delocutives [was Graha epithets (tArA,tArakA and tAraka)]

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Fri Dec 12 01:43:05 UTC 1997

Dominique wrote:
>        Je le crois. Tu ecris bien 'to refer to a discourse CONVENTION'.
>Pour reprendre la terminologie de Saussure (d'ou mon usage occasionnel du
>francais), il s'agit du domaine de la 'langue', alors que les delocutifs
>referent a la 'parole'.

Yes, Dominique, I accept Saussure's distinction and find it useful. It is
the same distinction made by Benveniste, when he asserts that the
delocutive verb is to be derived from discourse, rather than from grammar.

>  Mais, si la distinction me semble ici facile (grace au redoublement
>tu-toi-er), il est vrai que ahaMkAra et asmitA sont plus difficiles. Je
>pencherais pour des destylistiques (!?!) sur la seule raison que ni ahaM,
>ni asmi ne forment phrase isolee (j'exclus ici la reponse a une question) a
>eux tout seuls et que c'est leur frequence sur l'axe paradigmatique qui est
>signalee (comme pour tutoyer).

The distinction is 'facile' when we have direct citation of a delocutive,
as in Allen Thrasher's nice example "to sonny-boy." It is more complicated
when one encounters a secondary formation like my example "yes-man", which
is built on a presupposed verb "to yes." I think that forms like the Skt,
*ahaMkAra* and *asmitA* are secondary formations built upon direct

In fact, both *aham* and *asmi* appear to me to be primary forms of the
delocutive in Vedic, that is, they both appear in Vedic discourse as
ritualized, or as you suggest, 'stylized', discourse. I find direct
examples of these discourse phenomena in the Vedic brahmodya, as well as in
the RV Atmastutis. In these contexts both *aham* and *asmi* function in "la
reponse a une question" and in precise ritual contexts. It is in the
context of such ritualized utterances that forms like *ahaMkAra* and
*asmitA* can be generated.

>        En revanche, je crois bien que le bhovAdin que j'avais suggere est
>un authentique delocutif, dans la mesure ou bhoH est un vocatif.

>        Un peu enculage de mouches, peut-etre ;^)
>PS: Does someone have a good idea to name verbs (or nouns) who are derived
>from a grammatical feature (here, French and English are the same language)

I'm not sure what you are asking for here. Deverbatives? Denominatives?
>Best wishes,and thanks again for your insightful comments.

George Thompson

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