Saturday, June 14, 2008

Personal pronouns in Tanii

Pronouns are words which can be used in the place of nouns, and personal pronouns refer more specifically to persons : I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, us, them, mine, yours, theirs, etc.
However, personal pronouns do not replace only personal nouns. In English for example, the pronoun 'it' is commonly used to denote non humans, or inanimate beings. In this language, personal pronouns occur widely and are mostly used to prevent repetition of the nouns in a sentence.


How is it in Tanii ? Below are 5 basic features of Tanii personal pronouns :

1.
Three forms exist for each person : singular, dual and plural

Person
Singular
Engl.
Dual
Engl.
Plural
Engl.
1
ngo
I
ngiinyi
we two, both of us
ngunu
we
2
no
you (sg.)
niinyi
you two, both of you
nunu
you (pl.)
3
mo
he/she/it
mo anyi
they two, both of them
molu
they








2. As in English, personal pronouns change their form depending on their function in the sentence structure. In English, the 1st person pronoun is "I" when appearing as subject of the verb, but "me" when appearing as object of the verb. Similarly "he" changes for "him", "we" for "us" and "they" for "them. Thus, except for "you", each personal pronoun in the subject form has a corresponding distinct object form.
In Tanii similar changes exist, but they are limited to the 1st and 2nd person singular pronouns : ngo => ngii (1st), and no => nii (2nd). The use of one or the other will also depend on its grammatical role, or "case", in a sentence.
  • Ngo and no are used :
    • in the nominative (or subjective) case, i.e. when they are subjects of the verb :
No biilyo chatii koda ayatiido, ngo silo Itanagar tochi
You should have come yesterday, today I am going to Itanagar.
    • in the instrumental case
Kago no lo school ingiikochi ludo.
Kago insisted on being taken to school by you.
  • Ngii and nii are used for all other cases
    • accusative
Ngiimi helo pe !
Please pardon me !

Ngo nii mi kapalala ano hempyodo
I am very glad to see you
    • genitive/possessive
Ngii ka ane (Ngiika ane).
my mother (literally 'mother of me').

Siika kheta atan si nii kii (niikii).
These books are yours (literally 'these books are of you').
    • dative
Molu ngiiyi mi tiiko bihii.
They gave money to both of us.
    • purposive
Mo ka ate ngii pa siti tahe khebiitii.
His elder brother wrote a letter for me.

3. Tanii pronouns primarily refer to human beings. However, mo or molu may sometimes be used to refer to animals, if the animal(s) is/are known to the speaker or writer. But there is no equivalent to English 'it'. In most cases, the name of the animal or object is simply repeated over several sentences.

4. Possessive pronouns are formed by adding kii to the personal pronoun :

Si ngii ka ude = siika ude si ngii kii (ngiikii)
This is my house = this house is mine

Siika kheta atan si nii kii (niikii)
These books are yours


Singular
English
Plural
English
1
ngiikii
mine
ngunukii
ours
2
niikii
yours
nunukii
yours
3
mokii
his/hers
molukii
theirs

*Note that for 1st and 2nd singular persons, -kii is added to the object form (ngii, nii), not to the subject form.

5. Reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, etc.) are formed by adjunction of another pronoun, ato (self), usually placed after the personal pronoun or before the verb.

Mo ato purisiido
He studies himself

For the sake of emphasize, a verbal suffix, -su, can be added.

Mo inkii so ato chasukendo.
He will climb there himself

Ato miisuto !
Do yourself !

This verbal suffix -su sometimes occurs alone, with the same meaning.

Mo ka miigo mi ato miisukiineto !
Let him do his work by himself

Speaker A : Miitope !
Please help me !
Speaker B : Miisuto !
Do [it] yourself !

Miisuyato !
Keep doing by yourself !

PB & GT


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