Reflexive possessive pronouns

AutumnOwl

Senior Member
Swedish, Finnish
In Swedish we can say, and in English it is:
Hon tar sitt paraply - She takes her umbrella, meaning her own umbrella.
Hon tar hennes paraply - She takes her umbrella, meaning an umbrella belonging to somebody else.
Hon tar hans paraply - She takes his umbrella, meaning an umbrella belonging to somebody else.

In the Scandinavian languages reflexive possessive pronouns is used to differentiate if an object belongs to the person or somebody else, while it doesn't exist in English, and you have to use some other way to show it, for example "She takes her daughter's umbrella."

How does it work in your language?
 
  • Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    French is similar to English in this respect:
    1) Elle prend son parapluie :arrow: She takes her umbrella (whose umbrella is it?)
    2) Elle prend son propre parapluie :arrow: She takes her own umbrella


    But usually, the first sentence would be understood as "her own umbrella", in French and I guess in English too.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    In formal/literary Cymraeg/Welsh you can only distinguish with a prevocalic <h-> (before a, e, i, o, u, w and y> or aspirate mutation (of c, p and t) is the owner of the object is feminine; and soft mutation (of c, p, t, g, b, d, ll, m and rh) if the owner is masculine.

    If none of these apply (i.e. the object begins with a non-mutable consonant) then outside context, you would be looking to adopt the 'echoing pronoun' ('hi' being 'she/her' or 'ef/e/fo/o' being 'him/his.' Of course, there is no 'it'.) This 'echoing pronoun' is more common in informal contexts and colloquial speech.

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei hymbarél (hi)
    'She takes/is taking her umbrella'

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei ymbarél (o)
    'She takes/is taking his umbrella'

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei hymbarél ei hun
    'She takes/is taking her own (lit. 'her self') umbrella'

    __________

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei chaws (hi)
    'She takes/is taking her cheese'

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei gaws (o)
    'She takes/is taking his cheese'

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei chaws ei hun
    'She takes/is taking her own (lit. 'her self') cheese'

    __________

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei fforc (hi)*
    'She takes/is taking his/her fork'*

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei fforc (o)*
    'She takes/is taking his/her fork'*

    Mae hi'n cymryd ei fforc ei hun
    'She takes/is taking her own (lit. 'her self') fork'

    * Only the 'echoing pronoun' hi/o tells you if the fork is hers or his (or its).
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Catalan, all of them three would be el seu ( la seva before feminine nouns, els seus / les seves before mpl/fpl), or in some cases the much lesser-used equivalents son (sa/sos/ses):

    (Ella) agafa el seu paraigua. = She takes her/her own/his umbrella.​
    As in French or English, the word propi/pròpia/propis/pròpies "own" can be added if we want to make it clear that it's her own umbrella and not someone else's.

    (Ella) agafa el seu propi paraigua. = She takes her own umbrella.​
    If needed, the distinction to indicate whether the umbrella is another woman's or man's would be made by adding "from her"/"from him":

    (Ella) agafa el paraigua d'ella. = She takes her umbrella (of her, that other woman).​
    (Ella) agafa el paraigua d'ell. = She takes his umbrella.​
     
    Greek has a similar construction with English, French, Catalan:

    «Παίρνει την ομπρέλα της» [ˈpe̞rni.ˌt̠inoɱˈbrela.t̠is̠] --> (she) takes her umbrella lit. (she) takes the umbrella of-hers (ambiguous)
    In order to make clear whose is the umbrella, we may use the possessive adjective «δικός, -κή/-κιά, -κό» [ðiˈko̞s̠] (masc.), [ðiˈci] (fem.) οr (colloq.) [ðiˈca] (fem.), [ðiˈko̞] (neut.) in accusative --> specifically one's own followed by a possessive pronoun in genitive, aphetism of the Classical adjective «ἴδιος, -ίᾱ, -ον» ídĭŏs (masc.), ĭdíā (fem.), ídĭŏn (neut.).
    Thus: «Παίρνει την δική/δικιά της ομπρέλα» [ˈpe̞rni.ˌt̠iŋðiˈcit̠is̠.o̞ɱˈbre̞la]/(colloq.) [ˈpe̞rni.ˌt̠iŋðiˈcat̠is̠.o̞ɱˈbre̞la] --> (she) takes her own umbrella.
     

    Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    If needed, the distinction to indicate whether the umbrella is another woman's or man's would be made by adding "from her"/"from him":

    (Ella) agafa el paraigua d'ella. = She takes her umbrella (of her, that other woman).
    (Ella) agafa el paraigua d'ell. = She takes his umbrella.
    Oddly enough, in French a similar wording can be used, instead of the rather formal "propre", to emphasize the fact that it's her/his own umbrella:
    Elle prend son parapluie à elle. (= her own umbrella)
    Il prend son parapluie à lui. (= his own umbrella)
     
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    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Yes, in Slavic languages this is also differentiated. The reflexive possessive pronoun is svoj (etc.) which translates to my/your/his/her/our/their depending on who we are talking about.

    Examples in Slovenian:

    Jem svojo čokolado. - I am eating my chocolate.
    Ješ svojo čokolado. - You are eating your chocolate.

    Dam ti svojo knjigo. - I give you my book.
    Daš mi svojo knjigo. You give me your book.
    Dam ti tvojo knjigo. - I give you your book.

    Etc.
     

    Mori.cze

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Yes, in Slavic languages this is also differentiated.
    I can confirm Czech has these too.
    It is actually considered an error not to use the reflexive version of the possessive when applicable, nonetheless these errors do tend to occur now and then, especially in translations. Maybe the feature is slowly starting to vanish.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes, in Slavic languages this is also differentiated. The reflexive possessive pronoun is svoj (etc.) which translates to my/your/his/her/our/their depending on who we are talking about.
    Indeed; pretty much the same in Russian (4 basic nominative forms, - 3 for each gender plus the plural number, where genders aren't differentiated in Russian, - declined through the 6 main cases, with the neuter pronoun coinciding with the masculine one in all cases but the noninative and inanimate accusative, as expected).

    The control of reflexives in Russian may be slightly tricky, but most typically the controller is the canonical nominative subject.

    Using reflexive possesives isn't actually obligatory (i.e. using other possessive pronouns won't automatically cause a shift in reference, unlike with non-possessive reflexives (~oneself)), but it's usually the most idiomatic variant.
     
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