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- Why “themselves” and “himself” 3 answers
On the matter of "self" in "myself", "himself", etc.
Myself seems to be formed from the possessive (my)and "self". That appears at first blush to be a single word that is formed from the "self that belongs to me".
Himself seems to be formed from the objective (him) and "self". That appears to be a single word from the plain "him" and an extra word that indicates a kind of reflexive. Italian and Spanish use that form by using the word for "same" (stesso, mismo).
Herself is the same as himself, but you can't tell, since the masculine object and possessive pronouns are different (him, his) but feminine are the same (her).
But, in the case of the second person, we use the possessive again -- yourself. (The self that belongs to you.)
Now, the hobgoblin of this particular small mind would like to get the history of how this happened. You see, in MY acquired language, to say "He did it by hisself is dialect and WRONG", yet it seems perfectly reasonable to regularize the whole scheme into something coherent. I have read "meself", but only when regional dialect is in play. It sounds wrong to me, but it would regularize the scheme.
I'd like to get a handle on this, because we have the neuter "they" coming up, when he/she is inappropriate. In my fantasy grammar, I'd say
In the convent: Let everyone do as she wants. In the monastery: Let everyone do as he wants. In the public place of indeterminate gender: Let everyone do as they wants.
(Get it? Third person singular. "They" works fine, since the conjugation defines the singular/plural issue.)
I like my little scheme for the neuter "they", but if I start mixing that with "self", it's going to get sorely non-standard, but at least it's unambiguous.
I LOVE clarity, and will be willing to sacrifice some conventions to make it happen, but it will be weird. If I have to mix in a "self" to that, my speech will become incomprehensible, so I tread slowly.
Any thoughts on the matter?