[Lingtyp] Definition of “personal pronoun"

JOO, Ian [Student] ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk
Tue Jul 6 04:53:09 UTC 2021

Dear typologists,

I’m having a hard time trying to find a definition of a “personal pronoun”.
One definition is that a personal pronoun refers to a literal person, a human being. But then again, non-human pronouns like English it are also frequently included as a personal pronoun.
Another definition seems to be that “personal” refers to a grammatical person and not a literal person. Thus, it refers to the (non-human) 3rd person, therefore it is a personal pronoun.
But then again, demonstratives, interrogative, and indefinite pronouns also refer to the 3rd person. (This is a book, who is that man, anything is possible) Then are they also personal pronouns?
What’s the clearest definition of a personal pronoun, if any?

From Hong Kong,


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