How well do you know about the English pronouns myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves? These are what we call reflexive pronouns.
Join me as we take a look at Twi reflexive pronouns in our sixth lesson in the Twi pronoun series.
What is a reflexive pronoun?
A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that is used when both the subject and object of a sentence refers to the same entity. In other words, when a reflexive pronoun is used, it shows that the person, animal, or thing that is performing the action of the verb is also the recipient of the action. Consider the examples below; the reflexive pronouns have been italicized and underlined.
1. Medɔ me ho.
I love myself.
2. Wogye wo ho di.
You believe in yourself.
3. Ɔsiesiee ne ho.
He/she dressed himself/herself.
How do we form reflexive pronouns in Twi?
Just like we did with the formation of possessive pronouns in our previous lesson, we form Twi reflexive pronouns by adding a single word to the possessive adjectives we have in Twi. That single word is ho (self) as you may have noticed from the examples above. Again, for the purpose of this lesson, let’s list the Twi possessive adjectives here: me (my), wo (your), ne (his/her), ne (its), yɛn (our), mo (your, pl.) and wɔn (their).
Now, let’s do a little breakdown.
- me (my) + ho (self) = me ho (myself).
- wo (your) + ho (self) = wo ho (yourself)
- ne (him/her) + ho (self) = ne ho (him/herself).
I hope you get the idea. Now, let’s list the Twi reflexive pronouns there are.
List of reflexive pronouns in Twi
|me ho||myself (1st person singular)|
|wo ho||yourself (2nd person singular)|
|ne ho||him/herself (3rd person singular)|
|ne ho||itself (3rd person neutral)|
|yɛn ho||ourselves (1st person plural)|
|mo ho||yourselves (2nd person plural)|
|wɔn ho||themselves (3rd person plural)|
So, just like the possessive pronouns, Twi reflexive pronouns are represented by two words each.
More usage examples
4. Meresere me ho.
I am laughing at myself.
5. Woretwa wo ho ntorɔ.
You are lying to yourself.
6. Kofi redwene ne ho.
Kofi is thinking about himself.
7. Abaayewa no reyɛ ne ho fi.
The girl is dirtying herself.
8. Yɛnnodɔ yɛn ho.
Let’s love ourselves.
9. Moha mo ho dodo
You worry yourselves too much.
10. Wɔbu wɔn ho.
They respect themselves.
Twi reflexive pronouns as direct objects
Just as all the examples above (1 – 10) show, a reflexive pronoun in Twi may act as the direct object in a sentence. This is the case when the object – represented by a reflexive pronoun in this case – is directly affected by the action of the verb.
So, from example 4, if we ask:
Meresere hwan? (whom I’m I laughing at?), the answer me ho (myself) is the entity that is directly affected by the action of the verb and thus the direct object.
Twi reflexive pronouns as indirect objects
A reflexive pronoun in Twi may also act as the indirect object in a sentence. This happens when the object reflexive pronoun is the recipient of the direct object. Let’s look at the example below.
11. Akosua bɔ mpaeɛ ma ne ho da biara.
Akosua prays for herself every day.
Now, if we ask:
Hwan na Akosua bɔ mpaeɛ ma no da biara? (For whom does Akosua pray every day?), the answer ne ho (herself) is the recipient of the direct object mpaeɛ (prayer) hence the indirect object.
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