Pronouns: Personal, reflexive, demonstrative, interrogative, indefinite, negative, personal possessive, and other pronominal words.
The general declensional pattern of the pronouns is similar to that of the nominal declension. There is a stern, fairly consistent in form, to which the relational morphemes previously given are added to indicate the various cases. The greatest disparity occurs between the absolute or nominative case and the oblique cases (including all others).
In the case of the 1st p., for instance, the allomorph /epĕ/ occurs only in the nominative, and in all other cases, the suppletive form /man-/, to which the regular case morphemes are added, is used, thus:
The same pattern is followed in the second person singular, employing esĕ in the nominative, and san- in the oblique. In the 3rd p., văl “he, she, it, that, this“ is opposed to un- of the oblique, except that a form ăn- is used before the dative ending -a. The plural of văl employs an allomorph vĕ- to which -sem is added, viz., vĕsem ‘they.‘ The remaining forms of the 1st and 2nd p. pl. may be similarly analyzed. All forms are presented herewith in tabular arrangement.
epĕ esĕ văl
man(ăn) san(ăn) un(ăn)
mana sana ăna
manra sanra unra (unta)
manran sanran unran (untan)
manpa sanpa unpa
epir esir vĕsem
pirĕn sirĕn vĕsen(ĕn)
pire sire vĕsene
pirĕnte (pirte) sirĕnte vĕsenche
pirĕnten (pirten) sirĕnten vĕsenchen
pirĕnpe sirĕnpe vĕsempe
In addition to the above, some other forms are occasionally found, as for the nominative, ep, es, ul, epĕr, esĕr and vălsem. The locative and ablative of esir may also use sirte and sirten like epir does.
Some examples of their use are the following ones.
ku brigadir – pirĕn This team-leader is ours.
pire puhura yrlarĕş We were praised at the meeting.
pirĕn brigada malta pyrat Our team goes forward.
epĕ kolhozra ĕşletĕp I work on the kolkhoz.
văl şyn that man
văl şynsem those people
văl sire pallarĕ he has recognized you
Tură ăna kalană God said to him
man hĕrsene my girls (acc.)
In Chuvash, the words for myself, yourself, himself, herself, and so on, are expressed with possessive forms of the morpheme ha ‘self.‘ To this morpheme may be added morphemes of possession and of case. From the following table the student can easily determine the similarity of these endings to those already learned. The reflexives are usually used with a personal pronoun to strengthen or intensify them, hut may also be used alone.
ham hu hăj(ĕ)
hamăn hăvăn hăjĕn
hama hăvna hăjne
hamra hăvănta hăjenche
hamran hăvantan hăjenchen
hampa hupa hăjpe
hamăr hăvăr hăjsem
hamărăn hăvărăn hăjsen(ĕn)
hamăra hăvăra hăjsene
hamărta hăvărta hăjsenche
hamărtan hăvărtan hăjsenchen
hamărpa hăvărpa hăjsempe
Some examples of use of the reflexive pronouns are the following:
văl hăj he himself
esir hăvăr you yourselves
hăjsen tăvan jal their own native village
ham pyrap I am coming myself
hăjsem kilchĕş they came themselves
epĕ hama şăvatăp I wash myself
hăvah Go yourself!
hăvăr Tură hĕrĕsem you are God‘s daughters
hăvăn upashku your own husband
hăjĕn ashshĕ kilne pynă he came to his own father‘s house
Like other languages, Chuvash too has words used to point out things or persons at near or far distances, as “these, those, this, that.“ It is not always possible to equate Chuvash usage exactly with English usage, because much depends on the circumstances: whether the speaker envisages something as near or far in relation to him, or whether it is near or far in relation to some other person.
Some of these words are the following: ku ‘this,‘ şak, şakă ‘that,‘ şav, şavă “that one (more distant that şak)", văl ‘that one, he,‘ lesh ‘that one at some distance,‘ leshĕ id., haj, hajhi (NB: xăj!) ‘that selfsame one, that very one, the aforementioned,‘ apla‚ kapla., şapla ‘such a one, one like that, that sort of one.‘ Also used are un pek, şavăn pek, şakăn pek “the like of it, the like of that“ meaning ‘similar, that sort of.‘
The declensions of these words follow previously established patterns:
ku şak(ă) lesh(ĕ) haj, hajhi şav(ă)
kun(ăn) şakăn leshĕn hajhin şavăn
kuna şakna leshne hajhine şavna
kunta şakănta leshĕnche hajhin~e şavănta
kuntan şakăntan leshĕnchen hajhin~en şavăntan
kunpa şakănpa leshpe hajhipe şavănpa
When it is necessary to use the plural forms of these words, they employ their basic stem plus the regular endings of the plural (viz. —sem, sen(ĕn), —sene, —senche, —senchen and -sempe), namely,
kusem şaksern leshsem hajhisem şavsem
Some examples of the demonstrative pronouns are the following:
kunta here (lit. ‘in this‘)
kuntan hence, for this reason, therefore
unta there (‘in that‘)
untan from that = thereupon, thence, then
şaka kĕneke this book
un pek şyn such a man
şakă kĕneke This is a book.
hajhine asturăm I remembered that (that thing which you were talking about previously)
pirĕn shuhăsh şapla Our opinion is thus and so.
ku pioneer lajăh vĕrenet This Pioneer (Boy Scout) studies well.
lesh achan kĕnekesem numaj That child has a lot of books (that child‘ s books are many)
acha kĕneke ănlanmalla vulat The boy reads the book clearly.
şapla vulani mana savăntarat Such a reading (a reading like that) delights me
The words for "what, who, which“ etc are interrogative pronouns, and like the preceding pronouns, follow the Same general pattern of formation. Their use is essentially that of their English counterparts. In Chuvash, these words are kam ‘who,‘ mĕn ‘what, hăsh(ĕ) ‘wich, which one" mişe "how many" (of numbers), mĕn chuhlĕ, mĕn chu1 how many, of what quantity", and mĕnle "what sort, of what kind.‘ Note that, unlike their English equivalents Chuvash kam and mĕn may be used in the plural: kamsem ‘what persons, what ones, who?‘, or mĕnsem "what things, what objects, what ones.‘
Their declension is as follows.
kam mĕn hăsh(ĕ)
kamăn mĕnĕn hăshĕn
kama mĕne hăshne
kamra mĕnre hăshĕnche
kamran mĕnren hăshĕnchen
kampa mĕnpe hăshinpe (!)
mişe mĕn chuhlĕ mĕn chul
mişe(ĕn) mĕn chuhlĕn mĕn chulăn
mişene mĕn chuhle mĕn chula
mişere mĕn chuhlĕre mĕn chulra
mişeren mĕn chuhlĕren mĕn chulran
mişepe mĕn chuhlĕpe mĕn chulpa
Some other interrogative words are: ăşta ‘where;‘ mĕnsker, mĕsker, ‘what‘; jeple, mĕnle "what sort;‘ mĕnshĕn "why,‘ "owing to what.‘
Examples of their usage may be found in these phrases.
pajan mĕn kun? Today, what day? = What day is today?
mĕn tyra What crop? = What is the crop like (this year)?
ku japalana mĕne iltĕn? Why did you buy this thing?
jeple şyn văl? What sort of a person is he? (What man he?)
hăshĕ asli, hăshĕ kĕşĕnni I shall hire (you) to know which is the eldest
pallama tytăp and which is the youngest (Folktale)
The student must note carefully the fact that Chuvash does not have a relative pronoun such as “that, which“ in English. Sentences of the types “The man who did it came yesterday“ or “The book that he bought was stolen“ are expressed in Chuvash in a completely different way (viz., approximately “The having-done-it man came yesterday,“ “His bought book was stolen“).
Occasionally, however, in imitation of Russian usage, the words kam or mĕn will be found in a relative usage.
kam tărăsa ĕşlet, Who works. assiduously will succeed at this task
unăn ĕşĕ ănsa pyrat. (lit. Who works trying, his affair succeeds‘).
Indefinite pronouns may be formed from interrogative pronouns by:
1. Adding the morpheme ta-/te- ‘some‘ before them:
temĕsker someone, a certain one, someone, a certain which one
temĕnle some sort
temişe somewhat, to some amount
2. Adding the particle ta and the words pulin or pulsan (lit. "let it be‘ or "if it is‘), in a manner reminiscent of the Russian formations kto-nibud‘ "who it may be‘ = whoever, someone, and so on.
kam ta pulin anyone, whoever it may be
rnĕnte pulin anything, whatever it may be
mĕnle te pulin anyhow, however
3. By adding the word kirek before them
kirek kam somebody
kirek mĕn something
kirek mĕnle somehow
Negative pronouns are formed from interrogatives by adding the prefix morpheme ni before them, and the particles ta, te after the stem.
nikam ta no one
nimĕn te nothing
nimĕske te no sort
nihăshĕ te no one
nijeple te nothing
nimĕnle te nothing
nimĕn te seldom
Personal Possessive Pronouns
Chuvash also has formations like English “mine, yours, his“ which can be used as nouns. This usage is similar in formation to the German das meinige or French le mien "the one which is mine.‘ These are formed in Chuvash by adding the possessive –ni to the genitive forms of the personal pronouns, viz.:
manni, manănni sanni, sanănni unni, unănni
pirĕnni sirĕnni vĕsenni (vĕsenĕnni)
The reflexive pronouns may also be used this way:
hamănni the one which is my own
hăvănni your own
hăjĕnni his own
hamărănni our own
hăjsenni their own
hăvărănni your own
These forms, being nouns, may also occur in all cases, and since their formation is perfectly regular and predictable, all forms will not be given here.
manni sanni unni
mannin sannin unnin
manne sanne unne
manninche sanninche unninche
manninchen sanninchen unninchen
mannipe sannpe unnipe
mannisem sannisem unnisem
(and so on)
Both short and long forms may serve as the base:
manănni sanănni unănni
manănnisem sanănnisem unănnisem
(and occur in all cases)
Further, the forms may refer to the plurals “our, your, their,“ viz.:
pirĕnni sirĕnni vĕsenni
pirĕnnisem sirĕnnisem vĕsennisem
(oblique cases as usual)
In general these forms are but little used, as the circumstances calling for their use infrequently arise. Their formation poses no problems. One example from the Reader is:
yran kĕşĕnnine pallama kil Come to recognize the youngest one tomorrow!
(Folktale), lit. ‘its young one."
Other Pronominal Words
There are also some other words of pronominal character, expressing accumulation and generalization.
purte all, every
pur, pĕtĕm all
harpărhăj each himself
urăh other, another