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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In linguistics, a pro-form is a type of function word or expression that stands in for (expresses the same content as) another word, phrase, clause or sentence where the meaning is recoverable from the context.[1] They are used either to avoid repetitive expressions or in quantification (limiting the variables of a proposition).

Pro-forms are divided into several categories, according to which part of speech they substitute:

  • A pronoun substitutes a noun or a noun phrase, with or without a determiner: it, this.
  • A pro-adjective substitutes an adjective or a phrase that functions as an adjective: so as in "It is less so than we had expected."
  • A pro-adverb substitutes an adverb or a phrase that functions as an adverb: how or this way.
  • A pro-verb substitutes a verb or a verb phrase: do, as in: "I will go to the party if you do".
  • a prop-word: one, as in "the blue one"
  • A pro-sentence substitutes an entire sentence or subsentence: Yes, or that as in "That is true".[2]

An interrogative pro-form is a pro-form that denotes the (unknown) item in question and may itself fall into any of the above categories.

The rules governing allowable syntactic relations between certain pro-forms (notably personal and reflexive/reciprocal pronouns) and their antecedents have been studied in what is called binding theory.

Table of correlatives

L. L. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, called a table of systematic interrogative, demonstrative, and quantifier pro-forms and determiners in a language a table of correlatives, after the relative and demonstrative proforms, which function together as correlatives. The table of correlatives for English follows.

Table of correlatives
interrogative demonstrative quantifier
proximal medial distal† assertive existential elective/dubitative
existential
universal negatory positive alternative
determiner which
what
this (sg.)
these (pl.)
that (sg.)
those (pl.)
yon
yonder
some any
whichever
whichsoever
every
each
all
no another
pronoun human who
whom (obj.)
this (one) (sg.)
these (ones) (pl.)
that (one) (sg.)
those (ones) (pl.)
yon
yonder
someone
somebody
anyone
anybody
whoever
whomever (obj.)
whosoever
whomsoever (obj.)
everyone
everybody
all
no one
nobody
another
someone else
somebody else
nonhuman what this (one) (sg.)
these (ones) (pl.)
that (one) (sg.)
those (ones) (pl.)
yon
yonder
something anything
whatever
whatsoever
everything
all
nothing something else
else
other
out of two (dual) which this one (sg.)
these (ones) (pl.)
that one (sg.)
those (ones) (pl.)
yon
yonder
one either
whichever
whichsoever
both neither other
out of many (plural) some (pl.)
one (sg.)
any
whichever
whichsoever
each
all
none another
pro-adverb location where here there yonder somewhere anywhere
wherever
wheresoever
everywhere nowhere elsewhere
source whence hence thence somewhence anywhence
whencever
whencesoever
everywhence nowhence elsewhence
goal whither hither thither somewhither anywhither
whitherever
whithersoever
everywhither nowhither elsewhither
time when now then sometime
somewhen
anytime
anywhen
whenever
whensoever
ever
always
everywhen
never
nowhen
elsewhen
another time
manner how
whereby
thus
hereby
thereby somehow anyhow
however
howsoever
everyway no way otherwise
reason why
wherefore
herefore therefore somewhy

for some reason

whyever
whysoever
everywise nowise elsewise

Some languages may have more categories. See demonstrative.

Note that some categories are regular and some are not. They may be regular or irregular also depending on languages. The following chart shows comparison between English, French (irregular) and Japanese (regular):

  interrogative quantifier
existential negative
human who
qui
dare
someone
quelqu'un
dareka
no one
(neg. +) personne
daremo + neg.
nonhuman what
que
nani
something
quelque chose
nanika
nothing
rien
nanimo + neg.
location where

doko
somewhere
quelque part
dokoka
nowhere
nulle part
dokomo + neg.

(Note that "daremo", "nanimo" and "dokomo" are universal quantifiers with positive verbs.)

Some languages do not distinguish interrogative and indefinite pro-forms. In Mandarin, "Shéi yǒu wèntí?" means either "Who has a question?" or "Does anyone have a question?", depending on context.

See also

  • Anaphora (linguistics) – Use of an expression whose interpretation depends on context
  • Deixis – Words requiring context to understand their meaning
  • Pro-drop language – Language in which certain pronouns may sometimes be omitted
  • Referent – Person or thing to which a linguistic expression or other symbol refers

References

  1. ^ Crystal, David (1985). A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics (2nd ed.). Basil Blackwell.
  2. ^ Rödl, Sebastian (2012). Categories of the Temporal. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 22–25. ISBN 978-0-674-04775-4.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 February 2021, at 15:36
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