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Language: Linguistics · Semiotics · Speech

Pronoun reversal is a language abnormality common in the speech of autistic children. Children refer to themselves as "he", "she", or "you", or by their own proper names. Pronoun reversal is closely linked to echolalia. Since autistic children often use echolalic speech, they refer to themselves as they have heard others speak of them and misapply pronouns.

For example:

Parent: What are you doing, Johnny?
Child: He's here.
Parent: Are you having a good time?
Child: He sure is.

If speech continues to develop more normally, this pronoun reversal might be expected to disappear. In many instances, however, it is highly resistant to change. Some children have required very extensive training even after they have stopped parroting the phrases of other people.


  1. Tramontana & Stimbert, 1970
  2. Davison, Neale & Kring, 2004
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