Praseo pronouns

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The most prototypical pronouns in Praseo are the object pronoun clitics, which are used to express pronouns in the accusative and genitive cases. All of the other cases of the pronouns, including the nominative, are derived from these clitics.

Object pronoun clitics

The accusative, genitive, and the objects of some pronouns are expressed by a similar set of enclitics.

Person Singular Plural
1st oa (o)i
2nd masc śa śi
2nd fem śe śa
3rd masc la li
3rd fem le la
3rd inan tsu tsi

These enclitics always attach to the end of the word preceding them, as the following sections will show.


For accusative pronouns, the enclitic is attached to the verb, as the following form illustrates:

urya to hit, to strike

Meaning Form
(He) hit me uryaoa
(He) hit you (msg) uryaśa
(He) hit you (fsg) uryaśe
(He) hit him uryala
(He) hit her uryale
(He) hit it uryatsu
(He) hit us uryei
(He) hit you (mpl) uryaśi
(He) hit you (fpl) uryaśa
(He) hit them (m) uryali
(He) hit them (f) uryala
(He) hit them (inan) uryatsi

One irregularity in this paradigm is to be noted for the 1pl ending -i. When this enclitic is attached to a word ending in -a, the resulting diphthong is -ei rather than -ai. Thus, the form for "He hit us" is uryei rather than uryai.


For genitive pronouns, the enclitics are attached to the possessum, which must be in the construct case:

razu "head", construct razí

Meaning Form
My head razioa
Your (msg) head raziśa
Your (fsg) head raziśe
His head razila
Her head razile
Its head razitsu

Note that the acute accent from the construct form razí is not preserved when the pronominal enclitic is added, because when the enclitic is added the stress falls on the regular penultimate syllable. (This is purely an orthographic alternation.)

The plural of nouns which have a pronominal enclitic on them is formed by the enclitic -ra, which follows the pronominal enclitic:

Meaning Form
Our heads razioira
Your (mpl) heads raziśira
Your (fpl) heads raziśara
Their (m) heads razilira
Their (f) heads razilara
Their (inan) heads razitsira

Here we not a second irregularity regarding the 1pl clitic: when attached to a word which ends in a vowel other than -a, the ending is -oi rather than simply -i.

The preceding table presents the plural pronominal clitics together with the plural pronominal -ra, but of course these do not have to occur together. It's possible to say "his brothers" endeilara (singular pronominal clitic -la with plural clitic -ra), and "their mother" mameili (plural pronominal clitic -li without plural).

Object of preposition

Prepositions in Praseo tend to govern either the dative or accusative case when their objects are nouns. However, pronouns which are objects of prepositions are expressed by the clitic attaching directly to the preposition, regardless of which case the preposition would normally govern.

Meaning Preposition Proposition with pronoun
in da dali "with them"
under ji jitsu "under it"
with ela elei "with us" (from ela + i)

Nominative pronouns

Strictly speaking, there are no third-person subject pronouns as such in Praseo. Instead, there are two sets of demonstratives, distinguished by nearness, broadly equivalent to English "this" and "that". The pronouns are formed from the prefixes ni- for "this" and na- for "that", combined with common pronominal suffixes.

Proximal demonstratives

The proximal demonstratives are equivalent to "this one," referring to an object which is near in time, space, or discourse. They distinguish masculine animates, feminine animates, and inanimates in singular and plural. All of the proximal demonstratives begin with the prefix ni-, which means "this."

Gender Singular Plural
masc nila nili
fem nile nila
inan nitsu nitsi

Distal demonstratives

The distal demonstratives are equivalent to "that one", referring to an object which is distant in time, space, or discourse. The distal demonstratives have the same numbers and genders as the proximal demonstratives.

Gender Singular Plural
masc nala nali
fem nale nala
inan natsu natsi

There are also variants of these forms which lack the initial n-, eg. ala "that one (". The forms with and without the initial n- are used in free variation in the dialect of Prasa, but the forms without n- are strongly preferred in the upriver dialects.

First and second person nominative pronouns

The first and second person subject pronouns are formed of compounds between the demonstrative prefixes and pronominal suffixes, similar to the third person demonstratives. However, there is no distinction between proximal and distal in the first and second persons, and there are additional considerations of rank and politeness which affect the choice of pronouns. Second person pronouns are distinguished by gender, but first person pronouns are not.

Speech between equals

When social equals address each other, they used the following pronouns:

Person Singular Plural
1 nioa ai
2masc niśa aśi
2fem niśe aśa

These forms are considered the unmarked forms, and are used in all social situations where differences of rank do not need to be observed. This includes speech between people of similar ages, and interactions between the leaders of enna regardless of their age.

Speech between unequals

When there is a distinction of rank that must be observed, then the first and second person pronouns are reversed in the singular---that is, the first person singular pronoun from the chart above is used as the second person pronoun, and vice versa. In this scenario the gender of the first person pronoun is qualified by the gender of the interlocutor. The plural pronouns are unchanged. The following chart illustrates this (perhaps redundantly):

Person Singular Plural
1 (masc. interlocutor) niśa ai
1 (fem. interlocutor) niśe ai
1 (mpl. interlocutor) niśi ai
1 (fpl. interlocutor) niśa ai
2masc nioa aśi
2fem nioa aśa

The rationale for this has to do with the cultural use of honorifics and "social ownership". The word nioa literally means "this one of mine," but the significance of this possession varies according to the social situation. In a conversation between equals, a speaker presents himself as self-owned and self-referential, without any relationship of ownership or deference to the other speakers. Thus the word nioa, "this one of mine," can be used to refer to the self, and niśa, literally "this one of yours," refers to the interlocutor.

However, in a conversation between unequals, both parties will refer to the other with an honorific which indicates their relationship. These honorifics typically are suffixed with a possessive pronoun. The following short dialog will illustrate:

Ezeioa         pazetsyaśoa  ka?
Grandmother-my call-PERF-me QUESTION?

Child: My grandmother, did you call for me?

Bandeioa      kuyaśu?
Grandchild-my where-is-PERF?

Elder: My grandchild, where were you?

Niśe       satsú     yaśu.
This-yours beach-LOC is-PERF.

Child: I was at the beach.

Niśa       mantsya ma   nioa    patsu     zitsyatsu.
This-yours needs   that this-my something carry-it.

Elder: I need you to carry something for me.

Note, first off, that the child begins by addressing the elder with the honorific ezeioa, "my grandmother," and that the elder in turn begins by addressing the child as bandeioa, "my grandchild." The use of these ranked terms establishes the relative position of the speakers. In the second round of the dialogue, the child refers to himself with the pronoun niśe, "this yours", which is contextually understood to be an abbreviation of nibandeiśe, "this grandchild of yours". (Note, too, that though the child is male he uses the form niśe, with the feminine possessive ending -śe because he is addressing a female elder and allowing himself to be "socially owned" by the elder.) The grandmother, in like fashion, refers to herself as niśa, literally "this yours (", understood as an abbreviation of "this grandmother of yours"; and she addresses her grandson with nioa "this mine."

This reversal of first and second person pronouns only occurs in the singular. The first-person plural pronoun ai is used in conversations between unequals without change, except for one wrinkle: the plural ai cannot be used with the clusive meaning "me and you" or "we and you" when the speaker and the person addressed are of unequal rank. In cases of unequal rank, the meaning "me and you" must be conveyed by niśa ta nioa, with an explicit conjunction, and "we and you" must be ai ta nioa or similar.

Instrumental pronouns

The instrumental pronouns are formed by the prefix či- combined with the pronominal clitics, with some minor irregularities. (The element či- ultimately derives from the word čiha "hand").

Person Singular Plural
1 čioa čei
2masc tiśa tiśi
2fem tiśe tiśa
3masc čila čili
3fem čile čila
3inan titsu titsi

In the second person, the element či- becomes ti-. This is not a morphological irregularity per se, but rather an example of coronal place assimilation which is reflected in the orthography because the second-person forms themselves are invariant. Also note that the first person plural has a quasi-irregular change of vowel.

It would be very rare to use an animate object as an instrument in the strict sense, but the passive construction requires the instrumental case, which is the major circumstance in which instrumental pronouns occur.

Dative pronouns

The dative pronouns are formed by the prefix ta- combined with the pronominal clitics, with some minor irregularities. (The element ta- ultimately derives from the word talya "give").

Person Singular Plural
1 taoa tei
2masc taśa taśi
2fem taśe taśa
3masc tala tali
3fem tale tala
3inan tatsu tatsi