Academic journal article Romance Notes

A New Look at an Old Problem: On the Origin of the Pronominal Augment -Ne

Academic journal article Romance Notes

A New Look at an Old Problem: On the Origin of the Pronominal Augment -Ne

Article excerpt

IT is well known that in Romanian and some forms of Sardinian, Dalmatian and Italo-Romance, the stressed oblique forms of the first and second person singular of the personal pronoun, and of the third person singular of the reflexive pronoun, have an augment syllable -ne. (2) The forms in question include the Romanian accusatives mine, tine and sine, the stressed counterparts to the clitic m(a), te and s(e); LogudoreseNuorese Sardinian mene and tene, which in some variants of the dialect coexist with the shorter me and te; Veglia Dalmatian main and the predictable but unattested *tain and *sain, the stressed counterparts, respectively, of me, te and se; and central and southern Italian mene, tene and sene, in their local garb, used alongside the unstressed me, te and se in Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, the Marche, Abruzzo, Naples, Calabria, Sicily and Salento (Bartoli, Das Dalmatische, vol. 2, 408; Rohlfs, Grammatica, 468-469; Grandgent, 157; Wagner, 113-114; Lausberg, vol. 2, 161; Blasco Ferrer, 108; Jones, 378; Brancus. et al., 343-344; Allieres, 63-64). In many areas, the augment has been extended to subject pronouns, cf. Salentine juni or Castro dei Volsci ine and tune, the emphatic variants, respectively, of i and tu; to personal pronouns of the third person, cf. ene and lene in Arezzo; and/or other pronominal categories, including Italian cio ne and Romanian cine (Vignoli, 165; Pieri, 340; Rohrsheim, 59).

At the beginning of the last century, the origin of the extension -ne was discussed in several brief notes, mainly in connection with the Italo-Romance forms, on the pages of the Zeitschrift fur Romanische Philologie, and echoes of that discussion have found their way into the major historical grammars of individual Romance languages and Romance as a whole. In general, those who discussed these pronominal forms in the individual languages, especially Romanian and Italo-Romance, tended to favor their polygenesis, while those with a broader Romance perspective tended to view them as related. But even while agreeing on the overall status of these forms, each category of experts had independent views about the etymological source of the augment, which, in the words of Allieres, remains "un probleme ardu" (64). (3) This note offers a new perspective on the origin of this particle, which does not seem to be found in the earlier literature on the problem. Before proceeding, I briefly survey the ideas on the origin of -ne which were put into circulation at the time when this augment formed the topic of a lively scholarly exchange.

The discussion of the forms with -ne was primarily concerned with the Italo-Romance data and took different directions depending on whether the pronominal augment was considered separately from or together with the paragogic -ne ~ -ni of other lexical classes. The former approach was adopted by Subak and Bourciez who, however, proposed different sources for the particle itself. Subak derived mene, tene and sene from stressed forms ultimately going back to the emphatic conglomeration mem[et ipsum] (cf. also Bartoli, Italienische, 112). Bourciez saw the origin of the pronominal -ne in the Latin interrogative particle -ne, deriving the relevant pronouns from their use in questions and exclamations. His examples, cited in support of this view, are Virgil's mene incepto desistere victam and Cicero's tene haec posse ferre (238).

Those who connected mene, tene and sene with the verbs and other lexical classes containing the augment syllable -ne, saw the connection in the fact that all the relevant forms were vowel-final oxytones. The specific forms discussed in this context included verbs like fane 'fa', vane 'va', puone 'puo' and saline 'sali', found already in Dante (Parodi, 116); and central and southern Italo-Romance verbs, adverbs, nouns, numerals and non-personal pronouns like piune 'piu', dine 'di', none 'non', quine 'qui', purcene 'perche', piene 'pie', trene 'tre', cosine 'cosi' and pensone 'penso' (more examples are cited in Rohlfs, Grammatica, 468-469). …

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