The pronouns were so named by the Roman schoolmasters because they were in a way nouns, and yet they were not nouns, but stood "for nouns", hence were called in Latin: pro nomine "for a noun" . But the real difference is not really conceptual, it is totally practical. The pronouns have a bewildering array of odd forms, blind ends and complete non sequiturs. They are indeed another class of declension, a class unto themselves, and the best way I can introduce you to them is to ask you to read carefully the descriptions below and the examples. Look over the forms, try to see some order in their array, and then re-study my comments in this section. You can learn them by rote or by heart, but in fact you will see them so frequently as soon as you get to reading a real text, that you will find they are less of a problem than you might think at first sight.
1) The pronouns as a class cover a variety of concepts:
a) The personal words, "I, you, he, she, they." These are very ancient forms and clearly go back to the Indo European stage of linguistic development. I could explain them to you in terms of Historical Linguistics, but the explanation would be more complicated than the phenomenon, which is complicated enough already. If you wonder why the word ego "me" switches root in the plural to nos "us", compare the English, and note that "we" can be either Inclusive or Exclusive, which really are very different ideas.
In form we find unexpected and irregular Nominative Singulars, the Genitive Sing. in -ius, the Dative Singular in -i-, which formsoccur only here. The rest is pretty reasonable and follows the standard noun formations. (If interested in the historical background of the pronouns, consult C D Buck's Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin for a full treatment in terms of Historical Linguistics.)
CLASS: Personal Pronoun ego SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative ego nos Genitive mei nostrum Dative mihi nobis Accusative me nos Ablative me nobisOf course "we" is not really the "plural" of "me", despite Menander's "What is a friend? Another ME."! The concepts are really different and quite naturally the word-stems are also different.
CLASS: Personal Pronouns tu SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative tu vos Genitive tui vestrum Dative tibi vobis Accusative te vos Ablative te vobisThere is also a Reflexive Pronouns , se "...self" which is in common use:
CLASS: Noun Declension, SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative (ipse ipsa ipsum) Same as sg. for plur. Genitive sui Dative sibi Accusative se Ablative seb) The "who" words follow a different pattern. First you must note that qui "who...." is somewhat different from quis "who....?", since the second word is used in questions and the first is not. (If you want terms, qui is Relative Pronoun, while quis is InterrogativePronoun, but be sure you get the meanings differentiated before you resort to these terms.)
Here the differences of form are in the subject singular with an unexpected -i-(Relative) beside -is (Interrogative) , the possessive singular in -ius, the neuter singular in -d (*quod/quid), and from there on it's clear sailing in the singular. In the plural only the form quae "which things" as a neuter plural is new as compared with the straight -a of all other neuter plurals in all noun and adjective classes.
The "Relative" pronoun is like English "who..." without implying a question (your voice does not raise). There are three "genders", Masc. Fem. and Neut., which are given in that order in the tables below. A single entry indicates that all forms are the same:
CLASS: Relative Pronoun qui "who..." SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative qui quae quod qui quae quae Genitive cuius quorum Dative cui quibus Accusative quem quam quod quos quas quae Ablative quo qua quo quibus(One can almost hear the faint echoes of generations of schoolchildren reciting in unison their quaint ditty:
But in the Interrogative Pronoun ("who...?"), the Masc. and Fem. are the same, as in this table:
CLASS: Interrogative Pronouns quis "Who...?" SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative quid quid (as above forms) Genitive cuius Dative cui Accusative quem quid Ablative quoc) The numbers are not too odd , and perhaps all I should note is that there is no plural to unus, nor singular to duo, thereby depriving the teacher of one of the oldest jokes in the trade. (The parallel in the factory is telling the neophyte to go fetch a left-handed monkey wrench...) After the numeral tres = 3 they don't inflect except when turned into regular adjectives Class I.
CLASS: Numeral unus "one" SINGULAR Nominative unus Genitive unius Dative uni Accusative unum Ablative unod) There is a special set of words used for persons, usually called The Demonstrative Pronouns, since they point at (demonstrare) a person actively. They are:
is hic ille isteIs (fem. ea, and the neuter id), "he/she/it" is rather colorless much like English "he, she, it". It merely refers and has no special emphasis.
(Where only two forms are given below, they are Masc/Fem. respectively, and the Neuter is the same as the Masculine.)
CLASS: Demonstrative Pronouns (non-emphatic) SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative is ea id ei eae ea Genitive eius eorum earum Dative ei eis Accusative eum eam id eos eas ea Ablative eo ea eo eisHic ( fem. haec, neuter hoc) however does have a special meaning, something like the sub-standard English usage of "this-here". It refers to a nearer object, the one nearer the speaker or viewer, and is regularly paired with ille (below) which refers to someone further away.
CLASS: Demonstrative Pronouns (nearer....) SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative hic haec hoc hi hae haec Genitive huius horum harum Dative huic his Accusative hunc hanc hoc. hos has haec Ablative hoc hac hisAnd in turn ille (fem. illa, neut. illud), is approximately like English sub-standard: "that-there". These two words , hic and ille, are often used in matched pairs, when they refer to the near and then the farther person or thing. This is a useful distinction, and Latin makes full employment of it.
CLASS: Demonstrative Pronoun (farther...) SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative ille illa illud illi illae illa Genitive illius illorum illarum Dative illi illis Accusative illum illam illud illos illas illa Ablative illo illa illis(It should be noted that the forms of hic, which look unique as pronouns,are merely a contraction of an obsolete hi-ce, with a pointing-out (deictic) particle -ce fused on. So *hi-ce is "this here"in fact! The -c persists in the singular but is lost in the plural forms, except for the neuter plural haec . Older Latin can still have horunc for horum-ce (Gen. Pl.), and hosce (Acc. Plur.)
e) A dozen additional words are made up from the qui, quis, quid base, and you you will find these in a standard grammar all listed together. They are quite specific in meaning ("anyone, whosoever, is there any?, any.. .you please, who in the world, anybody at all, whoever you wish, each one." Best learn these as you come across them in a text, rather than try to memorize them first.
The problem is that these words all look pretty much alike, and it is difficult for the beginner to remember which is which. Only practice and extensive reading helps this quandary, although I would urge you to single out quisque "each one" as essentially different from the others in meaning, and absolutely unguessable unless you know it for sure. Quisque hoc sciat bene "let each person know this point well"....maybe memorize that. But the forms are merely quis + que, Gen Sg. cuius + que, etc. The forms are no trouble, it is the meaning that is so different from the rest of thse "who" words.
The "reflexive" pronoun, ipse "himself, herself, itself...." follows the patterns of ille fairly closely, as does the common pronoun idem "the same.." which is shortened from an original *is-dem, so it follows that idem will have the forms of is ea id, with a final -dem tacked on.
CLASS: Pronoun ipse "..self" SINGULAR PLURAL Nominative ipse ipsa ipsum ipsi ipsae ipsa Genitive ipsius ipsorum ipsarum Dative ipsi ipsis Accusative ipsum ipsam ipsum ipsos ipsas ipsa Ablative ipso ipsa ipsisf) The pronoun root qu- is found in many other Latin words, e.g. quo (where / how), ubi, from *quo-bhi (where, when), qua (in what direction) .
But with a different sense we have quam "than", which is used in comparisons much like the English "than". (This is an alternate to the regular way of making a comparison, using the "comparative" form of the adjective with the Ablative for the compared item.) Look these over carefully.
Make special note of quam "than" as used with adjectival comparative forms, continuing the case of the compared pair:
Hic est altior quam ille "he is taller than the other one", a
very different use from the comparative joined with an "ablative of comparison"
ille est altior Marco "he is taller than Marcus".
But the meanings of these two entirely different constructions are the same.
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© Zdravko Batzarov