An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Chapter VIII



The Pronouns are divided into Personal, Possessive, Relative, Indefinite and Interrogative. What are generally termed “Demonstrative Pronouns” will be found under the Adjective Chapter VI.


The personal pronouns are as follows, their forms differing according to the context.


K, Ku, Kuani, Kani, Anokai and Chokai, “I.”

(a.) K, is particularly used with verbs commencing with a vowel as:—

Kek, “I come.” Koira, “I forget.”

(b.) Ku, is probably the original word whence K is contracted. It is better to use Ku than K, for the contraction K is not always understood whereas Ku is known all over Yezo.

(c.) Kuani may be derived thus; Ku. “I;” an, “to be;” i a substantivising particle. Kuani and ku are sometimes used together in a sentence; as for instance:—

Kuani ku nukara,
Moi je vois,
“I see.”

(d.) Kani is a simple contraction of ku-ani, and is now considered by some to be a somewhat impolite mode of speech.

(e.) Anokai may be derived from an “to be,” and okai, a plural form of an. It is supposed to be only used by superiors to inferiors when speaking of oneself.

(f.) Chokai is sometimes heard for “I”; it is a contraction of chi which means “we,” and okai, which signifies “to be” or “to be at a place.” Chokai is principally used by low class Japanese when attempting to speak Ainu, and by Ainu only when addressing Japanese or persons but imperfectly acquainted with the Ainu language. It has come to be pigeon Ainu.


The pronouns of the second person singular are:—

E, eani, yani, aokai and anokai.

(a.) E appears to be the original word from which eani has been formed; thus:—

E-an-i, as shown in Ku-an-i above.

(b.) Yani is now a very contemptuous expression, and is a corruption of eani. It is in fact pigeon Ainu, and equals chokai of the 1st. person.

(c.) Aokai, which is a contraction of anokai, is, like anokai, a more polite form of speech than eani, but neither are so often used. Aokai and anokai were originally plurals, and are still so used in certain contexts.

Sometimes the words ku shiroma and e shiroma are heard for the first and second person singular respectively, but not often. Shiroma is a verb meaning “to abide,” “to stay.” Thus ku shiroma really means “I who am here;” and e shiroma “you who are there.”


There is no proper third personal pronoun. Its place is supplied by the word Shiroma, Shinuma, and the demonstrative adjectives.

Tan guru, “this person” (man or woman).
Tambe; “this thing.”
Nei ambe or guru, “that thing or person” (a little way off.)
To ambe or guru, “that thing or person” (a greater distance off).

Tap, “this thing” (whether far off or near).
Ne a ikiyap, “that thing or fellow” (a word of contempt).

Shiroma, he, she, it.

Shinuma, he, she, it.

Sometimes, however, the particle a, contracted from anun, “another person,” or “the person” is used as an honourable way of speaking of one’s own master or a superior; thus:—

A e hotuyekara, “he is calling you.”

Anun, pronounced in full, is sometimes used by a servant when addressing his master. In such cases anun means “you;” thus:—

Hunna? “who?” Anun, “the other person,” i.e. “you.”

The above forms are used only at the beginning of sentences, and are never immediately prefixed to verbs. Before verbs, “we” is expressed by chi, and “ye” by echi; and after verbs “we” is ash.

The following are examples.

Chi utara anak ne Ainu chi ne, “we are Ainu.”
Echi utara anak ne Ainu echi ne, “ye are Ainu.”
Chi kara, “we make.”
Kara ash, “we make.”

The plurals of the third person pronouns are as follows:—

Tan utara or tan okai utara, “these persons.”
Nei utara or nei okai utara, “they” (persons a little way off).
To an utara or to okai utara, “they,” (persons farther off).
Tan okai be, “these things,” “these.”
Nei okai be, “those things,” “they” (a short distance off).
To an okai be
To okai be
“those things,” “they” (a greater distance off).
Shiroma utara, “they” or “those.”

[N.B.] Care should be taken not to use pe or b when persons are intended; for pe or b can only be correctly applied to the lower orders of creation.

Thus the pronouns are:—

“He,” “she,” “it.”
Chi, before a verb.
Ash, after a verb.
Chi utara,
Chi okai utara,
Chi shinuma,
Echi utara,
Echi okai utara,
Nei, utara,
Nei okai utara,
Nei shiroma utara,
Shinuma utara,

The reflexive pronoun yaikota, “self,” is used as follows:—

Kuani yaikota or kuani kuyaikota; “I myself.”
Eani yaikota or eani eyaikota; “you yourself.”
Nei guru yaikota; “he himself” or “she herself.”

Before verbs a kind of double reflexive is sometimes used; thus:—

Yaikota yai-raige; “he killed himself.”


The various forms of the first and second persons mentioned above in Sect. I, may be termed nominatives. The following examples will illustrate this:—

Kuani tanebo ku ek ruwe ne, I have just come (i.e. come for the first time.)
Eani e arapa ya? “have you been?”
Eani nepka e ye ya? “did you say something?
Ku oman, “I am going.”

The following is an example of the longer form of a pronoun used without the corresponding short one, e.g.:—

Eani nekon a ramu ya? “what do you think?”

The first person, moreover, has forms corresponding to the English objective case. They are:—

En, “me.”
E, “you.”
Un, “us.”
I, “us.”
Echi, “ye.” e.g.:—

Nei guru en kik, “he struck me.”
Kamui un kara, “God made us.”
I omap, “he loves us.”

In the second person the objective case is rendered by e for the singular, and echi for the plural; never by the longer forms given in Section I; e.g.:—

Seta e kuba, “the dog will bite you.”
Kuani echi uitek ash, “I will employ you” (plural).

The action of the first person upon the second is indicated by placing the objective of the person before the verb, and the word ash after it; thus:—

Kuani echi kik ash, “I will beat you” (plural).
Kuani e omap ash, “I love you” (singular).

When construed with passive verbs, the second person takes the substantive verb an after the verb; e.g.:—

E omap an, “you are loved.”
Echi kara an, “ye are made.”

The third person has as a rule no special forms for the objective case; but a the passive particle is sometimes used as an objective of the 3rd person, thus:—

Tan utara or shinnma utara a-kik nangoro, “they will probably be struck.”
Nei ainu a-ronnu wa isam, “those men have been killed.”
Set akara? “shall I prepare the table”?

Postpositions sometimes take the objective case of pronouns, and sometimes the full form; e.g.:—

En orowa oman, “he went from me.
Un osh ek, “come behind us.”
Eani orowa no arapa guru, “ the person who went after you.”

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