Sanskrit pronouns and determiners

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Sanskrit pronouns are declined for case, number, and gender. The pronominal declension applies to a few adjectives as well.

Many pronouns have alternative enclitic forms.

First- and second-person persons[edit]

The first and second person pronouns are declined for the most part alike, having by analogy assimilated themselves with one another.

Note: Where two forms are given, the second is enclitic and an alternative form. Ablatives in singular and plural may be extended by the syllable -tas; thus mat or mattas, asmat or asmattas.

First Person Second Person
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative aham āvām vayam tvam yuvām yūyam
Accusative mām, mā āvām, nau asmān, nas tvām, tvā yuvām, vām yuṣmān, vas
Instrumental mayā āvābhyām asmābhis tvayā yuvābhyām yuṣmābhis
Dative mahyam, me āvābhyām, nau asmabhyam, nas tubhyam, te yuvābhyām, vām yuṣmabhyam, vas
Ablative mat āvābhyām asmat tvat yuvābhyām yuṣmat
Genitive mama, me āvayos, nau asmākam, nas tava, te yuvayos, vām yuṣmākam, vas
Locative mayi āvayos asmāsu tvayi yuvayos yuṣmāsu

Third-person pronouns and demonstratives[edit]

Sanskrit does not have true third person pronouns, but its demonstratives fulfil this function instead by standing independently without a modified substantive.

There are four different demonstratives in Sanskrit: tat, etat, idam, and adas. etat indicates greater proximity than tat. While idam is similar to etat, adas refers to objects that are more proximal than tat.

The tat paradigm is given below.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative sás táu tát tā́ni sā́ tā́s
Accusative tám táu tā́n tát tā́ni tā́m tā́s
Instrumental téna tā́bhyām táis téna tā́bhyām táis táyā tā́bhyām tā́bhis
Dative tásmai tā́bhyām tébhyas tásmai tā́bhyām tébhyas tásyai tā́bhyām tā́bhyas
Ablative tásmāt tā́bhyām tébhyas tásmāt tā́bhyām tébhyas tásyās tā́bhyām tā́bhyas
Genitive tásya táyos téṣām tásya táyos téṣām tásyās táyos tā́sām
Locative tásmin táyos téṣu tásmin táyos téṣu tásyām táyos tā́su

eta, is declined almost identically to ta. Its paradigm is obtained by prefixing e- to all the forms of ta. As a result of sandhi, the masculine and feminine singular forms transform into eṣas and eṣā.

The idam paradigm is given below.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative ayam imau ime idam ime imāni iyam ime imās
Accusative imam imau imān idam ime imāni imām ime imās
Instrumental anena ābhyām ebhis anena ābhyām ebhis anayā ābhyām ābhis
Dative asmai ābhyām ebhyas asmai ābhyām ebhyas asyai ābhyām ābhyas
Ablative asmāt ābhyām ebhyas asmāt ābhyām ebhyas asyās ābhyām ābhyas
Genitive asya anayos eṣām asya anayos eṣām asyās anayos āsām
Locative asmin anayos eṣu asmin anayos eṣu asyām anayos āsu

The adas paradigm is given below.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative asau amū amī adas amū amūni asau amū amūs
Accusative amum amū amūn adas amū amūni amūm amū amūs
Instrumental amunā amūbhyām amībhis amunā amūbhyām amībhis amuyā amūbhyām amūbhis
Dative amuṣmai amūbhyām amībhyas amuṣmai amūbhyām amībhyas amuṣyai amūbhyām amūbhyas
Ablative amuṣmāt amūbhyām amībhyas amuṣmāt amūbhyām amībhyas amuṣyās amūbhyām amūbhyas
Genitive amuṣya amuyos amīṣām amuṣya amuyos amīṣām amuṣyās amuyos amūṣām
Locative amuṣmin amuyos amīṣu amuṣmin amuyos amīṣu amuṣyām amuyos amūṣu

Enclitic pronouns[edit]

The enclitic pronoun ena is found only in a few oblique cases and numbers.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Accusative enam enau enān enat ene enāni enām ene enās
Instrumental enena enena eneyā
Genitive/locative enayos enayos enayos

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

Interrogative pronouns all begin with k-, and decline just as tat does, with the initial t- being replaced by k-. The only exception to this are the singular neuter nominative and accusative forms, which are both kim and not the expected *kat.

For example, the singular feminine genitive interrogative pronoun, "of whom?", is kasyãḥ.

Indefinite pronouns[edit]

Indefinite pronouns are formed by adding the particles api, cid, or cana after the appropriate interrogative pronouns.

Relative and correlative pronouns[edit]

All relative pronouns begin with y-, and decline just as tat does. The correlative pronouns are identical to the tat series.

The yat paradigm is given below.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative yás yáu yát yā́ni yā́ yā́s
Accusative yám yáu yā́n yát yā́ni yā́m yā́s
Instrumental yéna yā́bhyām yáis yéna yā́bhyām yáis yáyā yā́bhyām yā́bhis
Dative yásmai yā́bhyām yébhyas yásmai yā́bhyām yébhyas yásyai yā́bhyām yā́bhyas
Ablative yásmāt yā́bhyām yébhyam yásmāt yā́bhyām yébhyam yásyās yā́bhyām yā́bhyas
Genitive yásya yáyos yéṣām yásya yáyos yéṣām yásyās yáyos yā́sām
Locative yásmin yáyos yéṣu yásmin yáyos yéṣu yásyām yáyos yā́su

Pronominal declension[edit]

In addition to the pronouns described above, some adjectives follow the pronominal declension. Unless otherwise noted, their declension is identical to tat.

  • eka: "one", "a certain". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both ekam)
  • anya: "another".
  • sarva: "all", "every". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both sarvam)
  • para: "the other". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both param)
  • sva: "self" (a reflexive adjective). (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both svam)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language – Robert P. Goldman – ISBN 0-944613-40-3
  • A Sanskrit Grammar for Students – A. A. Macdonell – ISBN 81-246-0094-5