Krishna Prasad Parajuli

Central Department of Linguistics, Kirtipur Kathmandu

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Pronouns in the Santhali Language


In Nepal, languages of four different families are spoken. They are: Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European and Tibeto-Burman. According to the report of the Central Bureao of Statistics (CBS) 2001), there are 93 languages. 92 of them fall under the above mentioned families but the Kusunda language falls under the category unidentified. Santhali is a only Austro-Asiatic language, which is spoken by 40,260 people in Nepal (National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN) 2006). By Caste and Ethnic groups, their population is about 42698. Out of 75 districts, Santhali people live in 48 districts in Nepal.

According to (Gordon: 2005) the Santhali language is also known as Satar, Sonthal Sangtal Sainti, Santal, Hor,  Har, or Sandal. In this abstract and the paper (to be prepared in detail), we will be using as the Santhali language or Santhali.

In the Santhali language, there are five types of pronouns (preliminary study). They are: Personal, Demonstrative, Reflexive, Interrogative, and Possessive Pronouns

This study is based on the information provided by the language consultant Mr Dilip Kumar Baske.

The first person pronouns can also be divided into first, second and third person pronouns. In the first person pronoun, it does have the singular, dual and plural. With respect to the second person, the Santhali language possesses three levels: low, mid and high. Similarly, in third person, it is marked for male and female and singular, dual and plural.

One of the interesting features from the point of view of linguistics is that it has five types of demonstrative pronouns: near, far, very far, remote and very remote (to be verified). Both possessive and reflexive pronouns have three different systems: singular dual and plural (inclusive and exclusive).



Gurung, H., Yogendra Gurung and Chhabilal Chidi (2006). Nepal Atlas of Language Groups.  Kathmandu: National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities

Gordon (2005). (ed.)  Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Dallas: USA.

Yadava, Yogendra P and Others (2008). The Documentation of the Santhali Language. A report submitted to NFDIN.