ('n) mens in Afrikaans to fully grammaticalized men and non-grammaticalized een mens in Dutch. It is shown that 'n mens and een mens can still be used lexically, unlike mens and men, and that ('n) mens and een mens are restricted to non-referential indefinite, universal-internal uses while men exhibits the whole range of (non-) referential indefinite ones. Despite the latter’s presence in the earliest Afrikaans data, it is argued not to have influenced the development of ('n) mens. This pronoun and Dutch een mens are also found to have syntactic functions other than subjecthood, unlike men. The contrast is attributed to their different degrees of grammaticalization. Lastly, the Afrikaans ‘man’-pronoun is shown to differ from its Dutch counterparts in relying on the second person singular for suppletion, though forms of ('n) mens are found to occasionally occur instead.
Keywords: grammaticalization, impersonal, pronoun, Afrikaans/Dutch
Published online: 05 June 2018
Cabredo Hofherr, P.
2010 Binding Properties of Impersonal Human Pronouns in Generic and Episodic Contexts. Available at http://archive.sfl.cnrs.fr/sites/sfl/IMG/pdf/impersMay2010CabredoHofherrManOnLa.pdf [last accessed on 6 April 2017].
Conradie, C. J.
2017 Root Semantics. Taalportaal. Available at http://taalportaal.org/taalportaal/topic/pid/topic-14857881438688606 [last accessed on 4 October 2017].
Coussé, E. and van der Auwera, J.
De Smet, H.
n.d. Die Burger Corpus. Leuven: Leuven University.
2016 How Impersonal does One Get? A Study of Man-Pronouns in Germanic. Available at https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002802 [last accessed on 6 April 2017].
Gast, V. and van der Auwera, J.
Giacalone Ramat, A. and Sansò, A.
Grondelaers, S., Deygers, K., Van Aken, H., Van Den Heede, V. and Speelman, D.
Rayson, P. E. and Garside, R.
Siewierska, A. and Papastathi, M.
Cited by other publications
Van Olmen, Daniël & Adri Breed
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 02 november 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.