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GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Vol. 2004 (2004) No. 125 P 145-171



Chinese and Manchu have been said to have a distinction between the ‘inclusive we’ including the hearer(s) and the ‘exclusive we’ excluding the hearer(s). However, in both Chinese and Manchu, sometimes the inclusive we is used for a group which does not include the hearer(s) and sometimes the exclusive we is used for a group which does include the hearer(s). An attempt is made here to account for all the exceptions and show, based on the uses of the first person plural pronouns in fin Ping Mei, and its Manchu translation prefaced in 1708, that for both Chinese and Manchu the inclusion of the hearer(s) is irrelevant in the distiction between the so-called inclusive and exclusive, and that the distinction between the two is between the absence and the presence of the feature [part]. An inclusive pronoun, thus, is simply a first person plural pronoun unspecified for [part], whereas an exclusive one, which is specified as [part], denotes the part of a whole including the speaker and other(s), and presupposes the remaining part of the whole. The proposed system is shown as follows:
exclusively singular- exclusively
singular plural plural
INCLUSIVE zan za(n)men, za(n)mei
'unmarked (Manchu: muse)
(Manchu: bi, min-)
EXCLUSIVE an, anmen women
‘marked(part)’ (Manchu: be, men-)
Manchu does not employ the singular-plural pronouns. The present-day Chinese of Peking follows only the exclusively singular and exclusively plural Manchu-type system. Although an and anmen occur far more than women in Jing Ping Mei, in present-day Peking an and anmen have fallen out of use and women prevails. It is not unreasonable to think that the extinction of an and anmen originated from the Manchu-type system used by Manchus in Peking who had ceased to use Manchu and begun to speak Chinese.

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