Possessive pronouns are the words we use to describe that something belongs to someone or something. Thus in English one might say
:Hey! That’s my book! Go buy your own!
:We walked to her car and quickly got in.
:Their baby was playing with his toys and drooled all over them.
In Icelandic, we may make a distinction between my/your and the other possessive pronouns. The words minn (my) and þinn (your) conjugate like other words we have learned.
:Ég keypti bók handa bróður mínum I bought a book for my brother.
Here, both bróðir and minn are in dative, because they follow the preposition handa.
:Við fórum kringum húsið þítt We went around your house.
Here, both hús and þinn are in accusitive, because they follow the preposition kringum.
Other possessive pronouns, like hennar (her), ykkar (your) and þess (its), do not change according to the case. In other words, you always use the same form:
:Ég keypti bók handa bróður hennar I bought a book for her brother.
Here, bróðir is still in dative (because of the handa), but hennar remains the same (in genitive, because it expresses possession).
:Við fórum kringum húsið okkar We went to our house.
Again, hús is in accusitive (because of the kringum) but okkar is still in genitive, because it expresses possession.
This difference may seem very unintuitive at first. It might help to realize that minn and þinn have an entire declension table:
|Eintala Singular||Fleirtala Plural|
|Karlkyn Masc||Kvenkyn Fem||Hvorugkyn Neut||Karlkyn Masc||Kvenkyn Fem||Hvorugkyn Neut|
The other possessive pronouns, however, are just the genitive case of their respective pronouns:
Sitt and Sín
There is a last personal pronoun that only occurs in particular cases. Sometimes a verb carries with it the implication that the person who is ‘doing’ does that thing to themselves, as in
:I couldn’t bring myself to go to the lecture on Monday morning.
:Are you enjoying yourselves in the hot springs?
Icelandic has verbs that work just the same way:
:Hann rakar sig áður en að hann fer í leikhús. He shaves himself before going to the theatre
:Barnið skemmtir sitt mjög mikið í sundlauginu! The child enjoyed itself much in the pool!
For such verbs, the personal pronouns sinn(m) sín(f) and sitt(n) are used. These are, like everything else, also declensed for case and number:
Hence notice the difference between
:Sigurður notar fartölvuna sína Sigurður is using his own laptop
:Sigurður notar fartölvuna hans Sigurður is using his (i.e. someone else’s) laptop
:Katrín þvær dóttur sína Katrín washes her own daughter
:Katrín þvær dóttur hennar Katrín washes her (i.e. someone else’s) daughter
Parts of speech: Nouns • Pronouns • Adjectives • Verbs • Adverbs • Prepositions • Conjuctions • Interjections