A pronoun is a word that replaces a longer noun phrase.
- me – I, me
- tu – you (one person)
- el – he, she, him, her
- lo – it
- nos – we, us
- vos – you (more than one person)
- los – they, them
Tu is singular and vos is plural in all situations, both formal and casual.
El is used to refer to people, and to animals such as mammals and birds. It can be metaphorically applied also to other creatures, robots, the moon, storms, etc.
Lo is used to refer to things, simple creatures, ideas, concepts, etc.
Los is used as the plural of both el and lo.
Elefen does not normally distinguish “he” and “she”. The forms elo (“he”) and ela (“she”) are rare, but can be used to avoid excessive repetition of people’s names when talking about a man and a woman in the same context.
- Do es Joana? El es en la jardin. – Where is Joana? She’s in the garden.
- Do es mea come de matina? Lo es en la cosina. – Where is my breakfast? It’s in the kitchen.
A personal pronoun can be followed by a relative clause. If the meaning remains clear, the pronoun can be omitted, leaving the relative pronoun to do double duty:
- El recorda sempre la nomes de los ci el ia encontra. – He always remembers the names of those he has met.
- Me respeta tu, ci es tan saja. – I respect you, who are so wise.
- El ci osa, gania. – He/she who dares, wins.
- Ci osa, gania. – Who dares, wins.
On is a general indefinite pronoun, like “on” in French or “man” in German. It means “people in general” or “an arbitrary person” – or, in idiomatic English, “they” or “you”. It often avoids the need for a passive verb:
- On dise ce tu va parti. – They say you are going to leave.
- On debe repete la verbo. – You should repeat the verb. / The verb should be repeated.
Se is the reflexive pronoun for the third person, both singular and plural. It refers to the subject of the current verb, but is never the subject itself:
- Lo limpi se. – It cleans itself.
- Los lava se. – They wash themselves.
The possessive pronouns (“mine”, “yours”, etc) are the same as the possessive determiners (“my”, “your”, etc), preceded by la:
- Me ia trova mea libros, ma tu no ia trova la tuas. – I have found my books, but you haven’t found yours.
- Lo es ance plu grande ca la mea. – It is also bigger than mine.
- No toca acel jueta! Lo no es la tua. – Don’t touch that toy! It isn’t yours.
Just as an adjective can be converted to a noun, so most determiners can be converted to pronouns. The pronouns esta, acel, and otra always add -s when plural. A few other pronouns may also take -s if this makes things clearer.
- tota, totas – all
- ambos – both
- esta, estas – this, these
- acel, aceles – that, those
- cualce, cualces – any, whichever, whatever
- cada – each
- alga, algas – some
- cual – which
- multe, multes – much, many
- poca, pocas – little, few
- plu – more
- la plu – most
- min – fewer, less
- la min – fewest, least
- un/la otra, (la) otras – another, the other (one), (the) others
- la mesma, la mesmas – the same one, the same ones
- un tal, tales – such a one, one like that, ones like that
- Estas aspeta bela! – These looks nice!
- Prende cualce. – Take any (from a selection).
- Me no vole judi, car me gusta egal cada. – I don’t want to judge, because I like each one equally.
- Me vole grasia cada de esta persones. – I want to thank each of these people.
- Alga(s) pensa ancora ce la mundo es plata. – Some (people) still think that the world is flat.
- Tu ia versa mal la vino. Alga es sur la table. – You’ve poured the wine badly. Some (of it) is on the table.
- Multe(s) de nos es programores. – Many of us are programmers.
- Me no ia regarda multe(s) de acel filmas. – I haven’t watched many of those films.
- Me reconose poca(s) de la persones en la fola. – I recognize few of the people in the crowd.
- Plu va ariva pronto. – More will arrive soon.
- Alga parolas es clar, ma on no pote leje fasil la plu. – Some words are clear, but most can’t easily be read.
- Tu ave min ca me. – You have less than me.
- Me vole bonveni tota(s) de vos. – I want to welcome you all.
- Me ia compra sinco libros nova, ma me ia lasa tota(s) en la bus. – I bought five new books, but I left them all on the bus.
- Ambos de la enfantes jua felis. – Both of the children are playing happily.
The cardinal numbers can be used as pronouns denoting groups of a specified size. These pronouns do not normally take the plural -s and do not require determiners:
- Tre de mea amis va ariva a esta sera. – Three of my friends will arrive this evening.
- Cuanto pizas tu ia come? – How many pizzas have you eaten?
- La cuatro de nos va come en junta. – The four of us will eat together.
- Un de mea gatos manca. – One of my cats is missing.
- La tre ia abita en la mesma aparte. – The three lived in the same flat.
To indicate indeterminate multiples of numbers such as sento, mil, or milion, the plural -s is added:
- On ia ave miles de persones a la conserta. – There were thousands of people at the concert.
- A cada anio, miliones migra a otra paises. – Every year, millions immigrate to other countries.
- On ia vacui miles de plu persones de locas inondada par la deluvias. – Thousands more people were evacuated from areas inundated by the floods.
- On pote fatura plu sentos per servi. – You can be charged additional hundreds for service.
La cannot be converted to a pronoun. El, lo, and los are used instead:
- La casa de mea padre es plu grande ca lo de mea frate. – My father’s house is larger than my brother’s.
- Lo es ance plu grande ca lo cual me intende compra. – It’s also larger than the one that I intend to buy.
No cannot be used as a pronoun, but it does form nun and no cosa. The number zero can also be used as a pronoun.
The idiomatic expression la un la otra (or lunlotra) means “one another” or “each other”. It has variants such as la un o la otra (one or the other), la un pos la otra (or pos lunlotra, one after another), and la un sur la otra (or sur lunlotra, one on top of the other):
- La xicos colpa la un la otra / lunlotra. – The boys are hitting each other.
- Me pila mea crepes la un sur la otra / sur lunlotra. – I stack my pancakes one on top of the other.
In some sentences, a pronoun is immediately followed by a verb and risks being misunderstood as a determiner followed by a a verb reused as a noun. For example, out of context, one can’t be sure whether acel veni de Italia means “that action of coming from Italy” or “that comes from Italy”. In most cases, the context makes the meaning entirely obvious. But beginners in Elefen, and those who wish to avoid all risk of ambiguity, can add a simple noun – such as person or cosa – after the determiner instead of converting it to a pronoun:
- Acel cosa veni de Italia. – That thing comes from Italy.
- Recorda ce alga persones (o algas) abita en sua auto. – Remember that some people live in their cars.
In some cases, one wants to make it clear that the verbal noun is not a verb. With words like alga, multe, and poca, one can add de between the determiner and the noun; the determiner then becomes a pronoun, but the noun doesn’t become a verb. With other determiners, such as esta and acel, one can add la before the determiner:
- La profesor ia demanda alga de atende. – The professor asked for some attention.
- Multe de labora pote es evitada. – A lot of work can be avoided.
- La esta deside no es un bon resulta. – This decision is not a good outcome.
Elefen has two pronouns that are used to create direct questions:
- cual? – which? / what? (= cual cosa?)
- ci? – who, whom? (= cual person?)
Ci is only used as a pronoun and should not be used as a determiner.
Cual is primarily a determiner, but it’s often also used as a pronoun, accepting the small risk of expressions such as cual veni de Italia being misunderstood.
- Cual tu gusta? – Which do you like?
- Cual tu prefere, la rojas o la verdes? – Which do you prefer, the reds or the greens?
- Ci vole es un milionor? – Who wants to be a millionaire?
- Tu vade a la sinema con ci? – Who are you going to the movies with?
- Cual es en la caxa? – What is in the box?
- Vos prefere cual? – What do you prefer?
Ci and cual are also used in reported questions.
Cual and ci also serve as relative pronouns, introducing relative clauses:
- cual – that, which
- ci – who, whom (= la person cual…)
The relative pronoun for a person or animal is ci. The relative pronoun for other things is cual:
- Esta es la fem de ci me ia compra mea auto. – This is the woman from whom I bought my car.
- La fem de ci me ia oblida sua nom es denova a la porte. – The woman whose name I’ve forgotten is at the door again.
- A, vide la patetas ci segue sua madre! – Ah, look at the ducklings who are following their mother!
- La libro cual me leje es tro longa. – The book that I’m reading is too long.
- La casa en cual nos abita es tro peti. – The house in which we live is too small.
- La superstisios – me gusta esta parola! – cual me ia investiga es riable. – The superstitions – I like that word! – that I have investigated are ridiculous.
- El esperia un sonia cual el teme. – She experiences a dream of which she is afraid.
- Compare: El esperia un sonia ce el teme. – She experiences a dream (and the dream is) that she is afraid.
With some relative clauses, the main sentence omits the noun that the clause relates to. The relative pronoun itself appears in the place of that noun. In such cases, to avoid confusion, cual can be expanded to lo cual, and ci to el ci:
- Acel es lo cual me ia comprende. – That is what I understood.
- Me comprende lo sur cual on ia instrui me. – I understand the information I’ve been taught about.
- Me no recorda (el) ci me ia vide. – I don’t remember the person who I saw.
- Me no recorda (el) a ci me ia parla. – I don’t remember the person I spoke to.
There are four special pronouns that refer to people. They are only used in the singular:
- algun – somebody, someone (= alga un, alga person)
- cualcun – anybody, anyone, whoever (= cualce un, cualce person)
- cadun – everybody, everyone, each person (= cada un, cada person)
- nun – nobody, no one (= no un, no person)
- Algun entre nos es la asasinor. – Someone among us is the murderer.
- Dise acel broma a cualcun, e el va rie. – Tell that joke to anybody, and they will laugh.
- Cadun debe reseta un premio. – Everyone must get a prize.
- Me senta en la atrio per un ora, e nun ia parla a me. – I’ve been sitting in the lobby for an hour, and nobody’s spoken to me.
The equivalents of algun, cualcun, cadun, and nun for things are alga cosa (something), cualce cosa (anything), cada cosa (everything), and no cosa (nothing).
Pronouns are not normally modified by determiners or adjectives, but they can be modified by prepositional phrases:
- Nos en la sindicato esije plu diretos. – We in the union demand more rights.
- Tota de la lenio es danada. – All of the wood is damaged.
- La plu de esta linguas es difisil. – Most of these languages are difficult.