Pronouns in Egeldish

For a short introduction to the Egeldish language, see this page.

Let’s just start off by saying that Egeldish has a lot of pronouns, but then, Egeldish generally has a lot of everything. First of all, there is a set of inanimate pronouns, which is comparatively small, and a set of animate pronouns, which is rather large. The inanimate pronouns include a second-person set, oddly enough – many Sheesanian linguists have tried to explain those by saying that Egeldish often personify inanimate objects and speak to them (which is, I admit, true). Then there are the animate pronouns. There are three sets of animate pronouns: normal, polite and extra-polite (though the extra-polite ones are falling out of use), with male/female gender in the third person.

All the Egeldish third-person pronouns also have separate proximite and distal forms. The proximite forms are used for objects/people/&c close to the speaker, while the distal forms are used for objects/people/&c far away from the speaker. This distinction is also used sometimes to show discourse relevance and help distinguish between multiple 3rd-person referents. Why do the 3rd-person pronouns have this distinction? They developed from Egeldish’s demonstratives, which have similar distinctions.

With plural 3rd-person forms, a group of mixed gender is referred to with the male pronoun, and with 3rd-person animate things that don’t have gender, or don’t have obvious gender (say, a bug?), the male form is used. Sexist, I know, but typical of natural languages.

Inanimate Pronouns

Originally, there was a distinct inanimate pronominal plural affix, -ho, and an inanimate pronominal associative plural affix, -ots. These have gotten melted onto the pronouns with time, however.

 

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

2nd person

dirīc

dirāho

diricōts

3rd person prox.

āho

hōts

3rd person dist.

isā

shō

syōs

Animate Pronouns

As with the inanimate pronouns, there was originally a pronominal plural affix, -he, and a pronominal associative plural affix, -nu, which have again gotten fused on with time.

Normal

The normal pronouns are generally only used with peers and subordinates – even if a speaker of Egeldish is very close with a superior like a parent or a teacher, s/he would still use polite pronouns. However, these normal pronouns are also used for people who haven’t really gotten fitted into the social hierarchy yet – for instance, if you see a random guy on the street and need to refer to him, you’d use a normal pronoun. Unless he’s significantly older than you, or he’s dressed much more nicely than you, or it’s clear some other way that he would probably be above you in the social hierarchy.

 

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

inc: dwēt

nnu

excl: dih

2nd person

te

tēh

ēn

3p prox. f.

nān

gāha

nūnu

3p dist. f.

rīn

rēhe

īnu

3p prox. m.

nēs

nise

ēsu

3p dist. m.

riz

rīze

rinū

Polite

The 1st-person forms are derived from “this child,” čorznye, and the 2nd-person forms are derived from “lord,” hāč. The 3rd-person female forms are derived from the female form of “lord,” hāčne, and the 3rd-person male forms are derived from the male form of “lord,” hāčis.

Note that the 3rd-person polite forms show deference to the person you’re talking about, not necessarily deference to the person you’re talking to. So if you’re talking to your friend Hāntis and you use a polite pronoun to refer to your friend Golene, you’re showing respect for Golene, not for Hāntis. On the other hand, when you use a 1st-person polite form, you show respect to the person you’re talking to, not respect for yourself.

These polite pronouns are used with superiors, usually even with quite high superiors, and also sometimes with peers or even with subordinates if you’re asking a favor or otherwise humbling yourself in some way. Books, radio stations, movies, etc. address their readers, listeners, watchers, etc. with these polite pronouns, but occasionally you might come across a book or something with a very colloquial tone that might use the normal pronouns to address the reader/watcher/whatever, however.

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

čōl

čōne

cyent

2nd person

hāj

hāje

hājn

3p prox. f.

hāje

hānyhi

hent

3p dist. f.

hāsi

hāsye

hāsent

3p prox. m.

ātse

hāce

ātsent

3p dist. m.

hāse

hsīke

hsīnt

Extra Polite

The 1st-person forms are derived from dūr, a word with an unknown original meaning; the 2nd-person forms are derived from elār, another word with an unknown meaning; and the 3rd-person forms come from elār plus the masculine/feminine -is/-ne endings.

The only time these extra-polite pronouns are used seriously is when you’re talking about or talking to somebody very important, like a king or prime minister, who you really respect. They used to be far more common, but over time they’ve acquired a certain sarcastic tone. So you more often see them in the mouth of an Egeldish speaker mocking somebody in authority or somebody acting high-and-mighty. They are most often used to refer to unpopular politicians or leaders of unfriendly countries. However, they are slowly falling more and more out of use, and they’ll probably be more or less gone from Egeldish in another few generations.

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

dūr

dūre

dūrin

2nd person

elār

elāre

erōn

3p prox. f.

elāhn

elāhne

elyōn

3p dist. f.

elāsa

elāhyis

elōsi

3p prox. m.

elāz

elāhse

elāhsō

3p dist. m.

elāsa

elāsis

elāsose

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