Lesson 3  – Pronouns

The first step to making a sentence in Arrernte is to learn about pronouns.

Pronouns are words which stand for people, animals or things.

Let’s learn the different forms of pronouns in Arrernte: nominative, ergative and accusative.

Let’s start by having a look at singular pronouns. Singular pronouns refer to one person. Singular pronouns in English include ‘I, me, you, he, she, it’. In Arrernte the singular pronouns change form depending on how they are used in a sentence, so you’ll need to learn the different forms and how to pick the right one for your sentence.


Nominative Pronouns

Nominative pronouns are used in sentences which have a subject (a person or thing which is doing the action of the sentence) and a verb (the action of the sentence), or a subject and an adjective (describing word). 

Lower Arrernte
English
yenge
I
ange
you
ile
he/she/it

Now let’s have a look at these pronouns in some example sentences

yenge ngkwerre-ngkwerr-irtneme
I am coughing
yenge ahentyiweme
I am breathing
lyetante ange petyerne
you just came (here)
ile ngkanem-aneme
He/she/it is talking now

Ergative pronouns

Ergative pronouns are used in sentences which have a subject (a person or thing doing the action), a verb (the action of the sentence) and an object (a person or thing that is receiving the action of the sentence). The Ergative is used as the subject of this type of sentence.

Note- ile is the pronoun for both the nominative and the accusative pronoun he/she/it. ile also remains the same regardless of gender.

athe
I
unte
you
ile
he/she/it

Sentence examples

athe kwatye untyeme
I am drinking water

kwatye means water and untyeme means drinking

athe kere interneme
I am smelling meat

kere means water and interneme means smelling

athe untenhe uteme
I am hitting you

uteme means am hitting and untenhe means you (accusative)

unte reke Arrkwetye Akapertenhe?
Did you see Arrkwetye Akapertenhe?

reke means see and Arrkwetye Akaperte means Arrkwetye Akaperte

yengenhe ile raneme.
He/she/it is watching me.

raneme means is watching and yengenhe means me


Accusative

Accusative pronouns are used in sentences which have a subject (a person or thing doing the action), a verb (the action of the sentence) and an object (a person or thing that is receiving the action of the sentence). The Accusative is used as the object of this type of sentence.

yengenhe
me
angenhe
you
ilunhe
him/her/it

sentence examples

yengenh unte aweme?
are you understanding me?

aweme means understanding

lekere thele angenhe akarlkweke?
which dog bit you?

lekere thele means which dog and akarlkweke means bit

ikernante athe ilunhe reke.
I never saw her.

ikernante means never and reke means saw


Dual and Plural Pronouns

Here are some examples of dual and plural pronouns. These will be explored fully in future lessons.

Below is a list of Arrernte dual and plural nominative pronouns

ilerne
you and I
untatherre
you two
ilatherre
they two
unarre
we
untareye
you lot
ilareye
they

Ergative pronouns

Ilerne
you and I
angatherre
you two
ilatherre
they two
unarre
we
angareye
you lot
ilareye
they

Accusative pronouns

Ilernenhe
you and I
angenhatherre
you two
ilunhatherre
them two
unarrenhe
us
angenhareye
you lot
ilunhareye
them
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