The Essentials on Philippine Existentials: The Presentative Function

By Abigail A. Laviña 
Department of Linguistics University of the Philippines, Diliman

Paper presented at the 2nd Philippine Conference Workshop on
Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE 2)
held February 16-18, 2012, at the Punta Villa Resort
Sto. Niño Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City, Philippines


Discussions, if ever, on existential constructions in Philippine-type languages (e.g., may ada in Waray (War), adda in Ilocano (Ilk), aduna in Cebuano-Binisaya (Seb), may and mayroon in Tagalog (Tag), igwa/may in Bikol (Bikol) etc.) have usually been restricted to more peripheral considerations such as indicating existence/location (e.g., Seb May/Adunay bola sa mesa), possession(e.g., War May ada kami hin bola) and locative approximation (e.g. Bikol Sa may tulay sinda naka-istar). Earlier treatment also tended to divide these similar forms into separate words because of the diverse meanings that existentials evoke This paper expounds on the more important discourse pragmatic function of Philippine ?existentials? of presenting new information in a particular text or discourse. The many meanings attributed to ?existentials? result from the different syntactic environments in which they can be found. This study however maintains that existentials should be treated as one lexeme. The ability of existentials to take on complements ranging from nouns, verbs, ?prepositions? and other ?parts? of speech is explained by its obligatory behavior of taking a determiner.

To read the complete article, click on Laviña – The Essentials on Existentials.

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