Pronouns in Fulfulde follow a set of general rules, and personal pronouns are generally used in the same way as English or French. Fulfulde includes an additional personal pronoun, the exclusive we, to communicate the idea of “us but not you.” Fulfulde has both long and short personal pronouns.
Long personal pronouns
Long personal pronouns are used in the simple present in positive sentence constructions, to indicate where something is located, with progressive verbs (indicating an action which is being accomplished) and with stative (“state of being”) verbs.
|First person||miɗo (I)||miɗen (we, exclusive)|
|eɗen (we, inclusive)|
|Second person||aɗa (you)||oɗon (you all)|
|Third person||omo (she/he/it)||eɓe (they)|
Simple present: Miɗen njoddi Madison (We [excl.] live in Madison)
Location: Miɗo ɗoo tan (I have been around/here)
Progressive: Aɗa nana Fulfulde (You speak Fulfulde)
Stative: Omo anndi (He knows)
Short personal pronouns
Short personal pronouns are used (as subjects) whenever long pronouns are not (see list above), so these pronouns are far more common to hear.
|First person||mi (I)||min (we, exclusive)|
|en (we, inclusive)|
|Second person||a (you)||on (you all)|
|Third person||mo (she/he/it)||ɓe (they)|
Present, negative: Min njoddataa Ithaca (We [excl.] do not live in Ithaca)
Past perfect: Mo ɲaamii ɲebbe (He ate beans)
With “to have” (won): Mi won bandiraado (I have a sister)
Possessive pronouns are often heard in greetings and introductions, so they are important to learn early. They mirror possessive suffixes used for relationships (see below). Where two pronouns are listed in the same box, it is generally a choice of regional dialect, however, both mum/maako and mumen/maɓɓe are grammatical choices. Unfortunately there is not a clear rule for when to use which one; maako and maɓɓe tend to be more common. These are only used for people (more on objects below).
|First person||am (my)||amin, min (ours, exclu.)|
|meeɗen, men (ours, incl.)|
|Second person||maam maaɗa (your)||mon, mooɗon (yours)|
|Third person||mum, muŋ, makko (his/hers/its)||mumen, muŋen, maɓɓe (theirs)|
Kori jam waalii e maa? (Did you spend your night in peace?)
Mo yahdi e Aali to galle mum (He went with Aali to his home)
Bolo woni innde am (Bolo is my name)
These suffixes are used only with a limited set of nouns, such as nouns referring to close family members.
|First person||-am (mine)||-amin (ours, exclu.)|
|-en (ours, incl.)|
|Second person||-ma (yours)||-on (yours)|
|Third person||-iiko/aako, -um (his/hers/its)||-iiɓe, -umen (theirs)|
Minyam debbo – My sister
Bandama gorko – Your brother
Possessive Objects (Non-Human)
When we need to indicate “possession” of something by an object, we change the endings of the third person pronouns (o, ɓe) to match the class marker of the thing doing the possession (so we are left with the stem ma-). Please refer to the class markers page to see a list of all the possessive pronouns with their class markers. This possessive construction is also frequently used to specify or clarify which object you are referring to (as in the second example below).
Damugal mayru – House’s door (Note that house is implied through the use of the “ru” suffix, indicating an ndu class marker, which would be referring to “house” and understood in context)
Mi ŋabbi dow majje – I climb up them (them = rocks, understood from the class marker, -je, used with “maj”)
Emphatic pronouns are used in sentences for emphasis of either the subject or the object. They can repeat or replace either the subject or object (but when it replaces the object of the sentence, it changes the structure, more on this in the previous section on possessives). They are considered “independent” pronouns, and can be used as complete sentences as well.
|First person||miin||minen (exclu.)|
|Hono wari keeɲen? – Kaŋko.||Who came yesterday? – He did.|
|Kamɓe, mi yiyaali ɓe.||As for them, I did not see them.|
|Dewterre nde, homo jeyi? – Miin jeyi.||This book, whose is it? – It is mine.|
As can be seen in the third example, emphatic pronouns can also be used to indicate the possessive (jeyi indicates belonging, a bit like ‘s in English, but exclusively for people). When combined to emphasize non-human objects or concepts, we change the endings of the third person emphatic pronouns (o, ɓe) to match the class marker of the thing we are emphasizing (leaving us with the stem ka-). Please refer to the class markers page to see a list of all the emphatic pronouns with their class markers.
Examples of emphatic possessive pronouns
Please note the examples below assume conversational context. In the first sentence, it is assumed that someone in the conversation has asked about the meat, and that a dog is nearby or present. I have left the context sentences out for clarity/simplicity to see the grammatical construction in the examples. These examples also utilize the possessive object construction seen above.
|Kayru jeyi oo tew.||That meat belongs to the dog.|
|Wulaare ana ley majji kanji jaati.||These months are hot (lit.: The heat is in these months, precisely these).|
|Kayru jeyi koy ɓikoy||That chimpanzee’s child|