A language with no 3rd person?

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by menme, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. menme New Member

    Bedburg, Germany
    ex-pat American, English native speaker
    Does anyone know if there is a language that has no way to indicate third person?
  2. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Sanskrit uses demonstrative pronoun to indicate thrid person, Ancient Greek uses that too and Hittite. PIE didn't have 3rd person.
  3. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    Modern Greek also uses demonstrative pronouns: αυτός, -ή, -ό.
    Most Turkic languages are also in this category. In Turkish o = that & he/she/it.

    I'm not sure about Japanese, but as far as I know it paraphrases it as: Anohito - That-person
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I do not quite understand what you are asking. Are you asking about languages that do not have a personal pronoun for the 3rd person singular or plural? Or about languages that do not have a conjugated verb form for the 3rd person? A lot of languages do not conjugate verbs at all, e.g. Chinese. Some languages (e.g. Vietnamese) do not conjugate verbs, and, moreover, normally use kinship terms (“older brother, uncle” etc.) instead of personal pronouns.
  5. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Not really. the version you proposed is formal (ano kata あの方 is more formal), remember that in Japanese, the more indirect you are the more polite you become. Japanese does have several pronouns for 3rd person: 彼 kare he, 奴 yakko (archaic and derogatory, it lit. means guy/slave), あいつ aitsu (colloquial/kinda rude) やつ yatsu (colloquial, rude), 彼女 kanojo she, yatsu and aitsu can be used for 'she', too. However, even though those pronouns exist and they're used, JP people tend to use no pronouns at all, the context and the nature of verbs and particles are enough to know who speaks and about whom we speak, you usually only mention the subject once.

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