Duojjin doesn’t really have a whole lot of pronouns. The pronouns it does have are treated almost like regular nouns, and they change form in predictable ways like nouns. Although they do so a little bit differently than other nouns.

Duojjin has first and second person pronouns, and it has third person animate and inanimate pronouns. No Duojjin pronouns decline for gender, including the third person.

Duojjin also has an indefinite pronoun which is classified as the fourth person. It refers to an indefinite, unknown, or irrelevant referent. It would be used in situations where one would use the word you in English when the speaker is not actually talking about the listener, or when one would use the word one as I just did in this sentence, or to mean someone/anyone/a person. It would also be used in situations where an English speaker might use the word they when not talking about any specific entity (ie; that’s what they say). 

PRONOUNS Proximate Gloss: Obviate Gloss: Proximate Pronouns: Obviate Pronouns:
1st Person 1 OBV–1.OBV sei dosau
2nd Person 2 OBV–2.OBV tei dotau
3rd Person Animate 3 OBV–3.OBV hei dohau
3rd Person Inanimate 3.IN OBV–3.IN.OBV dei dodau
4th Person 4 OBV–4.OBV jei dojau
Demonstrative this OBV–this jata dojata
Subject PROSUB ii

There are no special forms for plurals, and there are no distinctions between things like vs me or he vs him. Likewise, there are no special possessive forms like my or your. The only form distinction that pronouns have is between proximate and obviate, as illustrated in the chart above.

Note that the demonstrative pronoun jata cannot be used in an adjectival sense. That is to say, it cannot be used in a fashion akin to this lamp, this house, this cat, etc. It can only be used in a nominal sense. You could not use it to say [this cat] is fat, but rather to say [this] is a fat cat. The demonstrative adjective takes the form of a prefix in Duojjin. See Adjectives for more information.

[This] is a big cat.
(Lit: Thisbigcatis.)

Proximate vs. Obviate

All of the personal pronouns have a proximate form and an obviate form. These are used to distinguish different referents within a discourse. Consider the following English sentence: “He told Susan that he is leaving for the weekend.” In this sentence, there are two third person pronouns (highlighted in italics). Do they both refer to the same person? Was the person who told Susan this information the same person who is leaving for the weekend?

If they are both the same person, then both of them would be in the proximate form in Duojjin. However, if the person who told Susan about this sabbatical meant that someone else was leaving (thereby rendering each of the two instances of the word he in the above sentence as referring to two different entities), then whichever of them was more immediately relevant to the discourse would be in the proximate, while the other would be in the obviate form.

This is very important in third person pronouns because of the lack of gender distinction. So if there is both a male third person referent and a female third person referent in the same discourse, one of them will be in the proximate and the other will be in the obviate.

When a personal pronoun appears in the obviate, it changes from an -ei form to an -au form. However, in addition to this morphological change, the pronoun itself is also preceded by an obviate prefix do-, so obviate pronouns are effectively double marked. The demonstrative pronoun jata also receives this obviate prefix, but it does not change form. The prosubject ii cannot appear in the obviate.

Dohaugõl heipurujen.
dohauõgõl heipuruijen
[He] [[told]] [her]. / [She] [[told]] [him]. / [He1] [[told]] [him2]. / [She1] [[told]] [her2].
[He] worded for [her]. / [She] worded for [him]. / [He1] worded for [him2]. / [She1] worded for [her2].
(Lit: [S/he2for] s/he1worded.)
Dohaugõl hei’purujen.

Similarly, the fourth person proximate might be translated as someone, while the fourth person obviate might be translated as someone else.

Dojaun jeišinåanen!
dojaun jeišinåainen
[Someone1] killed [[someone2]]!
(Lit: [[elsesomeoneelse]] someonedeathed!)
Dojaun jei’šinåanen!

Jeitälälõtneŋ seigatsåen, niin jatašal dojauniinnen.
jeitäläõlõtinenn seigatsaijen, niin jataašal dojauniininen
[I] [saw] [[someone] [[enter]]], and after that [[someone else]] did likewise.
(Lit: [Someonehereintoed] Ieyed, and thisabove elsesomeoneelseanded.)
Jei’tälälõtneŋ sei’gatsåen, niin jatašal dojau’niinnen.

In the first and second person, however, the obviative distinction functions a little bit differently. After all, there cannot be more than one first or second person, strictly speaking. In the proximate, the first and second person pronouns sei and tei refer to the first and second person proper. However, in the obviate, the first person pronoun dosau can refer to either the first person’s spouse, the first person’s twin sibling, or some other member of the first person’s group. The second person obviate pronoun tau can refer to either the second person’s spouse, the second person’s twin sibling, or some other member of the second person’s group. Which meaning is intended is determined by the context of the situation.

[[My spouse/twin/friend here*]] [is ill].
(Lit: Otherothermeillnessly.)
(Imp: Otherotherme[exists] illnessly.)
*: Contextual

[[Your spouse/twin/friend there*]] is a shelf**.
(Lit: Otherotheryoushelfis.)
*: Contextual
**: “A shelf” is an idiomatic expression for a person with no
backbone who gets regularly taken advantage of.

The second person obviative can also be used as a third person pronoun when talking about someone who is in the room and involved in the conversation.

Dotaun teipuruhinde!
Dotaun teipurůhid!
Dotaun teipurůnd!
dotaun teipuruihinde
(I am telling you to) [Talk] to [him/her*]!
(Lit: [OtherYou2] You1worddo(command/query**)!)
Dotaun tei’puruhinde!
Dotaun tei’purůhid!
Dotaun teipurůnd!
*: Contextual
**: In this case, the imperative is unambiguously a
command because of the exclamation.

The demonstrative pronoun is also capable of taking an obviate prefix, but its base form does not change in the process.

[This] should be on top of [this].
(Lit: This1otherthisonisshould)

Regular nouns are also capable of taking an obviate prefix. Their base forms do not change in the process either.

Mirin domiripäjänen.
mirin domiripäjainen
catACC OBVcatNOMaggressiondo.PAST.PLN
[The other cat] attacked [the cat].
(Lit: [Cat] othercataggressioned.)
Mirin domiri’päjänen.

Assimilation with Noun Case Morphemes

Aside from declining for obviation, the one other thing that really sets personal pronouns apart from regular nouns is that whenever a noun case is applied to a proximate personal pronoun, the pronoun loses its nucleus, rendering it a single consonant, and the noun case’s sandhi vowel is included. Obviate pronouns are not affected by this, nor are the non-personal pronouns.

It should also be noted that, having no sandhi vowel, the accusative case does not trigger this nucleus reduction in pronouns.

with me
(Lit: Iwith)

for you
(Lit: youfor)

under/below/before him/her
(Lit: him/herunder)

about/of it / its
(Lit: itof)

touching/adjacent to someone
(Lit: someonetouching)

touching/adjacent to [someone else]
(Lit: othersomeoneelsetouching)

The Prosubject ‘ii’

The pronoun ii is a special pronoun which can only ever be used in the nominative as the subject of a verb. It is a variable pronoun which represents the most recently uttered nominative subject. In other words, whichever word was the subject of the last clause, that word is intended by ii. This is especially common in the main clause of a sentence that also contains a dependent clause when the subject of both clauses are the same. It is also common in strings of non-dependent clauses which share a common subject as well. This pronoun can also be used to avoid repetition of the subject in a discourse. The pronoun ii is itself encoded with the same number as the word defining it, so number need not be repeated. However, any case endings which may be applied to the word defining it are not encoded into the pronoun and must be repeated when necessary.

Heitäläjen, niin iipurujen, niin iitäläpälnen.
heitäläijen, niin iipuruijen, niin iitäläapalinen
[S/he] arrived, and [[s/he]] [spoke], and [[s/he]] [[left]].
(Lit: S/hehered, and [she]worded, and [she]hereawayed.)
Hei’täläjen, niin ii’purujen, niin ii’täläpälnen.

Seirakåahilŋ iisarahin.
seirakåaihinrn iisaraihin
[[[I]]] enjoy [being loved].
(Lit: [I(am)[loved]] [I]joying.)
Sei’rakåahilŋ ii’sarahin.

Heissampakiistihiŋ iikiråahin.
heiessaempakiistiihinn iikiråaihin
[[[[They]]]] [hate] [fighting] with each other.
(Lit: [[They]witheachotherconflicting] [[they]]hateing.)
Heissampa’kiistihiŋ ii’kiråahin.
Note: The pronoun ii is encoded with the plural suffix -essa from the original subject
providing its referent, but it is not encoded with the middle case ending -empa.

Page Published January 29, 2018
Page Last Updated August 1, 2018