April 20, 2012

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are pronouns that are preceded by a referent in the same clause. In English, examples are “himself”, “herself”, “themselves”, etc.

Consider the sentence “He was proud of himself”. The reflexive pronoun “himself” refers to the pronoun “he” within the same clause. In the sentence, “He was proud of him”, however, the pronoun “him” refers to another person not mentioned in the clause.

Reflexive Pronouns in Hindi

Reflexive pronouns in Hindi include आप (or अपने आप), खुद, and स्वयं/स्वयम.

आप/अपने आप and खुद are quite common in Hindi, whereas स्वयं is more formal.

Oblique Case

The oblique form of आप is अपने. अपने आप, खुद, and स्वयं are invariant forms and thus do not change in the oblique case.

वह आदमी अपने को बहुत होशियार समझता है – “That man considers himself very smart”.

मैंने खुद से बात करते हुए बोला कि मैं क्या करूँ – “I, talking to myself, said ‘What should I do?'”.

  • आदित्य

    If there’s two clauses in a sentence, which subject does the reflexive pronoun refer to?

    If I say: मैं कहा कि वह अपने दोसों से मिलना चाहता है ।

    does that mean “he wants to meet his own friends” or “he wants to meet my friends,” because both “मैं” and “वह” are subjects?

    Or does the reflexive pronoun just go with the subject of the clause it’s in?

    • Good question. Yes, the reflexive adjective goes with the subject of the clause it is in, so your example sentence unambiguously means “… that he wants to meet his friends”.