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In some languages, an inflected preposition, or conjugated preposition, is a word formed from the contraction of a preposition with a personal pronoun. For instance, in Scottish Gaelic, to say "before him," one can not say *ro e, but roimhe (/rɔʲə/), which historically developed from a fusion of pronoun and preposition. Conjugated prepositions are commonly reanalysed as inflected words by native speakers and by traditional grammar.
Languages that do not have full paradigms of inflected prepositions may allow contraction of prepositions and pronouns to a more limited extent. In Polish, for instance, a handful of common prepositions allow amalgamated forms (in formal registers) with 3rd person pronouns: na niego ("on him/it") → nań. However, these contracted forms are very archaic and rarely heard in daily speech.
The term prepositional pronoun is also used sometimes for inflected preposition, but this may cause confusion with another sense of this expression. (See prepositional pronoun.)
In Portuguese inflected prepositions can be found in the forms comigo (with me), contigo (with you, singular), consigo (with him/her/itself), conosco/connosco (with us), and convosco (with you, plural).
Opaque fusional forms and historical change
Historical processes may mean that a conjugated preposition is difficult to relate to the associated preposition or pronoun in the later language. Another Scottish Gaelic example: "before you" is romhat (/roət/) with the associated preposition and pronoun being ro (/rɔ/) and thu (/u/) respectively, a relationship which is not too obscure. However, "with him" and "with her" are leis /leʃ/ and leatha /le-ə/ with le /lε/ being the standalone preposition "with" and e /ε/ and i /i/ being the relevant pronouns in their standalone forms.
- ^ Glinert, Lewis. Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar (2nd edition ed.). Routledge UK. pp. 41–44. ISBN 0-415-10190-5.
- ^ Swan, Oscar E. (2002). A Grammar of Contemporary Polish. Bloomington, IN: Slavica. ISBN 0-89357-296-9.
- ^ Bariş Kabak and René Schiering (2006). "The Phonology and Morphology of Function Word Contractions in German.". Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 9. doi:10.1007/s10828-005-4533-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10828-005-4533-8.
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