remil wrote:Hmmm... I'm sorry, but I can't follow your argumentation. Maybe you can explain it to me again with the following 2 examples:
"On čeka svoje prijatelje i prijateljice."
"Njegov prijatelj Josip ima trideset godina."
Ok, I'll try to explain.
svoj/svoja/svoje is a reflexive possessive pronoun for every person (not just the 3rd one). It can basically mean "my, your, his, her, our, their". It is used only when the possessor is referred in the same clause and has a grammatical relation with the possessees (I don't have a better word for it). For example:
On čeka svoje prijatelje = He's waiting for his friends
Ja čekam svoje prijatelje = I'm waiting for my friends
Vi čekate svoje prijatelje = You (pl.) are waiting for your friends.
In all of these sentences the person who "possesses" the friends (on, ja, vi) is shown as a part of the clause and has a grammatical relation with the friends (and that relation is expressed through the predicate - the verb "to wait"), that's why you must use "svoj".
It doesn't need to be a pronoun. You can put "Petar čeka svoje prijatelje". Or even just "Čeka svoje prijatelje." (since in Serbo-Croatian personal pronouns aren't always obligatory) The possessor just needs to be sematically present.
Now you may be wondering why you can't say "Ja čekam moje prijatelje", "Ti čekaš tvoje prijatelje", "On čeka njegove prijatelje". In the first and second person, you can, but prescriptivists will say that it's incorrect or stylistically wrong, or whatever, even though you'll hear a bunch of people using it.
But in the third case, it's different, because it's ambigious. "On čeka svoje prijatelje" and "On čeka njegove prijatelje" are both completely correct sentences but they have a completelly different meaning. In English they would both mean "He's waiting for his friends", but in the second sentance he and his aren't the same person. I'll introduce names so it would be easier to understand
On čeka svoje prijatelje = Peter is waiting for Peter's friends
On čeka njegove prijatelje = Peter is waiting for John's friends. Peter is in the clause, but he's not the possesor, John is the possessor but he's not there.
In "Njegov prijatelj Josip ima trideset godina" the possessor isn't even mentioned, he has no grammatical connection to Josip, so you have to use "njegov".
Ouch! That was complicated
If anything (else) is unclear, just ask.