Proto-Indo-European Pronouns
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Proto-Indo-European Pronouns

Proto-Indo-European pronouns have been reconstructed by modern linguists, based on similarities found across all Indo-European languages. This article lists and discusses the hypothesised forms.

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) pronouns, especially demonstrative pronouns, are difficult to reconstruct because of their variety in later languages.

Grammatical categories

PIE pronouns inflected for case and number, and partly for gender. For more information on these categories, see the article on Proto-Indo-European nominals.

Personal pronouns

PIE had personal pronouns in the first and second person, but not the third person, where demonstratives were used instead. They were inflected for case and number (singular, dual, and plural), but not for gender. The personal pronouns had their own unique forms and endings, and some had two distinct stems; this is most obvious in the first person singular, where the two stems are still preserved, as for instance in English I and me. There were also two varieties for the accusative, genitive and dative cases, a stressed and an enclitic form. Many of the special pronominal endings were later borrowed as nominal endings.

The following tables give the paradigms as reconstructed by Beekes[1] and by Sihler.[2]

Beekes' reconstruction of PIE personal pronouns
First person Second person
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative *h?e?(oH/Hom) *uei *tuH *iuH
Accusative stressed *h?mé *nsmé *tué *usmé
enclitic *h?me *n?s *te *u?s
Genitive stressed *h?méne *ns(er)o- *teue *ius(er)o-
enclitic *h?moi *nos *toi *uos
Dative stressed *h?méio *nsmei *téb?io *usmei
enclitic *h?moi *ns *toi ?
Instrumental *h?moí ? *toí ?
Ablative *h?med *nsmed *tued *usmed
Locative *h?moí *nsmi *toí *usmi
Sihler's reconstruction of PIE personal pronouns
First person Second person
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *e?oH *weh? *we-i *t (*t) *yuh? (*y?h) *y?s (*yuHs?)
Accusative tonic *m-mé (> *mé) *n ?h?-wé *n?smé *twé *uh?-wé *usmé
enclitic *me *nh? *ns *te *wh? *ws
Genitive tonic *mé-me *n?sóm *té-we *usóm
enclitic *mos (adj.) *ns *tos (adj.) *ws
Dative tonic *mébhi *n?sm-éy *tébhi *usm-éy
enclitic *mey, *moy? *ns *tey, *toy *ws
Ablative *mm-ét (> *mét) *n?sm-ét *tw-ét *usm-ét

Other reconstructions typically differ only slightly from Beekes and Sihler (see for example Fortson 2004[3]).

Demonstrative pronouns

As for demonstratives, Beekes[4] tentatively reconstructs a system with only two pronouns: *so "this, that" and *h?e "the (just named)" (anaphoric, reconstructed as *ei- by Fortson[5]). He gives the following paradigms:

Demonstrative pronouns (Beekes)
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative *so *tod *seh? *toi *teh? *seh?i
Accusative *tóm *teh?m *tons *teh?ns
Genitive *(to)sio *(t)eseh?s *tesom? *tesom?
Ablative *tosm?d *toios?
Dative *tosm?i *tesieh?ei *toimus *teh?mus?
Locative *tosmi *tesieh?i *toisu *teh?su?
Instrumental *toi? *toi? *toib?i *teh?b?i?
Nominative *h?e *(h?)id *(h?)ih? *h?ei *ih? *ih?es
Accusative *im *ih?m *ins *ih?ns
Genitive *h?éso *h?eseh?s? *h?es(om)
Ablative *h?esm?d *h?eios?
Dative *h?esm?i *h?esieh?ei *h?eimus
Locative *h?esmi *h?esieh?i *h?eisu
Instrumental *h?ei? *h?eib?i

Beekes also postulates three adverbial particles, from which demonstratives were constructed in various later languages:

  • *?i "here" (reconstructed as a demonstrative *?i- "this" by Fortson[5]
  • *h?en "there" and
  • *h?eu "away, again",
Demonstrative pronouns (Sihler)
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative *so *tod *seh?, *sih? *toy *teh? *teh?s
Accusative *tom *teh?m *toms *teh?ms
Genitive *tosyo *tosyeh?s *toysm *teh?sm
Ablative *tosm?d *tosyeh?s *toyb?- *teh?b?-
Dative *tosmey *tosyeh?ey *toyb?- *teh?b?-
Locative *tosmi ? *toysu *teh?su
Instrumental ? ? ? ?
Nominative *is *id *ih? *eyes *ih? *ih?es
Accusative *im *ih?m *ins *ih?ms
Genitive *esyo *esyeh?s *eysom
Ablative *esmod *esyeh?s *eyb?-
Dative *esmey *esyeh?ey *eyb?-
Locative *esmi ? *eysu
Instrumental ? ?

Reflexive pronoun

A third-person reflexive pronoun *s(w)e-, parallel to the first and second person singular personal pronouns, also existed, though it lacked a nominative form:

Reflexive pronoun (Beekes)[6]
Accusative *se
Genitive *seue, *sei
Dative *seb?io, *soi

Relative pronoun

PIE had a relative pronoun with the stem *(H)yo-.[7]

Interrogative/indefinite pronoun

There was also a pronoun with the stem *k?e- / *k?i- (adjectival *k?o-) used both as an interrogative and an indefinite pronoun.[5][8]

Interrogative pronoun (Sihler[9])
Pronominal Adjectival
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative *k?is *k?id *k?eyes *k?ih? *k?os *k?od *k?eh? *k?oy *k?eh? *k?eh?(e)s
Accusative *k?im *k?ims *k?om *k?eh?m *k?oms *k?eh?ms
Dative *k?esmey *k?eybh- *k?osmey ? ?
Genitive *k?esyo *k?eysom *k?osyo ? ?
Locative *k?esmi *k?eysu ? ? ?

Pronominal adjectives

Proto-Indo-European possessed few adjectives that had a distinct set of endings, identical to those of the demonstrative pronoun above but differing from those of regular adjectives.[10] They included at least *ályos "other, another"[5] (or *h?élyos?).


Reflexes, or descendants of the PIE reconstructed forms in its daughter languages, include the following.

Type Reconstruction Reflexes
1st sg. nom. *e?oH Hitt. ?k, Ved. ahám, Av. az?m, Gk. (?), Lat. ego, Goth. ik,[11]

Eng. I, Gm. ich, Du. ik, Bulg. \az, Russ. ?\ja,

Kamviri õc, Carian uk, Osset. æz/æz, Umb. eho, ON ek, Lith. a?, Venet. ego[]

1st sg. oblique *me Ved. m?m, Av. m?m, Gk. , Lat. m?,[11]

Eng. mec/me, Gm. mih/mich, Du. mij,

Osset./Pers. mæn, Umb. mehe, Ir. mé, Welsh mi, Russ. mne, Alb. mua, Venet. mego[]

1st pl. nom. *we-i Hitt. w, Ved. vayám, Av. va?m, Goth. wit (dual), weis, Toch. was/wes,[11]

Eng. we, Gm. wir, Du. wij,

Pers. vayam/?, ON vér, Lith. vedu[]

1st pl. oblique *ns Hitt. anz, Gk. (dual), Lat. n?s, Goth. uns, Toch. ñä? (sg.),[11]

Gm. uns, Eng. us, Du. ons,

Skr. nas, Av. n?, Pers. amax?m/?, ON oss, okkr, Old Ir. ni, Welsh ni, OPruss. no?son, Lith. nuodu, Pol., Russ. nas, Alb. ne[]

2nd sg. *t (*t) / *te Hitt. tuk, Ved. tvám, Av. t?, Gk. , Doric , Lat. t?, Goth. þu, Toch. tu/tuwe, OCS ty[12]

Gm. du, Eng. thou,

Pers. tuva/to, Osset. dy, Kashmiri ts?', Kamviri tü, Umb. tu, tui, Osc. tuvai, ON þú, Ir. tú/thú, Welsh ti, Arm. tu/du, OPruss. to?, Pol. ty, Russ. ty, Lith. tu, Ltv. tu, Alb. ti[]

2nd pl. nom. *y?(H)s Ved. y?yám, Av. y, Gk. , Goth. j?s, Toch. yas/yes,[12]

Eng. g?/ye; ?ow/you, Gm. ir/ihr, Du. jij / gij,

ON ykkr, yðr, Arm. dzez/dzez/cez, OPruss. io?s, Lith. j?s, Ltv. j?s, Alb. juve, ju[]

2nd pl. oblique *ws Lat. v?s,[12]

Skr. vas, Av. v?, Umb. uestra, OPruss. wans, Pol. wy, was, Russ. vy, vas,[] Alb. u

Demonstrative ("this, that") *so (m), *se-h? (f), *to-d (n) Ved. sá, s?, tád, Av. h?, h?, tat?, Gk. ?, ?, , Goth. sa, so, þata, Icel. sá, sú, það, TochB. se, s?, te[5]

Old Eng. se, seo, thæt, Russ. tot, ta, to[]

Demonstrative ("the just named; this") *h?e / *ei- Ved. ay-ám, id-ám, Av. ?m "him", Lat. is, ea, id, Alb. aì (he, that), ajò (she, that), Goth. is "he"[5]

Skr. it[]

Demonstrative / adverbial particle *?i(-) Lat. cis, Eng. he, Gm. heute "on this day, today", OCS s?, Lith. ?ìs,[5]

ON hér, Goth. hita, Eng. it, Gm. hier, Russ. sije[]

Reflexive *s(w)e- Ved. sva-yám, Av. xi, Gk. ?-, Lat. s?, sibi, suus, Old Ir. fa(-dessin), Ir. féin, OCS s?,[5]

Gm. sih/sich, sin/sein, Du. zich, zijn

Carian sfes, Lyd. ?fa-, Osc. sífeí, Umb. seso, ON sik, sinn, Goth. sik, Arm. ink?s, OPruss. sien, sin, Lith. savo, Latv. sevi, Russ. sebe, -sja, Alb. vetë, u, Phryg. ve[]

Relative *(H)yo- Ved. yá-, Av. ya-, Gk. ?-, Proto-Celtic *yo-[5]
Interrogative pronoun *k?i-s (m, f), *k?i-d (n) Hitt. kui?, Luw. kui?, Gk. , Lat. quis, quid, Ir. cia, Eng. hw?/-, OCS to[5]

Lyc. tike, Lyd. qi-, Osset. ?i, Pers. ?iy/ki, Osc. pisi, Umb. púí, svepis, ON hverr, Welsh pwi,[] Russ. kto, ?to, Alb. çë

Interrogative adjective *k?o-s (m), *k?e-h? (f), *k?o-d (n) Ved. kás, Av. k?, Gk. "where?", p?s "somehow", Goth. ?as, Lith. kàs, OCS k?to[5]

Eng. hw?/who; hwæt/what, Gm. hwër/wer, Du. wie / wat,

Carian kuo, Kashmiri kus, Kamviri kâ?a, Lat. qui, quae, quod; Arm. ov, in, Toch. kus/k?se, Ltv. kas, Pol. kto, Russ. kto, Alb. ku, kush, Phryg. kos[]

"(an)other" *alyo- Gk. , Lat. alius, Goth. aljis, Ir. ail/eile, Toch. ?lak/alyek,[5]

Gm. eli-lenti "in another land, expelled" / elend "miserable, wretched",[13] Eng. elles/else,

Lyd. a?a?, Skr. ara?a, Osc. allo, ON elligar, Gaul. alla, Arm. ayl[]

In the following languages, two reflexes separated by a slash mean:



  • Beekes, Robert S. P. (2011), Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction, ISBN 978-90-272-1185-9
  • Fortson, Benjamin W., IV (2004), Indo-European Language and Culture, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 1-4051-0316-7
  • Grebe, Paul (1963), Duden Etymologie (in German), Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut, ISBN 3-411-00907-1
  • Ringe, Don (2006), A Linguistic History of English part 1: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic
  • Sihler, Andrew L. (1995), New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508345-8

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