Shemspreg pronouns and other particles

From FrathWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Pronouns are words which can stand in for other words and phrases. There are several different types of pronouns in Shemspreg which are discussed in this section: personal pronouns, demonstratives, interrogative and relative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns. In addition, I also discuss numerals, conjunctions, and quantifiers.

Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns distinguish three persons and two numbers. They are also inflected for case. They are given in the table below.

nom gen obl
1sing ej me me
2sing tu te te
3sing so sos som
1plur we nos nos
2plur yu wos wos
3plur to tos tom

Reflexive pronouns are formed by suffixing -swe to the genitive pronoun stems; the plural and third person singular pronouns delete -s before suffixation of -swe.

1sing meswe 'myself'
2sing teswe 'yourself'
3sing soswe 'him/her/itself'
1plur noswe 'ourselves'
2plur woswe 'yourselves'
3plur toswe 'themselves'

In possession, the reflexive pronoun is attached as a clitic to the end of the noun phrase it possesses.

so gwegumi ad domomswe.

so gwe- gum -i ad dom -om =swe
3s:NOM PERF- come:0 -PAST at house -OBL =REFL

'He arrived at his (own) house.'

When the regular third person possessive pronouns are used, they are understood as not being coreferential with a previously mentioned third person.

so gwegumi ad sos domom.

so gwe- gum -i ad so -s dom -om
3s:NOM PERF- come:0 -PAST at 3s -GEN house -OBL

'He[1] arrived at his[2] house.'

Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns in Shemspreg distinguish between two degrees of deixis corresponding to English 'this' and 'that'. The inflection of the proximal ('this') and distal ('that') demonstratives are given below. Note that the distal demonstrative is identical to the third person pronouns.

'this' sing plur
nom id ya
gen is yas
obl im yam
'that' sing plur
nom so to
gen sos tos
obl som tom

Interrogative and relative pronouns

The interrogative pronouns are formed from the stem kwi, meaning 'who' or 'what'.

kwi 'who, what'

kwinu 'when' (lit: 'what now')

kwicho 'where' (lit: 'what there')

kwimod 'how' (lit: 'what manner')

kwige 'why' (lit: 'what because')

The interrogative kwi 'who, what' is inflected for case in the same manner as the demonstrative pronouns; i.e., kwi, kwis, kwim. The other interrogatives are not inflected for case. Examples of their use are provided below.

kwi api abelesom?

kwi a- p -i abel -es -om
who PERF- pick:0 -PAST apple -PL -OBL

'Who picked the apples?'

kwim tu eskwi?

kwi -m tu e- skw -i
who -OBL 2s PERF- see:0 -PAST

'Who did you see?'

kwis kwon edi shuum?

kwi -s kwon e- d -i shuu -m
who -GEN dog PERF- eat:0 -PAST fish -OBL

'Whose dog ate the fish?'

kwinu so wiro gweguni?

kwinu so wiro gwe- gun -i
when that man PERF- come:0 -PAST

'When did that man arrive?'

kwicho wech es?

kwicho wech es
where village be:PRES

'Where is the village?'

kwige Jan woses kwonom?

kwige Jan wos -es kwon -om
why John sell -PRES dog -OBL

'Why is John selling the dog?'

kwimod so wiro gweguni?

kwimod so wiro gwe- gun -i
How that man PERF- come:0 -PAST

'How did that man arrive?'

The interrogative pronouns are also used as relative pronouns. The case of a relative pronoun is determined by its function in the subordinate clause. In the first of the following two examples, the relative pronoun functions as the subject of the embedded clause and is thus in the nominative case, while in the second example the relative pronoun functions as the object of the embedded clause and is inflected for oblique case.

ej eskwi wirom kwi dodoi patatom ad Sinanom.

ej e- skw -i wiro -m kwi do- do -i patat -om ad Sinan -om
1s IMPF- see:0 -PAST man -OBL REL:NOM PERF- give:0 -PAST potato -OBL to Sinan -OBL

'I saw the man who gave Sinan the potato.'

ej edi patatom kwim dodoi Hasan ad Sinanom.

ej e- d -i patat -om kwi -m do- do -i Hasan ad Sinan -om
1s:NOM PERF- eat:0 -PAST potato -OBL REL -OBL PERF- give:0 -PAST Hasan to Sinan -OBL

'I ate the potato that Hasan gave to Sinan.'

Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are formed from the stems oi- 'some' and e- 'any'. Indefinite pronouns use many of the same stems as the interrogative/relative pronouns discussed above.

oi 'someone, something'

oinu 'sometime'

oicho 'somewhere'

oimod 'somehow'

e 'anyone, anything'

enu 'anytime'

echo 'anywhere'

emod 'anyhow'


The numerals in Shemspreg comprise a relatively small set of roots which are the source for a number of derivational patterns. When the roots are used alone, they are equivalent to ordinary cardinal numbers; there are additional derivational patterns which yield ordinal numbers, numerical adverbs, fractions, and multiplicative verbs. These are discussed in turn below.


The cardinal numbers of Shemspreg are given below. Note that for twenty and its derivatives there are alternate forms. Numerals past the single digits + 10 are formed by compounding for the most part; there are also separate roots for twenty, hundred, thousand, and half.

one oino

two dwo

three tree

four kwetwer

five penkwe

six sweks

seven septim

eight okto

nine newin

ten dechim

eleven dechim-oino

twelve dechim-dwo

thirteen dechim-tree

fourteen dechim-kwetwer

fifteen dechim-penkwe

sixteen dechim-sweks

seventeen dechim-septim

eighteen dechim-okto

nineteen dechim-newin

twenty wichimti (dwodechim)

twenty-one wichimti-oyno (dwodechim-oino)

thirty treedechim

forty kwetwerdechim

fifty penkwedechim

sixty sweksdechim

seventy septimdechim

eighty oktodechim

ninety newindechim

hundred chimtom

thousand sheslo

one half seemi


The ordinals for 'first' and 'second' are irregular and are derived directly from Proto-Indo-European roots meaning 'foremost' (*per-) and 'following' (*sekw-). All other ordinals are formed by suffixing -to to the cardinal numbers (this option is available for 'first' and 'second' and is given in parentheses below).

first peristo (oinoto)

second sekwent (dwoto)

third treeto

fourth kwetwerto


Numerical adverbs

Numerical adverbs indicating the number of repetitions of a particular action are formed by suffixing -s to the cardinal numbers.

once oinos

twice dwos

three times trees



In Shemspreg, the phrase x apo y is used to express the fraction 'x/y.' Thus, 3/4 is rendered as tree apo kwetwer and 5/19 is rendered as penkwe apo dechim-newin. When the numerator is '1', the fraction may be expressed by simply referring to the denominator as an ordinal.

kwetwerto 'fourth, one fourth'

newinto 'ninth; one ninth'

The only exception to this construction is for seemi 'one half'.

Multiplicative verbs

Shemspreg creates multiplicative verbs by incorporating the cardinal numerals into the verb pel-.

dwopel 'double'

treepel 'triple'

dwopeles 'doubles, is doubling'

dwopli 'was doubling'

dwopepli 'doubled'

dwopelent 'doubling'

dwopeplent 'doubled'


Conjunctions are particles which serve to join two or more constituents together; these constituents may be single words or whole phrases or sentences. There are two coordinating conjunctions in Shemspreg; =kwe 'and' and =we 'or'. These conjunctions are clitics; when coordinating words in a simple list, the conjunction attaches to the last element of the list.

we seskwi owim, taurom, echwosomkwe.

we se- skw -i owi -m tauro -m echwo -s -om =kwe
1p:NOM PERF- see:0 -PAST sheep -OBL bull -OBL horse -PL -OBL =and

'We saw (a) sheep, (a) bull, and (some) horses.'

ed abelom kirnosomwe!

ed abel -om kirno -s -om =we
eat:IMP apple -OBL cherry -PL -OBL =or

'Eat (an) apple or (some) cherries!'

When coordinating phrases or clauses, the conjunction attaches to the end of the initial element.

sos gwer wezho-, sos mej gem-deukentom, soskwe oochu shem-ferentom

so -s gwer wezho- so -s mej gem- deuk -ent -om so -s =kwe oochu shem- fer -ent -om
that -GEN heavy wagon- that -GEN large load- pull -PTC -OBL that -GEN =and quickly human- bear -PTC -OBL

'that (one) pulling a heavy wagon, that (one) a large load; and that (one) bearing a human quickly.'


Quantifiers are like numerals in that they give information about the number of elements in a noun phrase. Quantifiers can stand alone as noun phrases, much as pronouns can. The most common quantifiers are given below.

all plino

few pau

many pli

some oi

any e


  1. Introduction to Shemspreg
  2. Shemspreg sounds
  3. Shemspreg nouns
  4. Shemspreg pronouns and other particles
  5. Shemspreg verbs
  6. Shemspreg adjectives
  7. Shemspreg sentences