4 An Implicational Map for Indefinite Pronoun Functions

4.1. Multifunctionality

In the preceding chapter we considered various syntactic and semantic conditions under which languages may use different series of indefinite pronouns. These are the distinctions that were found relevant for languages in general, but this does not of course mean that all languages reflect all these functional distinctions in the phonological form of the indefinite pronouns. On the contrary, there is probably no language that makes all the possible distinctions, and many languages make only very few distinctions (two series of indefinite pronouns seems to be the minimum for languages that do not make extensive use of alternative strategies as discussed in § 3.3). What we have, therefore, is MASSIVE MULTIFUNCTIONALITY. The majority of the series of indefinite pronouns are used to express more than one of the functions distinguished in § 3.2, as illustrated by the examples in (131-3).

(131) English any-series
a. negative polarity: conditional If anybody left us, we are lost.
b. free choice Anybody could have left us.
(132) Hebrew šehu-series
specific (ongoing state) Balšan ze eħad še-mesabex ma- šehu kal. linguist that one that-complicates what-INDEF easy 'A linguist is someone who complicates something easy.'
negative polarity: question Haˁim tafs-u ma-šehu? Q catch:PERF-3PL what-INDEF 'Did they catch anything?'
(133) Yakut da-series
(a) negative polarity: standard of comparison (Ubrjatova 1982: 209) Küntuox-tan da min bu taptyy-byn. this world what-ABL INDEF I this life love- ISG 'In this world I love life more than anything.'

-58-

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