Paradigmatic of personal pronouns in the Germanic languages

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The paper is devoted to the grammatical categories of the personal pronouns of the Germanic languages in their paradigmatic relation. The aim is to describe the categories of personal pronoun forms in their systemic relation and common terms. The categories of personal pronouns are considered on the base of the well-known concept of R. Jacobson that reveals the binary nature of grammatical structures. It is shown that the combination of positive and negative features of the categories of person and number make up the system core common to all Germanic languages. The category of gender in the languages in question can be described only according to the third person that is unmarked of both the category of person and number. Whereas in all West Germanic languages there are three gender forms in the third person, the Scandinavian languages possess a special forth form replacing nouns of the so-called «general» gender uniting the former forms of male and female genders. The most significant differences between the Germanic languages concern the category of case. The only case opposition common to all the languages concerned is the opposition of nominative and non-nominative. The German languages break down in three groups. The first type involves English, Dutch, Frisian, Afrikaans with the only one opposition mentioned above. The second type is realized in the Scandinavian languages – Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian where besides the opposition of nominative/non-nominative the additional opposition of genitive/non-genitive is available. The genitive forms in these languages are used as possessive pronouns. The third type is represented by German, in which there are two different processes to be considered. On the one hand, the genitive forms of personal pronouns are easily derived from all pronouns, but they are hardly in use in the everyday speech. On the other hand, a remarkable feature of German and its daughter-language Yiddish is the striking stability of the additional opposition of dative/non-dative that was lost in the other Germanic languages many centuries ago.

Translated title of the contributionПарадигматика личных местоимений в германских языках
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-217
Number of pages10
JournalSibirskii Filologicheskii Zhurnal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Germanic languages
  • personal pronouns
  • paradigmatic



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