On the basis of a cross-linguistic study of more than 250 languages, this book brings to light several fascinating characteristics of pronouns. Dr Bhat argues that these words do not form a single category, but rather two different categories called 'personal pronouns' and 'proforms'. He points out several differences between the two, such as the occurrence of a dual structure among proforms but not among personal pronouns. These differences are shown to derive from the distinct functions that the two categories have to perform in language. The book also shows that the so-called interrogative pronouns of familiar languages are less concerned with interrogation than with indefiniteness. The author shows that the notion of indefiniteness that can be associated with these and other pronouns is quite different from the one that can be associated with noun phrases. He goes on to postulate certain typological distinctions such as 'two-person' and 'three-person' languages and 'free-pronoun' and 'bound-pronoun' languages.
BiographyD.N.S. Bhat retired in 1995 as Research Scientist, University Grants Commission, at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. He has been Professor of Linguistics in Manipur University, Imphal and International School of Dravidian Linguistics, Tiruvananthapuram, and Reader in Tibeto-Burman linguistics in Deccan College, Pune. He was also a British Council Fellow and a Research Associate in the Language Universals Project of Stanford University. He has written several books both in English and Kannada, which include The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood (1999), The Adjectival Category (1994), Grammatical Relations (1991), Referents of Noun Phrases (1979), and The Syntax and Semantics of Kannada Sentences (in Kannada, 1978).