Declension of pronouns in turkic languages

Investigation of pronouns declination in Turkic languages from the point of view of a historically-comparative approach Similarities and differences in the declination of pronouns in the genitive, dative and accusative cases, forms of declension.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Declension of pronouns in turkic languages

Markhaba Akhmetkalievna Tursunova

Ph. D. in Philology


Turkish people have had common history for several thousand years. Language is the main sign, which identifies the unity and brings together the peoples, who have the same historical background.

The best way to know the peculiarities and common features of kindred modern languages is to do the historical and comparative research of Turkic languages, because modern Turkic languages have their own way of formation and the development of consistent patterns according to developing periods in history.

It's very important to compare the differences and similarities of kindred languages and to investigate the history of the Kazakh language or other Turkic languages.

The research concerning the history of Turkic studies and the history of the development of Turkic languages in modern period is one of main issues. Anyway, it's impossible to study any modern language without studying its history. The linguistic peculiarities and similarities of Turkic languages, which show that these languages are kindred, are noticed in modern Turkic languages.

Comparing declensional endings in Turkic languages we can note the phonetic peculiarities in the versions of affixes and the differences in the quantity of declensional endings, the peculiarities in ordinary and possessive declension. One of these differences is the declination of pronouns.

The purposes and the problems of the research

In the declination of pronouns especially the peculiarities of personal pronouns are noticeable in comparison with other parts of speech, it takes place in the Kazakh and other Turkic languages and in written monuments. The following objects belong to these issues:

The forms of the words such as men, sen, ol in genitive case.

The forms of the words such as men, sen, ol in dative case.

The forms of the words such as men, sen, ol in accusative case.

The forms of the words such as men, sen, ol in elative-ablative case.

The forms of the words such as men, sen, ol in instrumental case.

The differences of demonstrative pronouns in some languages.

The results of the research

There is a view that the pronouns men, sen, ol, syz, byz, etc. in Turkic studies are divided into two components according to their history: me+n, se+n, sy+z, by+z etc. The -z in the pronouns syz, byz means the plural form, but there is no opinion about the -n in the pronouns men, sen. These opinions guide us, at first, to consider that the letter -n is an inserted sound or linking consonant, secondly, to consider the letter -n as an effective indication, thirdly, to consider the letter -n as a short form of genitive case [2, б. 12-13].

The form of the pronouns men, sen, ol in genitive, accusative, elative-ablative cases is connected with the passing of the letter -n in the Kazakh language: menin, meni, menen. If we pay attention to the declining way of the pronouns men, sen, ol in ancient monuments before investigating the forms in other Turkic languages we can notice that the pronouns were declined as benyn, menyn, beny, meny, menyten (menen), senyten (senen).

The main forms of pronouns menyn, senyn, onyn, meny, seny, ony with the endings of genitive and accusative cases in modern Turkic languages (with phonetic changes) were changed as follows: man - manym, many, san - sanyn, sany, o - onyn, ony (Azerbaijan); myn - mynem, myne, syn - synen, syne, ul - anyn, any (Tatar); men - meen, meny, sen - seen, seny, ol - oon, ony (Tuva), men - menyn, meny, sen - senyn, seny, ol - onyn, ony (Turkmen); men - menym, meny, sen - senyn', seny, ol - onyn, ony (Nogay) etc. [3].

If the forms of the declensions of pronouns in genitive and accusative cases coincide with the manuscripts of ancient time, it is possible to divide the forms of the declensions of pronouns in elative-ablative case into two groups in modern Turkic languages: keeping of the letter -n in the root of the word and using it without the letter -n. The languages as the Kazakh (menen, senen, onan), the Bashkir (minan, khinan, unan), the Altai (mene?, sene?, ono?), the Shor (menen', senen', anan') belong to the first group, and the languages as the Azerbaijan (mandan, sandan, ondan), the Turkmen (menden, senden, ondan), the Nogay (mennen, sennen, onnon), the Tatar (minnan, sinnan, annan) belong to the second group [Ibidem]. These differences in initial case appear because of different periods in history.

The forms of personal pronouns in dative case have their own peculiarities both in old and modern languages. The pronouns magan, sagan in the modern Kazakh language were as bana in ancient heritages. It is possible to divide modern Turkic languages into four groups:

The forms ma?a, sa?a (with phonetic changes): mвnв, sвnв - Azerbaijan; mana, sana - Chuvash; ma?a, sa?a - Turkmen, Uigur; mi?a, si?a - Tatar; me?ee - Tuva.

The forms maga, saga (with phonetic changes): Nogay, Kumyk, Kirghiz, Shor - maga, saga; Khakass - magkha; Altai - mege, sege.

The forms magan, sagan: Kazakh, Karakalpak - magan, sagan.

The forms menga, senga: Uzbek - menga, senga.

The most noticeable feature is that pronouns men, sen keep their initial forms in several languages, in some languages they changed their forms to ma, sa. It is connected with the history of personal pronouns, because we know about the forms ma, sa of the pronouns men, sen from the works of researchers and from the written heritages. We tackled the usage of the pronouns mana, sana, and these forms belong to the phonetic coincidence or to the exchange of the letters n-? in Turkic languages. The exchange of the letters n-? mostly exists in the Kyrgyz and the Uzbek languages, but not in the Kazakh language.

The endings in genitive case in the Kyrgyz language and the words as kalin (kali?), kaiin (kayi?), tanlash (ta?lash) in the Uzbek language belong to this group. The endings -nyn (-nin, -nun, nyn), -dyn (-din, -dun -dyn), -tyn (-tin, -tun, tyn) in the Kyrgyz language are used with the letter -?: atty? - attin, sudy? - sunun, dosi?ny? - dosu?dun etc.

The forms of dative case maga, saga, mege, sege of personal pronouns are the specific forms of dative case with the endings -ga, -ge. This form is often used in the Uzbek language: menga, senga.

This form had its own peculiarities in the Kazakh and Karakalpak languages and researchers' views are different. A. Ibatov in his book “The History of Pronouns in the Kazakh Language” gives the following definition: “...It is possible to divide them into three groups, taking into consideration different opinions: 1) The ending of dative case was gary, later changed into -gar, and then as gan. So, it is formed as -gary>- gar>-gan. 2) The last letter -n is considered as an ingredient, in fact it is ogar>oga>ogan. 3) The exchanging of the places of the letter n and gkh as onga>ogan” [2, б. 69]. A. Ibatov analyzed these opinions, and concluded: “...according to the investigated materials, the most ancient form -garu/-gary may have another variant -ganu/-gany. These variants were reduced into two directions: -garu/gary>-gar; -ganu/-gany>-gan. So, we should consider the ending -gan as one of the ancient endings of dative case gar” [Ibidem, б. 70].

If we speak about our own views, the roots ma, sa had the ending -ga, but the last letter -n was used because of oral speech. If we use it without -n as maga we hear the linking letter -n. Such phenomenon also takes place in possessive declensions. In formal declension pronouns had the endings -da, -de, and in possessive declension pronouns had the endings -nda, -nde. In this case the letter -n is also a linking letter, because in the words balasida, akeside we can hear the sound -n. That's why we say that this letter in the words magan, sagan is a linking letter, and we connect it with the possessive declension of locative case.

One of the peculiarities of declining samples in the Kazakh language is the appearance of the letters y, і in instrumental case. In “Kazakh Grammar” it was said: “The form of instrumental case consists of individual parts me-ni-men. So, the root me isa morpheme, and -ni is considered as one of the phenomena of the shortened form of the changed phonetic morpheme -nin, which had come from the word -nan, which means “thing”.

And the last form -men is the ending of instrumental case. This form came from ancient syntactic words minan/menen>man/men” [4, б. 484].

It is important to pay attention to the forms of the declensions of pronouns in other Turkic languages, because many Turkic languages do not have instrumental case. This case is presented in such Turkic languages as Kazakh, Karakalpak, Karayim, Tuva, Tofalar, Khakass, Chuvash, Yakut. And the form of this case of the Kazakh language is presented only in the Karakalpak language: menimen, senimen, onimen. Other Turkic languages, which have got instrumental case, do not have any peculiarities like the Kazakh and Karakalpak languages, because this case has another form of endings: Tuva - menche, senche (menimen, senimen); Khakass - minnen, sinnen (menimen, senimen); Chuvash - manpa, sanpa (menimen, senimen).

The letter, which appears between the root and the ending of the word or is missed between them, is one of the main peculiarities of the declensions of demonstrative pronouns. In the Kazakh language the last letter of the pronouns ol, bul, sol changed into n (bunin, sonin, onin, bugan, sogan, ogan), it is connected with the history of the language. The same way of the declensions of demonstrative pronouns have the Karakalpak (bul-bunin), the Bashkir (bil-binin) and the Kirgiz (bul-munin) languages. The letter l is used in other Turkic languages (Azerbaijan, Nogay, Kumyk, Tatar, Uzbek, Uigyr, Turk, Turkmen etc. - bu, Khakass - pu, Chuvash - ku, shor - po etc.), the words bu (bul), shu (sol), u (ol), usha (osi) in the Uzbek and Uigyr languages added the letter n in dative, locative, and elative-ablative declensions:

bu+n+ga (bunga-bugan), shu+n+ga (shunga-sogan), u+n+da (unda-onda), usha+n+dan (ushandan-osidan).


Turkic languages began to develop from the early period and it was the development concerning phonetics, lexicon and grammar of kindred languages, and every language had the stages of development. It is one of the peculiarities of the periods of the development of Turkic languages. It is important to investigate ancient heritages and the history of languages using the method of comparison. It is the best way to know the peculiarities, differences and similarities of modern Turkic languages.

The peculiarities in the declension of pronouns in the Kazakh language differ from other parts of speech, and these differences were present in the old written language and in Turkic languages. The historical-comparative research shows the reasons of the existence of differences in the development of languages.


Айдаров ?., ??рышжанов ?., Томанов М. К?не т?ркі жазба ескерткіштеріні? тілі. Алматы: Мектеп, 1971. 272 б.

Ибатов ?. ?аза? тіліндегі есімдіктерді? тарихынан. Алматы: ?ылым, 1966. 71 б.

Исследования по сравнительной грамматике тюркских языков. М.: Изд. АН СССР, 1956. Ч. II. Морфология. 334 с.

?аза? грамматикасы. Фонетика, с?зжасам, морфология, синтаксис. Астана, 2002. 784 б.

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