Re: [tied] The English 1ps pronoun "Nerzmee"

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 17138
Date: 2002-12-12

I don't recall if this has been emphasised so far in this thread so I apologise if I'm unnecessarily repeating a point already made, but the use of "I" in PIE, a language with unambiguous 1st person verb endings, was certainly different from what anyone's English-based hunches might suggest. *eg^(om) (or whatever) was not used automatically as the subject of a first-person statement unless there was a reason to highlight the first person (as when changing the topic). It was a "moi, je..." or "(as for) me..." kind of thing, almost like a sentence adverbial, and this is certainly the reason why the was suppletive with regard to the rest of the paradigm. So at least the pragmatic aspect of your analysis makes sense.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Glen Gordon" <glengordon01@...>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 8:41 AM
Subject: [tied] The English 1ps pronoun "Nerzmee"

> I just realized something that is relevant to the discussion of
> whether *eg or *ego: is more original and how one splices the
> word semantically and morphologically.
> It dawned on me that I grew up listening to my mother use both "I"
> and another pronoun in certain situations which I cheekily write as
> "Nerzmee" which is just her dialectal way of saying "(And) then
> there's me...". When I think about it, this is precisely what *ego:
> meant! The verb *e-ge- then would be better translated as the
> general statement "there is" (or French "il y a"). Thus we have
> *e "here/there" + *ge "then" + *-o: "I" meaning "Then there (is) me."
> This explains why it exists in the indicative, rather than in another
> mood. Using *ego: in a sentence would be like literally saying "Then
> there's me going crazy again" or "Then there's me, I'm moving to
> Montreal," etc. We do this in English, for god's sakes.
> Now *ego: can certainly be seen as a less abrupt manner in which to
> change the focus of the topic to oneself. Culturally, it is often the
> case that drawing attention to oneself is seen as a form of arrogance.
> So, naturally, "then there's me" is sort of a more subtle and more
> round-about way of self-referral without offending your compatriots
> or superiors.
> So, when I think about *ego: I wonder if maybe the expected and more
> ancient **mu was temporarily used alongside it, the former being more
> indirect (and thus more respectful) and the latter much more direct
> (and thus familial, but going out of style for being too crude).
> Let's see -- An Inukitut /uvanga/ AND English /then there's me/ for
> Indo-European *ego: and still no examples showing what *eg is supposed
> to signify. Frankly, I think this *eg thing is cracked. Hahahahahahaha
> hahahahahahahahahaha! Nevermind. I need sleep.
> - gLeN
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