Are “resumptive pronouns” an Active- (non-Stative) verb marker? No.

It occurred to me to wonder this.

resumptive pronouns

For the love of Pete, don’t read the above book, it’s just an illustration 😀 (image credit:

We so often see an unnecessary-seeming “resumptive” / “pleonastic” yaka/ya ‘(s)he’ or ɬaska/ɬas ‘they’ added in to a CW sentence when the subject is a 3rd-person animate noun.

I got pondering whether it means anything that we usually see these extra pronouns with Active predicates — verbs that connote intentional action.

Are these “unnecessary bits” ever used with Stative verbs? — predicates that just represent a state of being? 

As a way of checking on this idea, I read through the first 3 stories by Victoria Howard in the 1936 “Texts in Chinook Jargon” published by Melville Jacobs. (It’s available online for free, so you can check too.) 

Note that the “unnecessary” “extra” pronoun can come either before or after the stated noun subject…

Also note that the “emphatic” 3rd-person singular yax̣ka really behaves more like a noun than a pronoun; it often takes the “resumptive” pronoun!  

Anyway, in the following tally, I’m sorry but I’m not going to add English translations — they’re just not that relevant to the overall point of today’s post. 😛 


Story 1. “Just One His Leg, Just One His Arm”

RESUMPTIVE (yaka ~ ya or ɬaska ~ ɬas) with Active verbs: 

1.1.2: uk mán-tílixam kwánisəm ɬas ɬátwa nánich-máwich.

1.2.3: cháku tumála, álta uk tənəs-ɬúchmən ya hay-atá ɬaska.

3.2.1: álta wík-sayá ya q́’úʔ uk íkta…

4.1.1: tənəs-líli álta ya cháku-háws uk íkta.

4.1.3: álta tənəs-ɬúchmən ya ískam kítɬən…

4.2.1: álta yax̣ka uk lamiyáy ya ískam uk ya skín-lúp…

5.1.1: yax̣ka ya híhi uk lamiyáy…

7.1.1: ɬas q’úʔ uk tílixam…

7.1.2: álta íxt uk mán ya wáwa

8.3.1: ya wáwa uk íkta, “wík…”

11.1.4: álta uk ya pápá wík-qʰə́nchi qʰá ya ɬátwa

11.1.5: kəpít uk lákit ɬas ɬátwa kʰapa lamotáy…

RESUMPTIVE (yaka ~ ya or ɬaska ~ ɬas) with Stative verb:

1.1.3: uk lamiyáy pi ya kʰwiʔím, kəpít mákwst, pús ɬas míɬayt kʰapa háws.

Otherwise, the 3rd-person Stative verbs in Story 1 occur without Resumptive pronouns, because their subjects are already pronouns, not nouns.  


Story 2. “A Dangerous Being Kills Two Women”

RESUMPTIVE (yaka ~ ya or ɬaska ~ ɬas) with Active verb:

1.1.1: qʰá pus yax̣ka ya ɬátwa….

1.1.1: álta nayka mámá ya wáwa

2.1.2: kwánisəm qwínəm yaka tʰát ɬaska ɬátwa nánich-máwich.

2.1.3: álta pús uk tənəs-ɬúchmən ya ɬátwa kúli ɬáx̣ani…

2.1.3: ya ɬátwa nánich pus álta ɬas cháku ya tʰát…

2.1.3: álta ya wáwa uk ya chích

3.1.3: álta ya chích ya wáwa

3.2.1: álta ɬaska chákwa nayka tʰát.

4.1.1: álta wə́x̣t ya kúri ɬáx̣ni uk tənəs-ɬúchmən…

4.2.1: ya límá yax̣ka ya munk-lalám

4.2.2: álta uk ya chích ya wáwa

5.1.4: álta uk lamiyáy ya ɬátwa nánich.

5.2.2: álta yaka cháku-háws uk tənəs-ɬúchmən…

6.1.1: tənəs-líli álta ya q’úʔ uk skukúm.

7.1.1: álta ɬaska uk hayu-nánich-máwich ɬas cháku

RESUMPTIVE (yaka ~ ya or ɬaska ~ ɬas) with Stative verb:

2.1.1: ɬas míɬayt(,) íxt lamiyáy pi ya kʰwiʔím

A case w/EXTRA PRONOUN, NECESSARY, because it’s not RESUMPTIVE but instead the “emphatic” yáx̣ka:

7.3.3: t’ɬúnas yax̣ka(,) uk íkta(,) qʰá sáyá míɬayt.

As in Story 1, Story 2’s Stative verbs aside from the 2.1.1 example occur without any Resumptive pronoun, because their subjects are already pronouns.

But now get a load of this: 

Story 3. “A Stingy Girl is Taken Away by Mountain People”

RESUMPTIVE (yaka ~ ya or ɬaska ~ ɬas) with Active verbs:

1.1.2: uk tənəs-ɬúchmən kwánisəm ya ɬátwa munk-lakámas…

2.1.1: álta íxt sán uk lamiyáy yaka hay-mank-ɬúsh-ɬush

2.1.3: álta ya tə́mtəm uk lamiyáy…

2.2.1: …álta yax̣ka uk háyash-hayash ya hayu-mə́kʰmək.

2.2.2: …ya q́úʔ uk tənəs-ɬúchmən.

2.5.2: …álta wə́x̣t ya ɬátwa uk tənəs-ɬúchmən.

3.1.1: álta uk lamiyáy ya ɬátwa kʰapa stík…

3.2.1: na kʰwiʔím ya úmaʔ nayka uk tunús-tunus lakámas…

3.2.1: …álta yax̣ka ya mə́kʰmək uk hayásh-hayash.

4.1.1: …álta ya q’úʔ uk tənəs-ɬúchmən.

4.1.6: aláxti kəpít-íxt yax̣ka ya mə́kʰmək.

6.1.4: álta ya hayash-kʰiláy uk tənəs-ɬúchmən…

6.1.4: uk ya chích ya púsh-sayá yax̣ka…

7.1.1: álta uk tənəs-ɬúchmən ya kə́mtəks

7.1.1: …íkta ya hay-wáwa uk skukúm

7.1.2: líli álta ya wáwa uk ya chích…

7.2.3: álta uk lamiyáy ya gitə́p

8.1.1: álta uk tənəs-ɬúchmən ya x̣úqən uk hayásh-hayash lakámas…

8.1.3: álta wə́x̣t ya ɬátwa munk-lakámas uk tənəs-ɬúchmən.

9.1.2: álta ya wáwa yax̣ka uk ya chích…

9.1.5: álta uk tənəs-ɬúchmən líli wík ya ɬátwa.

9.2.1: pus-íkta na chích ya wáwa nayka…?

10.1.2: …álta ya nánich lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən ɬas cháku

12.1.3: wík-sayá púlakʰli, álta ya q’úʔ uk mán.

12.2.1: álta ɬas wáwa yax̣ka uk lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən…

12.3.2: kəpít-íxt yax̣ka ya múnk kánawi-íkta…

12.3.2: …ɬaska uk lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən, t’ɬúnas-qʰá pús ɬas ɬátwa

14.2.1: …álta ya q’úʔ uk ya mán…

14.2.3: álta ɬas q’úʔ uk lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən…

15.2.1: …álta yax̣ka wə́x̣t(,) uk ɬúchmən(,) kákwa wə́x̣t yax̣ka ya súp’na.

15.3.3: álta ɬas k’ílapay uk lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən.

16.1.1: álta yax̣ka ya ɬátwa.

16.1.2: …álta uk tənəs-tílixam ya kʰiláy-kʰilay

16.2.2: …ya nánich ɬas cháku uk lákit tənəs-ɬúchmən.

17.1.1: álta yax̣ka kʰapa íliʔi kíkwəli ya kʰrí

17.1.1: …álta uk ya chích ya kə́mtəks

This story has loads of RESUMPTIVE (yaka or ɬaska) with Stative verbs:

1.1.1: ɬas míɬayt íxt lamiyáy pi ya kʰwiʔím.

2.4.1: uk ya chích ya músum

2.4.2: t’ɬúnas ya sík na chích.

2.5.1: uk lamiyáy ya sáliks

5.3.1: álta ya chaku-k’wás uk tənəs-ɬúchmən.

5.3.3: uk lamiyáy ya sáliks.

8.2.2: …álta ya ɬúsh-tə́mtəm uk ya chích.

To suddenly throw in a nerdy interpretation of what we’ve seen —

It’s no surprise for us to find resumptive pronouns mostly occurring with Active verbs, as I’ve previously shown that resumptive yaka / ɬaska are virtually limited to human, animate (living) subjects, which are always strongly associated with Active subjects (including Agents of transitive verbs) across all human languages.

But that’s not the same as saying that resumptive pronouns need to occur ONLY with Active subjects. It should be obvious, on reflection, that humans can be the subjects of Stative verbs. (Such as ‘be a human’, ‘be pregnant’, ‘be proud’!)

Along with whatever discourse factors come into play, such as the shifting of topicality and perspectives in a story among its various characters, such considerations are bound to bring resumptive yaka / ɬaska into CW speech very frequently. 

I personally think one factor that increases the incidence of the resumptive pronouns is when the stative verb comes before its subject noun — as in 2.4.2: “t’ɬúnas ya sík na chích” (“maybe she’s sick my grandma”) — which is the usual word order for statives, in fact! 

One rather weak point: without the yaka / ya / ɬaska / ɬas in that position, it would be a little harder to tell if the verb were intead a 2nd-person command, etc. etc.

And in the case of the be-verb míɬayt, a major point: the absence of the 3rd-person resumptive pronouns would lead to a different interpretation, ‘there was/there were/there existed’! 

As far back as my dissertation, I’ve observed that resumptive yaka / ɬaska bring 3rd-person CW verbs into line with all others, giving them explicit person & number subject marking.

What these “resumptive” forms also do is to mark animacy — a category that many underinformed linguists have supposed to be lacking in pidgin-creole languages.

But no, yaka / ɬaska don’t indicate Active-verb status; that’s taken care of by word order and such in Chinuk Wawa.

What do you think?