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Encyclopedia > Reflexive pronoun

A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that is preceded by the noun or pronoun to which it refers (its antecedent) within the same clause. In generative grammar, a reflexive pronoun is an anaphor that must be bound by its antecedent (see binding). In some languages, there is a difference between reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns; but the exact conditions that determine whether something is bound are not yet well defined and depend on the language in question. Oneself is an American hip hop artist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Generative linguistics. ... In linguistics, anaphora is an instance of an expression referring to another. ... In grammar, an antecedent is the noun or noun phrase to which a pronoun refers. ... Binding theory is a term within linguistics which refers to a broad class of theories dealing with the distribution of pronominal elements. ... In grammar, a reflexive verb is a verb whose semantic agent and patient (typically represented syntactically by the subject and the direct object) are the same. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ...


In English, the reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. In the statements "I see him" and "She sees you", the objects are not the same persons as the subjects, and regular pronouns are used. However, when the person being seen is the same as the person who is seeing, the reflexive pronoun is used: "I see myself" or "She sees herself". The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Contents

Non-standard usage

It is increasingly common to use reflexive pronouns without local linguistic antecedents to refer to discourse participants or people already referenced in a discourse: for example, "Please, forward the information to myself". Such formulations are usually considered non-standard. Within the linguistics literature, reflexives with discourse antecedents are often referred to as "logophors". Standard English does allow the use of logophors in some contexts: for example, "John was angry. Embarrassing pictures of himself were on display". However, within Standard English, this logophoric use of reflexives is generally limited to positions where the reflexive does not have a coargument.[1] The newer non-standard usage does not respect this limitation. In some cases, reflexives without local antecedents may be better analyzed as emphatic pronouns without any true reflexive sense.


It is common in some subsets of the English-speaking population to use standard objective pronouns to express reflexive relations, especially in the first and sometimes second persons, and especially for the indirect object: for example, "I want to get me some supper." This usage is non-standard. An objective pronoun in grammar functions as the target of a verb, as distinguished from a subjective pronoun, which is the initiator of a verb. ...


Origins and usage

Sometimes, the reflexive pronoun is added to highlight its antecedent. A reflexive pronoun used in this appositive way is called an intensive pronoun and, in English, is accepted as standard: for example, "I, myself, wrote this" and "We gave the card to our parents, themselves". It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Apposition. ...


In Indo-European languages, the reflexive pronoun has its origins in Proto-Indo-European. In some languages, the distinction between the normal objective and the reflexive pronouns exists mainly in the third person: whether one says "I like me" or "I like myself", there is no question that the object is the same person as the subject; but, in "They like them(selves)", there can be uncertainty about the identity of the object unless a distinction exists between the reflexive and the nonreflexive. In some languages, this distinction includes genitive forms: see, for instance, the Swedish examples below. The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and Central Asia. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ...


In languages with a distinct reflexive pronoun form, it is often gender-neutral. Gender-neutral, gender-inclusive or epicene pronouns are pronouns that neither reveal nor imply the gender or the sex of a person. ...


Russian examples

  • Он любит свою жену. On ljubit svoju zhenu. (He loves his wife (his own).)
  • Он любит его жену. On ljubit ego zhenu (He loves his wife (someone else's).)

Swedish examples

  • Jag ser honom. (I see him.)
  • Han ser honom. (He sees him. Him designates a person other than the one designated by He.)
  • Han ser sig. (He sees himself.)

In Swedish, there is also a difference between normal and reflexive genitives:

  • Anna gav Maria hennes bok. (Anna gave her [Maria's] book to Maria.)
  • Anna gav Maria sin bok. (Anna gave her [Anna's] book to Maria.)

Serbian examples

  • Ana je dala Mariji njenu knjigu. (Ana gave her [Maria's] book to Maria.)
  • Ana je dala Mariji svoju knjigu. (Ana gave her [Ana's] book to Maria.)

Spanish examples

  • Él lo ve. (He sees him.)
  • Él se ve. (He sees himself.)

Esperanto examples

The Esperanto reflexive pronoun is si, or sia for the possessive (to which can be added -j for plural agreement and -n for direct object).   is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. ...

  • Li legas liajn librojn. (He reads his (someone else's) books.)
  • Li legas siajn librojn. (He reads his (own) books.)
  • Ŝi legas siajn librojn. (She reads her (own) books.)
  • Ili legas siajn librojn. (They read their (own) books.)
  • Li amas lin. (He loves him (someone else).)
  • Li amas sin. (He loves himself.)
  • Li rimarkis ŝian amon al si. (He noticed her love for herself (reflexive).)
  • Li rimarkis ŝian amon al li. (He noticed her love for him (using a normal pronoun).)
  • Li rimarkis sian amon al si. (He noticed his (own, reflexive) love for himself (reflexive).)
  • Li rimarkis sian amon al li. (He noticed his (own, reflexive) love for him (someone else, not reflexive).)
  • Li diras, ke la hundo lavas sian vizaĝon. (He says that the dog is washing its (the dog's) face.)
  • Li diras, ke la hundo lavas lian vizaĝon. (He says that the dog is washing his (the speaker's or someone else's, but not the dog's) face.)

Novial examples

(Novial is a constructed language, mostly based on Romance languages.) Novial [nov- (new) + IAL, International Auxiliary Language] is a constructed international auxiliary language (IAL) intended to facilitate international communication and friendship, without displacing anyones native language. ... A constructed or artificial language — known colloquially as a conlang — is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary have been devised by an individual or group, instead of having naturally evolved as part of a culture. ... The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family, comprising all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. ...

  • Lo vida lo. (He sees him.)
  • Lo vida se. (He sees himself.)
  • Anna donad lan libre a Maria. (Anna gave her [Maria's] book to Maria.)
  • Anna donad sen libre a Maria. (Anna gave her [Anna's] book to Maria.)

Reference

  1. ^ Pollard, Carl & Ivan Sag (1992). "Anaphors in English and the Scope of the Binding Theory". Linguistic Inquiry (23): 261-303. 

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Reflexive pronoun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (268 words)
A reflexive pronoun is an anaphor which must be bound by its antecedent (according to Government and Binding Theory in linguistics); note, however, that the exact conditions that determine whether something is bound are not yet well defined and are contingent on the language in question.
In plain terms, a reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that is preceded by what it refers to (its antecedent) within the same clause.
A common mistake is to use the reflexive pronoun in a non-reflexive fashion, a case of hypercorrection similar to misuse of whom: for example, "Please forward the information to myself."
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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