What is a Pronoun?
A pronoun (vietniekvārds) can be defined as a part of speech which can substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Take a look at the following English sentences (nouns or noun phrases are shown in olive green):
The actual person or thing to which the pronoun refers depends on the context. For example, if the first sentence you say to someone when you meet them is "She sings beautifully", this makes no sense. Your hearer has no idea to whom you are referring.
On the other hand, if you are at a concert and point to someone (although it is considered quite rude to point!) and you say "She sings beautifully", then the referent of the pronoun she is perfectly clear: it is the woman to whom you are pointing.
Likewise, if you have been having a discussion with someone about Jennifer Lopez, and in the middle of the discussion you say: "She sings beautifully", then the referent is also clear: from the context it must be Jennifer Lopez. Right?
Pronouns such as she, he, you, we, us, me, etc. are referred to as personal pronouns. They can help establish the "person" of the subject or object.
"Person" is a grammatical term that refers to the type of particpant in the action of speaking. Here are a few example sentences that illustrate the subject pronoun in three different persons:
|Latvian sentence||Translation||Person of subject pronoun||Type of participant|
|Es cepšu maizi.||'I will bake bread.'||First person||Speaker|
|Tu cepsi maizi.||'You (singular) will bake bread.'||Second person||Hearer|
|Viņa ceps maizi.||'She will bake bread.'||Third person||Neither|
In other words, if the person who is speaking refers to himself or herself, this is a first person reference (as in 'I will bake bread.'). If the person speaking is referring to their hearer (i.e. the person they are adressing), then this is a second person reference (as in 'You (singular) will bake bread.'). Finally, if the person speaking is referring to someone who is neither himself or herself, nor the party addressed, but a third party, this is third person reference. Clear?
Latvian Personal Pronouns
Latvian personal pronouns have case, just as nouns do. Here is a chart that illustrates how to decline the personal pronouns of Latvian in five different cases (Note: pronouns have no vocative case) and two numbers (singular and plural):
|1st person||2nd person||3rd person|
Here are some example sentences that illustrate the use of personal pronouns in five different cases (pronouns are in olive green):
|Latvian Sentence||English translation||Case of pronoun|
|Jūs esat zagļi!||You (plural) are thieves!||Nominative|
|Viņa cepure ir brūna.||His hat is brown.||Genitive|
|Hermanis aizsūtija viņai konfektes.||Herman sent her candy.||Dative|
|Raimonds redzēja mūs.||Raymond saw us.||Accusative|
|Anna tic tevī.||Anna believes in you (singular).||Locative|
Use of Second Person Pronouns
Note that Latvian (like French, German, Russian, etc.) distinguishes between a singular second person (tu) and a plural second person (jūs). English used to do this (thou vs. you), but standard English no longer does.
(Note: the singular/plural distinction does still occur certain dialects of English: (you vs. you'all) in the southern United States and (you vs. ye) in Newfoundland, for example.)
Just as in many other languages, Latvian also uses the singular/plural distinction to differentiate between familiar and formal address. Thus, when meeting a stranger for the first time, you address him or her using the plural form (jūs), but with a close friend or relative you use the singular form (tu).
Note (1): once you get to know a person better, you can request that they use tu when speaking to you.
Note (2): the singular form tu is used when speaking to children (even if meeting them for the first time).
To continue with pronouns, go to: Reflexive Pronoun