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Sanskrit pronouns and closeness

with 2 comments

Reminded from here.

Unlike English “this” and “that”, Sanskrit has two of each. That is, there are four “degrees” of pronouns, varying by proximity:

1. very close, “this”: etad, एतद् :

m. एषः   एतौ   एते (एतेन, एतस्य, एतस्मिन्)
f. एषा   एते   एताः (एतया, एतस्याः, एतस्याम्)
n. एतत्   एते   एतानि (एतेन, एतस्य, एतस्मिन्)

2. close, “this”: idam, इदम्

m. अयम्   इमौ   इमे (इमम्, अनेन, अस्य, अस्मिन्)
f. इयम्   इमे   इमाः (इमाम्, अनया, अस्याः, अस्याम्)
n. इदम्   इमे   इमानि (इदम्, अनेन, अस्य, अस्मिन्)

3. away, “that”: adas, अदस् (rare?)

m. असौ   अमू   अमी (अमुम्, अमुना, अमुष्य, अमुष्मिन्)
f. असौ   अमू   अमूः (अमूम्, अमुया, अमुष्याः, अमुष्याम्)
n. अदः   अमू   अमूनि (अदः, अमुना, अमुष्य, अमुष्मिन्)

4. in absentia, “that”: tad, तद्

m. सः   तौ   ते (तम्, तेन, तस्य, तस्मिन्)
f. सा   ते   ताः (ताम्, तया, तस्याः, तस्याम्)
n. तत्   ते   तानि (तत्, तेन, तस्य, तस्मिन्)

Then there’s also एनम् etc., which according to MW “Grammarians assert that the substitution of एनम् &c for इमम् or एतम् &c takes place when something is referred to which has already been mentioned in a previous part of the sentence”.


Written by S

Tue, 2011-05-24 at 04:45:50

Posted in sanskrit

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for the post. I would add that one of the features of Sanskrit which might strike an English-writing/speaking person is the fact that the “that” is much more common than the “this”. Sanskrit uses “that” whenever we are generally talking about something, whereas English in such cases uses “this”.
    E.g.: In “X is Z. This has been said by…” the “this” would have been a “tad”.
    In other words, Sanskrit only uses etad when one is definitely speaking about something proximate. English only uses “that” when one is speaking about something whose remoteness one wants to stress.

    elisa freschi

    Wed, 2011-11-30 at 03:28:19

    • Good observation!

      Points of usage like this are not always apparent from reading books of grammar. And once you get used to the language, it’s easy to forget these things that were once new, and would be helpful for other learners.

      Thanks for pointing it out.


      Wed, 2011-11-30 at 11:44:39

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