Grammatical person

Grammatical person

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Grammatical person, in linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, is deictic
Deixis
In linguistics, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place...

 reference to a participant in an event; such as the speaker, the addressee
Addressee
In linguistics, an addressee is an intended direct recipient of the speaker's communication. A listener is either an addressee or a bystander.Second-person pronouns refer to an addressee or a group including an addressee...

, or others. Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronoun
Pronoun
In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

s. It also frequently affects verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s, sometimes noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

s, and possessive
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

 relationships.

Grammatical person in nominative case English pronouns

Pronoun Person/plurality Gender
Standard
I
I (pronoun)
I is the first-person singular subjective case personal pronoun in Modern English. It is used to refer to one's self and is capitalised, although other pronouns, such as he or she, are not capitalised.-Etymology:...

First person singular -
We
We
We is the first-person, plural personal pronoun in Modern English.- Atypical uses of we : A nosism is the use of 'we' to refer to oneself....

First person plural -
You
You
You is the second-personpersonal pronoun, both singular and plural, and both nominative and objective case, in Modern English. The oblique/objective form you functioned originally as both accusative and dative)...

Second person singular or plural -
He
He
He is a third-person, singular personal pronoun in Modern English, as well as being a personal pronoun in Middle English.-Animals:...

Third person masculine
Gender-specific pronoun
A language has 'gender-specific pronouns' when personal pronouns have different forms according to the gender of their referents.The English language has three gender-specific pronouns in the 3rd. person singular, whose declined forms are also gender-specific: he , she , and it...

 singular
She
She
She is the third person singular, feminine, nominative case pronoun in modern English.She can also may refer to:-Literature and film:* She: A History of Adventure, a novel by H...

feminine
It
It (pronoun)
"It" is a third-person, singular neuter pronoun in Modern English.-Usage:In English, words such as it and its genitive form its have been used to refer to human babies and pets, although with the passage of time this usage has come to be considered too impersonal in the case of babies, with many...

Third person neutral
Gender-specific pronoun
A language has 'gender-specific pronouns' when personal pronouns have different forms according to the gender of their referents.The English language has three gender-specific pronouns in the 3rd. person singular, whose declined forms are also gender-specific: he , she , and it...

 singular
-
They
They
They is thethird-person pluralpersonal pronoun in Modern English.-Usage:The "singular" they is the use of this pronoun as a gender-neutral singular rather than as a plural pronoun. The correctness of this usage is disputed....

Third person plural / third person gender-neutral singular -
Colloquial
Youse
You
You is the second-personpersonal pronoun, both singular and plural, and both nominative and objective case, in Modern English. The oblique/objective form you functioned originally as both accusative and dative)...

Second person plural, dialect Scouse
Scouse
Scouse is an accent and dialect of English found primarily in the Metropolitan county of Merseyside, and closely associated with the city of Liverpool and the adjoining urban areas such as the boroughs of south Sefton, Knowsley and the Wirral...

, Australian English
Australian English
Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

, Scottish English
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

-
Yinz
Yinz
Yinz is a second-person plural pronoun used mainly in southwest Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, but it is also found throughout the Appalachians....

Second person plural, dialect Pittsburgh English
Pittsburgh English
Pittsburgh English, popularly known by outsiders as Pittsburghese, is the dialect of American English spoken by many especially older residents of Pittsburgh and parts of surrounding Western Pennsylvania in the United States, a group referred to by locals and others as Yinzers.-Overview:Many of the...

-
Ye
Ye (pronoun)
Ye was the second-person, plural, personal pronoun , spelled in Old English as "ge". In Middle English and Early Modern English, it was used to direct an equal or superior person...

Second person plural, dialectal Hiberno-English -
You guys Second person plural, dialectal American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

-
Y'all
Y'all
Y'all is a contraction of the words "you" and "all". It is used as a plural second-person pronoun. Commonly believed to have originated in the Southern United States, it is primarily associated with Southern American English, African-American Vernacular English, and some dialects of the Western...

Second person plural, dialectal Southern American
Southern American English
Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from Southern and Eastern Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the Atlantic coast to most of Texas and Oklahoma.The Southern dialects make...

 and African American English
African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English —also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular , or Black Vernacular English —is an African American variety of American English...

-
Archaic
Thou
Thou
The word thou is a second person singular pronoun in English. It is now largely archaic, having been replaced in almost all contexts by you. It is used in parts of Northern England and by Scots. Thou is the nominative form; the oblique/objective form is thee , and the possessive is thy or thine...

Second person singular, archaic -
Ye
Ye (pronoun)
Ye was the second-person, plural, personal pronoun , spelled in Old English as "ge". In Middle English and Early Modern English, it was used to direct an equal or superior person...

Second person plural, archaic -

Additional persons



In Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, first-, second-, and third-person pronouns are typically marked for singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 and plural
Plural
In linguistics, plurality or [a] plural is a concept of quantity representing a value of more-than-one. Typically applied to nouns, a plural word or marker is used to distinguish a value other than the default quantity of a noun, which is typically one...

 form, and sometimes dual form as well (see grammatical number
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

). Some languages, especially European, distinguish degrees of formality and informality. See T-V distinction
T-V distinction
In sociolinguistics, a T–V distinction is a contrast, within one language, between second-person pronouns that are specialized for varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult toward the addressee....

.

Other languages use different classifying systems, especially in the plural pronouns. One frequently found difference not present in most Indo-European languages is a contrast between inclusive and exclusive "we", a distinction of first-person pronouns of including or excluding the addressee.

Other languages have much more elaborate systems of formality that go well beyond the T-V distinction, and use many different pronouns and verb forms that express the speaker's relationship with the people they are addressing. Many Malayo-Polynesian languages
Malayo-Polynesian languages
The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages, with approximately 385.5 million speakers. These are widely dispersed throughout the island nations of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, with a smaller number in continental Asia...

, such as Javanese
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

 and Balinese
Balinese language
Balinese or simply Bali is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by 3.3 million people on the Indonesian island of Bali, as well as northern Nusa Penida, western Lombok and eastern Java...

, are well known for their complex systems of honorific
Honorific
An honorific is a word or expression with connotations conveying esteem or respect when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term is used not quite correctly to refer to an honorary title...

s; Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 and Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

 also have similar systems to a lesser extent.

In many languages, the verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 takes a form dependent on this person and whether it is singular or plural. In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, this happens with the verb to be as follows:
  • I am (first-person singular)
  • you are/thou art (second-person singular)
  • he, she, one or it is (third-person singular)
  • we are (first-person plural)
  • you are/ye are (second-person plural)
  • they are (third-person plural)


The grammars of some languages divide the semantic space into more than three persons. The extra categories may be termed fourth person, fifth person, etc. Such terms are not absolute but can refer depending on context to any of several phenomena.

Some languages, including among Algonquian languages
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

 and Salishan languages
Salishan languages
The Salishan languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest...

, divide the category of third person into two parts: proximate for a more topical third person, and obviative
Obviative
Obviate third person person is a grammatical person marking that distinguishes a non-salient third person referent from a more salient third person referent in a given discourse context...

for a less topical third person. The obviative is sometimes called the fourth person.

The term fourth person is also sometimes used for the category of indefinite or generic referents, that works like one in English phrases such as "one should be prepared" or people in people say that..., when the grammar treats them differently from ordinary third-person forms. The so-called "zero person" (Laitinen 2006, Leinonen 1983) in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 and related languages, in addition to passive voice
Voice (grammar)
In grammar, the voice of a verb describes the relationship between the action that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments . When the subject is the agent or doer of the action, the verb is in the active voice...

 may serve to leave the subject-referent open. Zero person subjects are sometimes translated as "one," but the problem with that is that English language constructions involving one, e.g. "One hopes that will not happen," are rare and could be considered to be expressing an overly academic tone, while Finnish sentences like "Ei saa koskettaa" ("0 cannot touch") are recognizable to, and even used by, young children.

See also


  • English personal pronouns
    English personal pronouns
    The personal pronouns in the English language can have various forms according to gender, number, person, and case. Modern English is a language with very little noun or adjective inflection, to the point where some authors describe it as analytic, but the Modern English system of personal pronouns...

  • Gender-neutral pronoun
    Gender-neutral pronoun
    A gender-neutral pronoun is a pronoun that is not associated with any gender. It designates two distinct grammatical phenomena, the first being pronouns/periphrastics that have been assigned nontraditional meanings in modern times out of a concern for gender equity, and the second being genderless...

  • Gender-specific pronoun
    Gender-specific pronoun
    A language has 'gender-specific pronouns' when personal pronouns have different forms according to the gender of their referents.The English language has three gender-specific pronouns in the 3rd. person singular, whose declined forms are also gender-specific: he , she , and it...

  • Generic antecedents
  • Generic you
    Generic you
    In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic you or indefinite you is the pronoun you in its use in referring to an unspecified person, as opposed to its use as the second person pronoun.-In English:...

  • Grammatical conjugation
    Grammatical conjugation
    In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

  • Grammatical number
    Grammatical number
    In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

  • Illeism
    Illeism
    Illeism is the act of referring to oneself in the third person instead of the more appropriate first person.Illeism is sometimes used in literature as a stylistic device...

  • Personal pronoun
    Personal pronoun
    Personal pronouns are pronouns used as substitutes for proper or common nouns. All known languages contain personal pronouns.- English personal pronouns :English in common use today has seven personal pronouns:*first-person singular...

  • Singular they
    Singular they
    Singular they is the use of they to refer to an entity that is not plural, or not necessarily plural. Though singular they is widespread in everyday English and has a long history of usage, debate continues about its acceptability...

  • Verb
    Verb
    A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...