Origin of ci in Italian as the first person plural clitic pronoun

ALT+F4

New Member
Italian
On Wiktionary ci is said to come from Vulgar Latin *hicce, from Latin hīc (here). In this sense, when used as an adverb, it has a similar meaning as French y (which also serves as a locative).
For example:
C'è un problema : There is a problem
Ci sono andato : I've been there
Non ci credo : I don't believe it
However, when used as a pronoun, it's also the first person plural clitic pronoun:
Loro ci conoscono : They know us : direct object
Lui ci ha detto questo : He said this to us : indirect object
Ce lo ha detto ieri : He told us yesterday : variant ce before a third person direct object clitic such as lo, la, li, le, ne.
My question is: why is ci used in this context as a first plural in standard Italian?
For example Sicilian uses ni, and Venetian uses ne.
Example in Venetian: I ne ga dà na séoła zała : They gave us a yellow onion.
Why isn't the standard Italian pronoun also ni, and ne before lo, la, li, ecc.?
The second person plural clitic pronoun is vi:
Vi mando una lettera : I send a letter to you
Ve l'ho detto ieri : I told you yesterday
The parallel is obvious: noi - ni/ne, voi - vi/ve, probably built on the model of io - mi/me, tu - ti/te.
So what is the origin of ci as the first person plural clitic pronoun?
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    from Vulgar Latin *hicce, from Latin hīc (here).
    Hello
    There do not seem to be two separate origins for ci as a plural pronoun and ci as an adverb of place: it is the same as you wrote above.
    The meaning should be (since 'we', the speakers, are here): here>us who are here>us.
    Expert etymologists will hopefully confirm.
     

    ALT+F4

    New Member
    Italian
    Hello
    There do not seem to be two separate origins for ci as a plural pronoun and ci as an adverb of place: it is the same as you wrote above.
    The meaning should be (since 'we', the speakers, are here): here>us who are here>us.
    Expert etymologists will hopefully confirm.
    Thank you for your answer!
    Yeah, it seems to be a likely development.
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Italian
    As explained above , the Italian pronouns vi from vos and vi from ibi converged. The same occurred with the pronoun ci by analogy. Hence, both the personal pronoun and the adverb ci/ce come from ecce hic.
     
    Last edited:

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    This fact to use "ci" as both adverb and plural pronoun in Italian has always puzzled me.

    Under this aspect Sardinian works very differently, we have two different adverbs and a pronoun (unrelated to adverbs).

    As adverb we use :

    "bi" (Latin "ibi" = there), it's the same of the French "y" or Catalan "hi" or Italian "vi"
    "che" (Latin "hicce" = here, from here), similar to Romanesco "ce"

    While as first person plural clitic pronoun we use "nos" (in the central-northern Sardinian, Logudorese and Nuorese), while in the south of Sardinia where they speak Campidanese they use "ci / si".

    Example :

    • C'è un problema : There is a problem -> B'hat unu problema (in this kind of phrase Sardinian uses the verb "to have" like French "il y a un problème")
    • Ci sono andato : I've been there -> Bi so andadu (bi = there, I went there) / Che so andadu (che = from here; I went from here)
    • Non ci credo : I don't believe it -> No bi creo

    • Loro ci conoscono : They know us -> issos nos connòschen
    • Lui ci ha detto questo : He said this to us -> issu nos hat nadu / naràdu custu
    • Ce lo ha detto ieri : He told us yesterday -> no(s) l'hat nadu / naràdu d'hèris (in this case the S of Nos is not pronounced, probably because it's followed by another consonant)
    The second person plural clitic pronoun works in a similar way, and it's "Bos" (Latin "Vos")
    • Vi mando una lettera : I send a letter to you -> Bos mando una littera
    • Ve l'ho detto ieri : I told you yesterday -> Bo(s) l'happo nadu / naràdu d'hèris (same here the S of Bos is not pronounced because of the following consonant).
     
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