Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

Get access

(2,504 words)

In a sentence such as John sees himself, the subject and the object of the verb are one and the same person, namely John. Crucially, languages generally do not allow such a meaning to be expressed with something like John sees John, or John sees him. Most, if not all, languages require a special pronominal form for the object. This form is generally called a ‘reflexive’. In other words, a reflexive is a pronominal form that indicates that two arguments of a verb have the same referent. The syntactic expression with which the reflexive is coreferential is called the antecedent of the reflexive.


Cite this page
Joost Kremers, “Reflexives”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 25 March 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_COM_0284>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

▲   Back to top   ▲