Personal and Reflexive Pronouns
We have already learned a handful of pronouns that decline either like the definite article or like third declension nouns:
αὐτός -ή -ό self, same, he/she/it
ἐκεῖνος -η -ο that
ὅδε, ἥδε, τόδε this
ὅς, ἥ, ὅ who, which, that
ὅσπερ, ἥπερ, ὅπερ the same who, which, that
ὅστις, ἥτις, ὅ τι anyone/thing who/which
τις, τι (enclitic) someone, something
τίς, τί who? what? which?
This chapter introduces FIRST PERSON, SECOND PERSON, REFLEXIVE, and RECIPROCAL PRONOUNS. These pronouns may well seem familiar, since they have been encountered frequently in the readings up to this point.
1. First Person Pronoun (I, we)
The inflection of the first person pronoun includes TWO FORMS for the genitive, dative, and accusative singular. The two forms have the same meaning, though the unaccented forms are ENCLITIC and less emphatic.
The accent patterns, case endings, and stem changes are irregular and require memorization, as is the case with the first person pronoun in most languages, including English (S 325; GPH p. 42).
The stem for this pronoun is (ἐ)μo-/(ἐ)με– in the singular, ἡμε– in the plural. This helps to explain some of the forms, and the fact that the accent for non-enclitics is always on the ultima. For example, ἡμεῖς is derived from ἡμέες. Note that ἐγώ is not associated with these stems (S 326).
2. Second Person Pronoun (you)
As with the first person pronoun, the inflection of the second person pronoun includes TWO FORMS for the genitive, dative, and accusative singular. The two forms have the same meaning, though the unaccented forms are ENCLITIC and less emphatic.
The accent patterns, case endings, and stem changes are irregular and require memorization, as is the case with the second person pronoun in many languages (S 325; GPH p. 42).
The stem for this pronoun is συ-/σε-/σο– in the singular, ὑμε– in the plural. As with the first person pronoun, the accent of non-enclitics is always on the ultima.
Remember that the NOMINATIVE forms of the first and second person pronouns are often redundant in a sentence, since normally the personal ending of the verb tells you the subject. When they appear, they often add emphasis or are shorthand for a complete statement:
ἐγὼ ἐθέλω μένειν. καὶ σύ;
“Well, I want to stay. And you?”
3. Reflexive Pronouns
English combines the personal pronoun and the word –self to form REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS: e.g. You love yourself. We see ourselves.
Greek forms REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS in much the same way, combining the personal pronoun with the corresponding (oblique) case, number, and gender form of αὐτός αὐτή αὐτό. Recall that this pronoun is emphatic – and translated as –self – if it is used on its own in the NOMINATIVE, or as an ADJECTIVE in the PREDICATE POSITION.
Note that Greek tends to combine the SINGULAR forms into one word (accent on the ultima), but inflects both pronouns in the PLURAL (S 329; GPH pp. 44-45).
a. Reflexive First Person Pronouns (myself, ourselves)
b. Reflexive Second Person Pronouns (yourself, yourselves):
For some authors, the –ε– in the antepenult of the singular forms is elided, resulting in σαυτοῦ/ῆς, σαυτῷ/ῇ, σαυτόν/ήν.
c. Reflexive Third Person Pronouns (himself, herself, itself, themselves):
Attic Greek uses the archaic third person pronoun ἑ to represent he, she, it in its THIRD PERSON REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS. While this pronoun is found in Homer, in later Attic Greek the third person pronoun is more commonly expressed by ἐκεῖνος, oblique forms of αὐτός, and οὗτος (introduced in the next chapter).
The older third person pronoun ἑ does, however, survive in Attic Greek’s THIRD PERSON REFLEXIVE PRONOUN. Note that for this pronoun, Attic Greek combines the personal and reflexive pronouns into one form for both the singular and plural. Note also that the resulting form is accented as though it were a regular first or second declension noun with a persistent ultima accent (S 329; GPH pp. 46-47).
Some Attic Greek authors contract this pronoun. The result is that only the ROUGH BREATHING distinguishes it from the pronoun αὐτός αὐτή αὐτό!
4. Reciprocal Pronoun (each other)
Greek has a distinct pronoun that corresponds to the phrase each other. It is called the RECIPROCAL PRONOUN (S 331; GPH p. 51). It is usually found only in the oblique cases of the plural.
οἱ Ἕλληνες ἀλλήλοις μάχονται.
“The Greeks are fighting with each other.”
– τὸ τέλος –
Key Terms and Concepts
- FIRST PERSON PRONOUN
- SECOND PERSON PRONOUN
- REFLEXIVE FIRST PERSON PRONOUN
- REFLEXIVE SECOND PERSON PRONOUN
- REFLEXIVE THIRD PERSON PRONOUN
- RECIPROCAL PRONOUN
- ἐγώ I
- σύ you
- ἐμαυτοῦ -ῆς myself
- σεαυτοῦ -ῆς or σαυτοῦ -ῆς yourself
- ἑαυτοῦ -ῆς -οῦ or αὑτοῦ -ῆς -οῦ himself/herself/itself
- ἀλλήλων each another
Ι. Memorize the vocabulary, and practice the inflections for each pronoun.
ΙΙ. Translate the following sentences into Greek.
- The enemy will see each other on the island.
- Panic itself will come to the city.
- You are hearing yourself.
- My horse is able to walk.
- Will you judge yourselves?
- I will be lord of the earth.
- The guest is welcoming you and me.
- I prefer to drink your water, not mine.
- Their weapons are in their own hands.
- The poet is giving me his books.