Reflexives - Norwegian
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Instructions for its use are found at Classroom:Norwegian Grammar Checking
Reflexives carry their name because they 'reflect' another noun phrase in the sentence, that is, they refer to the same entity as that other NP, often called the antecedent. As a general rule, the antecedent is the subject of the clause where the reflexive pronoun - for short: reflexive - occurs, and the reflexive thus always has accusative form.
Reflexives come in two varieties, as personal pronouns, and as possessive pronouns.
Reflexives as personal pronouns
Reflexive pronouns are a subset of the personal pronouns, Below is a list of the accusative forms of personal pronouns (see Personal pronouns in Norwegian):
meg 1p sg accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive deg 2p sg accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive ham 3p sg masc accusative non-reflexive henne 3p sg fem accusative non-reflexive den 3p sg masc/fem det 3p sg neut seg 3p accusative reflexive_only oss 1p pl accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive dere 2p pl reflexive_or_non-reflexive dem 3p pl accusative non-reflexive
Of these only the following can be used as reflexives:
meg 1p sg accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive deg 2p sg accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive seg 3p accusative reflexive_only oss 1p pl accusative reflexive_or_non-reflexive dere 2p pl reflexive_or_non-reflexive
Seg here covers both singular and plural of third person, and it is the only pronoun which can only be used reflexively.
All of the forms can be followed by selv (the rules for when they must, or cannot, will be explained elsewhere).
There are some verbs which necessarily take a reflexive object - skamme ('be ashamed') is one:
Thus, the following is ungrammatical:
*jeg skammer Ola
The reflexive has to agree in person and number with the antecedent. Thus, the following are all ungrammatical:
*jeg skammer seg *du skammer seg *vi skammer seg *dere skammer seg
What shows that the forms meg, deg, oss, dere can be used as reflexives is that they can occur in sentences like those above when they have an antecedent to agree with:
jeg skammer meg du skammer deg vi skammer oss dere skammer dere
Reflexives as possessive pronouns
Reflexives also have a possessive form. Below is rendered 'patterns 2 and 3' of possessive pronouns from Possessive constructions in Norwegian; all of these can be used reflexively:
Pattern 2 is constituted by
min ('my'), when the possessor is first person singular, and the antecedent is first person singular din ('your') when the possessor is second person singular, and the antecedent is second person singular, sin ('his', 'her', 'their') when the possessor is third person, and the antecedent is third person,
and these forms inflect as follows reflecting the noun for the item possessed:
when the noun for the item possessed is a masculine singular noun: min, din, sin when the noun for the item possessed is a feminine singular noun: mi, di, si when the noun for the item possessed is a neuter singular noun: mitt, ditt, sitt when the noun for the item possessed is a plural noun, any gender: mine, dine, sine
Pattern 3 has one item, vår ('our'), for first person plural, and with the antecedent thus being first person plural, with the pattern: .
when the noun for the item possessed is a masculine singular noun: vår when the noun for the item possessed is a feminine singular noun: vår when the noun for the item possessed is a neuter singular noun: vårt when the noun for the item possessed is a plural noun, any gender: våre
From Pattern 1, the only item which can be used as a reflexive is
deres (your', plural), when the possessor, and antecedent, is second person (the ones talked to)
As with non-possessives, there are certain verbs or constructions which can only occur with a reflexive, for instance:
Illformed is thus:
*jeg tok Olas død
As with the non-possessives from 1st and 2nd person, the following illustrates that all of the forms mentioned above can be used as reflexives:
jeg tok min død du tok din død vi tok vår død dere tok deres død
That they must agree with an antecedent, when used in a reflexive construction, is illustrated here:
*han tok min død *han tok din død
Moreover, parallell to the non-possessive case is that the third person forms - sin, sitt, sine - can only be used reflexively, while the others can be used without antecedent.
*sin død var et sjokk ('REFL's death was a chock') din død var et sjokk ('your death was a chock')
(In this respect, thus, note that sin is NOT A COUNTERPART TO GERMAN sein!!! )