- for a definition of Pronoun see Pronoun (definition)
The basic personal pronouns of Gaelic are used in neutral contexts (without emphasis) to indicate pronouns such as I, you, he, she, we, they. There is no distinction between nominative and accusative pronouns. (i.e. there is no difference between I and me, he and 'him, she and her, we and us and they and them in Gaelic.
- There are two forms for the 2nd person singular form (thu and 'tu), tu is used after verbs in the relative future tense and conditional mood.
- The sibh is used both for plural you and as a polite form of the singular
- There is no neuter pronoun (it) in Gaelic. Instead either e or i is used depending upon the gender of the noun being used.
- In the plural there is no gender distinction, one form (iad) is used for both genders.
There is a special form of the pronoun used in Gaelic to indicate special emphasis on the pronoun. There is no equivalent in English except stress. For example, if we wanted to say he saw ME, the Gaelic would use the special form mise: Chunnaic e mise. The emphatic forms are also obligatory when used with identificational uses of copula (e.g. I am John = Is mise Iain).
- There are two forms for the 2nd person singular form (thusa and 'tusa), tusa is used after verbs in the relative future tense and conditional mood.
- The sibhse is used both for plural you and as a polite form of the singular
- There is no neuter pronoun (it) in Gaelic. Instead either esan or ise is used depending upon the gender of the noun being used.
- In the plural there is no gender distinction, one form (iadsan) is used for both genders.
Note that sometimes reflexive forms (see below) are also used to mark emphasis.
Reflexive pronouns (in English forms like myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves) are used obligatorily when referring back to another noun that has been named in the same clause, e.g., John loves himself (himself refers back to John). In other words they are used as anaphors.
In Gaelic, unlike English (but used this way in Irish English and Hebredean English), reflexive pronouns can also be used as Emphasis. In such uses, they are not anaphoric (i.e. they don't refer back to a previous noun). For example, they can be used in subject position: Tha è fhèin a' tighinn (Literally "himself is coming", but colloquially HE is coming.)
In Gaelic the reflexive is formed by attaching fhèin (sometimes fhìn in the first person) to either basic grade or emphatic grade pronouns. This is usually written as a separate word.
|1st||mi fhìn or mi fhèin||sinn fhèin|
|2nd||thu fhèin||sibh fhèin|
|3rd masc||e fhèin||iad fhèin|
|3rd fem||i fhèin|
- The choice of fhìn or fhèin with the 1st person singular is a matter of dialect. In Skye the form fhìn is more frequently used than fhèin
- Also: mise fhìn, thusa fhèin, esan fhèin, ise fhèin, sinne fhèin, sibhse fhèin, and iadsan fhèin.
- See main article at Possessive Pronouns
- L stands for lenition trigger, N stands for Eclipsis/nasalization trigger, H indicates the word prefixes an <h> in front of the following word. These letters are not written but are provided here as guides.
- am is used instead of an in front of words beginning with any labial consonant (i.e. <b, m, f, p>), eg. their table am bòrd
- before words beginning with vowels "mo" is reduced to mo', do is reduced to d', and aL his is deleted.
- See main article at Preposition Inflection
In Gaelic prepositions take special forms when they take a pronoun as an object. These are Prepositional Pronouns.
Inflected Prepositions with object pronouns
|definite||1||2||3 masc||3 fem||1||2||3|
|gun||no special inflected forms|
|mar||no special inflected forms|
|rè||no special inflected forms|
|trìd||no special inflected forms|
|†Note the chugam, chugad etc. forms are rarely used anymore, nor is the definite form thun|
Inflected Prepositions with possessive pronouns
The 1st person singular, 2nd person singular and 3rd person singular masculine forms here trigger lenition (indicated with a superscript L). 1st and 2nd person plurals trigger the prefixation of n- onto words beginning with vowels (nasalization), This is indicated with a superscript N. the pronunciation of the a consonant following these and the 3rd person plural is also frequently voiced or nasalized. Finally the 3rd person feminine forms prefix an <h> onto words beginning with a vowel. This is indicated with H. The superscript N, H, and L are not usually written out in the orthography of Gaelic and are presented here merely to remind you what Initial Consonant Mutation is being triggered.
Note: of the following only the possessive inflected forms of aig, ann, do and ri are in regular use. All the others quite rare or considered prescriptively inferior.
|1||2||3 masc||3 fem||1||2||3|
|bho||bhomL||bhodL||bho aL||bho aH||bhorN||bhuN||bhon|
|de (dhe)||dhemL||dhedL||dhe aL||dhe aH||dhe arN||dhe urN||dhen|
|fo||fomL||fodL||fo aL||fo aH||forN||furN||fon|
|gu||gumL||gudL||gu aL||gu aH||garN||gurN||gun|
|le||lemL||led'L||le aL||le aH||lerN||lurN||len|
|mu||'mumL||'mudL||mu aL||mu aH||marN||murN||man|
|o||omL||odL||o aL||o aH||orN||urN||on|
|ri||rimL||ridL||ri aL||ri aH||ri arN||ri urN||rin|
|ro (roimh)||romL||rodL||ro aL||ro aH||rorN||rurN||ron|
|tro (troimh)||tromL||trodL||tro aL||tro aH||trorN||trurN||tron|
- Note that the /n/ ending on the 3rd person plural will change to an <m> when the word precedes word beginning with <m, b, f, p>.
- Any preposition not in the list above simply combines the normal preposition with the normal possessive pronoun (e.g. "air mo")