17 Special dependent person forms for subject and object

This feature is described more fully in chapter 17.


All languages have independent personal pronouns (words like 'I', 'you, 'he', 'we', etc.) that can occur on their own or in constructions in which they are singled out (focus constructions, coordination constructions).

In addition, some languages have a special set of dependent person forms, which only occur together with a verb. They may be clitics or affixes, but the crucial characteristic is that they cannot be focused, coordinated or occur as an independent utterance. Thus, the weak French subject pronouns (je, tu, il, etc.), the Spanish clitic object pronouns (me, te, lo, nos, etc.), and also the Spanish subject person markers or verbs (quiér-o 'I want', quiér-es 'you want') count as dependent person foorms.

Not uncommonly, a distinction between independent and dependent pronouns is made only in some forms of the paradigm (e.g. in Kriol, only the 1SG and the 3PL have distinct dependent and independent subject forms). Such partially differentiated paradigms are lumped together with fully differentiated paradigms here.


Martin Haspelmath and the APiCS Consortium


No dependent person forms29
Only dependent subject forms19
Only dependent object forms1
Dependent subject and object forms26

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details