21 Indefinite pronouns

This feature is described more fully in chapter 21.


In the feature (based on WALS feature 46, by Martin Haspelmath, we look at the form of indefinite pronouns, i.e. expressions rendering 'something' and 'somebody'. These can be expressed by special pronoun forms such as Papiamentu or Spanish algo 'something', or by interrogative-based forms such as Chinuk Wawa íkta 'what; something', or by generic-noun-based forms such as Guinea-Bissau Kriyol un kusa 'a thing, something', or by old generic-noun-based indefinites that continue the English forms something and somebody (e.g. Kriol jamjing, sambadi) but are no longer synchronically analyzable. Finally, languages may use a special existential construction instead of an indefinite pronoun in argument position ('There is who came' for 'Someone came').


Martin Haspelmath and the APiCS Consortium


Interrogative-based indefinites347
Generic-noun-based indefinites37946
Old generic-noun-based indefinites continuing somebody/something17421
Special indefinites4610
Existential construction123

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