Cherokee Pronouns

What is a pronoun?

- A pronoun is something like “I,” “You,” “She,” “They,” “Us,” “We,” etc. All languages use “pronouns” to tell WHO is doing the action and in some cases WHO the action is getting done to. To find the pronoun, just ask “Who is doing it?”

Cherokee Pronouns

- Cherokee pronouns are much different

There are only two Cherokee pronouns that stand alone as words

Aya ‘I’ Nihi ‘You’

But these two ideas are not how one “uses” pronouns in Cherokee to say who is doing the action of a verb.

The “who” doing the action is found ON the verb – called the “pronominal prefix”

- Linguists call Cherokee pronouns “pronominal prefixes” or “pronoun prefixes”

What does “pronominal” and “prefix” mean?

Pronominal – this is just a fancy word that means “pronoun”

Prefix – this is another fancy word that means “sound attached on the front”

“Pronominal Prefix” means “Pronoun attached to the front”

- Cherokee uses its pronominals not just on verbs, but other parts of speech

To express many basic ideas, you have to put the right pronoun prefix on the word.

/ji-sgaya/ ‘I am a man’ /Ji-Jalagi/ ‘I am a Cherokee’

/ji-yanuli/ ‘I am fast’ /agw-atana/ ‘I am big’

What are the Cherokee Pronouns?

- There are three pronoun types in general as they apply to Cherokee

1st Person 2nd Person 3rd Person

- The Cherokee system is complicated because “1st Person” Cherokee pronouns have two basic sets with other forms that are used to express specific ideas.

1st person Pronouns: All of these forms will have “I” as part of the action

1st Person Singular “I”

1st Person Dual Inclusive “I and You”

1st Person Dual Exclusive “I and Him/Her”

1st Person Plural Inclusive “I and You and Him/Her”

1st Person Plural Exclusive “I and Them”

What do these terms mean?

1st Person – this means “I”

Dual – this means “two” people are involved

Inclusive – this means “included” and it refers to the person spoken to

Exclusive – this means “not included” and it refers to the person spoken to

Plural – this means more than two

Cherokee Verbs:

1st Person Singular:

“I”

/ji-/

/g-/

ji-woniha

g-ega

/agi-/

/agw-/

agi-ha

agw-ohiyuha

1st Person Dual Inclusive:

“I & You”

/ini-/

/in-/

ini-woniha

in-ega

/gini-/

/gin-/

gini-ha

gin-ohiyuha

1st Person Dual Exclusive:

“I & Him/Her”

/osdi-/

/osd-/

osdi-woniha

osd-ega

/ogini-/

/ogin-/

ogini-ha

ogin-ohiyuha

1st Person Plural Inclusive:

“I & You & Him/Her”

/idi-/

/id-/

idi-woniha

id-ega

/igi-/

/ig-/

igi-ha

ig-ohiyuha

1st Person Plural Exclusive:

“I & Them”

/oji-/

/oj-/

oji-woniha

oj-ega

/ogi-/

/og-/

ogi-ha

og-ohiyua



2nd Person Pronouns: All of these forms will have “You” as part of the action

2nd Person Singular “You”

2nd Person Dual “You Two”

2nd Person Plural “You Three (or More)”

2nd Person Singular:

“You”

/hi-/

/h-/

hi-woniha

h-ega

/ja-/

/j-/

ja-ha

j-ohiyuha

2nd Person Dual:

“You Two”

/sdi-/

/sd-/

sdi-woniha

sd-ega


sdi-ha

sd-ohiyuha

2nd Person Plural:

“You Three (or More)

/iji-/

/ij-/

iji-woniha

ij-ega


iji-ha

ij-ohiyuha


3rd Person Pronouns: All of these forms will have “S/he” as part of the action

3rd Person Singular “She” or “He”

3rd Person Plural “They”

3rd Person Singular:

“She” or “He”

/a-/ or /ga-/

/-/ or /g-/

ga-woniha

-ega

/u-/

/uw-/ or /u-/

u-ha

uw-ohiyuha

3rd Person Plural:

“They”

/ani-/

/an-

ani-woniha

an-ega

/uni-/

/un-/

uni-ha

un-ohiyuha


*So, to get this down, here’s what you need to know:

(1) If “I” am doing it at all, then it has to be a 1st Person Form. 2nd Person and 3rd Person forms do not include “me” at all.

(2) If “You” are doing AND I’m not, then it’ll be 2nd Person. What matters then is how many of “you” there are – you alone, you two, or you three or more.

(3) If “S/he” is doing it AND “I” AND “You” are not, then it’s 3rd Person. It’s “him” or “her” if there’s only one person doing it, and it becomes “they” if there are two or more.


Comments are closed.