Chinese pronouns ( or ) differ somewhat from pronouns in English and other Indo-European languages. For instance, there is no differentiation in the spoken language between "he", "she" and "it" (though a written difference was introduced after contact with the West), and pronouns are not inflected to indicate whether they are the subject or object of a sentence. Mandarin Chinese further lacks a distinction between the possessive adjective ("my") and possessive pronoun ("mine"); both are formed by appending the particle ''de''. Some honorifics exist in the language, but modern Chinese, especially in the spoken language, does not express the differing levels of respect that can be seen in Honorific speech in Japanese or Korean honorifics.
== Personal pronouns ==
:†Used to indicate 'you and I' (two people) only; in all other cases ''wǒmen'' is used. This form has fallen into disuse outside Beijing, and may be a Manchu influence.〔Matthews, 2010. "Language Contact and Chinese". In Hickey, ed., ''The Handbook of Language Contact'', p 760.〕
:‡In written Chinese, a distinction between masculine human (he, him), feminine human (she, her), and non-human (it) (similarly in the plural ) was introduced in the early 20th century under European influence.〔Attempts to introduce audibly different forms for she (''yī'') and it (''tuō'') in the first half of the 20th century were unsuccessful (Kane, p. 107).〕 This distinction does not exist in the spoken language, where moreover ''tā'' is restricted to animate reference; inanimate entities are usually referred to with demonstrative pronouns for 'this' and 'that'.〔Sun, pp. 166-167.〕
A second-person pronoun 祢 ''mí'' is sometimes used for addressing deities.
The first-person pronouns ''ǎn'' and ''ǒu'' "I" are infrequently used in Mandarin conversation. They are of dialectal origin. However, their usage is gaining popularity among the young, most notably in online communications.
Traditional Chinese characters, as influenced by translations from Western languages and the Bible in the nineteenth century, occasionally distinguished gender in pronouns, although that distinction is abandoned in simplified Characters. Those traditional characters developed after Western contact include both masculine and feminine forms of "you" ( and ), rarely used today even in writings in traditional characters; in the simplified system, is rare.
The traditional characters also included three neuter third-person pronouns after Western contact, (''tā'') for animals, for deities, and for inanimate objects. However, the distinction of these three characters vary from person to person, yet for some the confusion of three characters might be considered to be offensive. Whereas in simplified characters, is used in place of all three characters .
There are many other pronouns in modern Sinitic languages, such as Taiwanese Minnan 汝 () "you" and Written Cantonese 佢哋 (keúih deih) "they." There exist many more pronouns in Classical Chinese and in literary works, including (rǔ) or (ěr) for "you", and (wú) for "I" (see Chinese honorifics). They are not routinely encountered in colloquial speech.
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