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Could someone give me some examples of inanimate pronouns in Hindi? I can't come up with any example myself. I was reading this paper:

Gazetteer Method for Resolving Pronominal Anaphora in Hindi Language

where the authors said that they made a list of inanimate pronouns (they call them non animistic). But I can't find any such pronoun. According to me, every pronoun in Hindi could also be used for animate objects.

  • "Animistic" is a term from anthropology, not linguistics. Linguists call this distinction "animate"/"inanimate". But they give example(s?) and I assume you can read Devanagari? Is their example wrong? – Ivan Kapitonov Dec 1 '15 at 11:48
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    Yes i can read devanagari but they haven't given any examples for inanimate pronouns. Only examples of animate pronouns has been provided there. – user159743 Dec 1 '15 at 12:35
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कुछ (kuch) "something"

क्या (kyā) "what?"

are examples of inanimate pronouns1 in Hindi (as opposed to the animate कोई (koī) "someone; anyone" and कौन (kaun) "who?").


1. Specifically, the inanimate singular indefinite and interrogative pronouns.

Source: Hindi, Yamuna Kachru (p.62)

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  • But you can say "कुछ लोग" some people. I don't think कुछ is a pronoun but rather a determiner. – Aryaman Aug 10 '18 at 12:42
  • And I'm not 100% sure about this but you can also say "कोई खाना है" is there any food? so I don't think your answer is correct. – Aryaman Aug 10 '18 at 12:44
  • @Aryaman कोई can be a pronoun or an adjective, context depending. कुछ can similarly be either a pronoun, adjective, or adverb. Specifically they're indefinite pronouns. See here: "कोई" and here: "कुछ " - The Oxford English-Hindi Dictionary – brazofuerte Aug 10 '18 at 12:49
  • Thanks for the links. I don't think Hindi has a true animate/non-animate distinction nevertheless. – Aryaman Aug 10 '18 at 19:28
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In Hindi, he/she/it are a single pronoun, i.e. there is no distinction between inanimate and animate. The only distinction in pronouns is distance (near and far) and number (singular and plural).

The pronouns are:

  • यह - he/she/it (near)
  • वह - he/she/it (far)
  • ये - they (near)
  • वे - they (far)
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