Pronoun: Semantic classification

June 9th, 201210:38 pm

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Pronoun: Semantic classification

Pronouns have every right to the reputation of a part of speech difficult to classify, since they include words very different lexically, syntactically and grammatically. Thus, if the syntactic principle is chosen as the basis of classification, then pronouns are divided into nominal and adjectival. If, however, these pronouns are further divided into groups, then some of them may be referred both to nominal as well as adjectival ones (this, that, each, other, some, any, all etc.). As a result, scholars prefer the semantic classi­fication of pronouns, which suggests (with slight variations from author to author) the following division:

1) personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they);

2) possessive pronouns (my, your, his, her, its, our, their);

3) demonstrative pronouns (this, that, such, (the) same);

4) reflexive (also called emphatic) pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, her­self, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves);

5) interrogative pronouns (who, whose, what, which);

6) relative pronouns (who, whose, which, that);

7) indefinite pronouns (some, any, somebody, anybody, someone, anyone, one);

8) negative pronouns (no, nobody, no one, nothing);

9) defining pronouns (all, each, every, everybody, everyone, everything);

10) reciprocal pronouns (each other, one another).

Considerable discreteness of this classification can hardly be to its advantage. Another flaw of the classification lies in that pronouns of dif­ferent classes share grammatical and semantic features. For instance, per­sonal, possessive and reflexive pronouns are marked with the category of person. Indefinite, negative and generalizing pronouns, in their turn, convey the meaning of quantity. To eliminate these unfortunate drawbacks, some grammarians suggest dividing pronouns into four groups: 1) personal, 2) demonstrative, 3) interrogative, and 4) quantitative. We will stick to the more complicated classification in order to give a detailed analysis of the pronominal groups.

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