Home - A Grammar of the Denden Language - Abbreviations - References

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Denden distinguishes three persons and two numbers, viz. first, second and third, singular and plural. There are several sets of pronouns graded according to politeness. The usage is absolute: the speaker uses the pronouns suitable for his own position for himself, and the pronouns suitable for the position of the adressee for the adressee. In certain cases, a gender distinction is made into male, female and inanimate forms.

In many sources influences from the speaker's native tongue is apparent in the use of pronouns, which means that alternative forms abound.

Table 1 High grade honorific

  1 2m 2f 3m 3f
    s sero seri sera seras
    p serir serdan serdir serasdan serasdir

Table 2 Middle Grade Honorific

  1 2m 2f 3m 3f 3INAN
    s do dan dir da
    p dos di dasan dasir dao

Table 3. Low Grade Honorific

  1 2m 2f 3m 3f
    s ye yanan yanir rai
    p yer yai rao ras

Table 4. Very High Grade Honorific

  1 2m 2f 3m 3f
    s laka shauldan shaulyadir shauldan shaulyadir
    p lakadir shauldir shaulyadirdir shauldir shaulyadirdir

A separate set of pronouns exists for the between lovers:

Table 5. Affective pronouns

  1 2 3m 3f
    s ni te dam drai
    p nidir tedir damdir draidir

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are derived from the personal pronouns with the prefix <e-> poss:

.   e.do        keda     ga  adim etand.alei mo   seras andal
    poss.1sMGH  ancestor NOM boy  be.PT3     then 3sHGH world 

    can     hahan.alei.
    through tramp.PT3

    When my ancestor was a boy he travelled through the world.

Note the confusion between the topic marker ka and the nominalisation particle ga in this example.

.   Aya! Vlami e.serir    burgat tau.ga.
    EXCL Vlami poss.1pHGH god    NEG.NOM.
    Ha! Vlami is not our god.

Relative pronouns

Subject relative

yohox SREL

Object relative

danran OREL
de, ta, ya, nee OREL


nuin which
yen ~ yan who
hen what, what kind
air ~ ali ~ dair  where
airo ~ dairo ~ ahura why
gesad how
teshad how not
tomor ~ demor  how little, how few
yimor ~ jimor how little, how few


Denden shows a four-way contrast in demonstrative pronouns, viz. in the proximity of the speaker, in the proximity of the hearer, distal to the speaker and distal to the hearer.

Spatial deixis

dè ~ ta ~ ya ~ nee  proximal
yaubair ~ yo ~ yobi  distant from speaker
buè ~ pahe  distant from speaker and hearer
yob  somewhere

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