You are watching: Himself or his self
If you wanted to describe "his" sock, you would say "his sock," not "him sock." Similarly, you would say "their socks," not "them socks."
Why do you not speak to "his" self hisself and also "their" selves together theirselves?
There appear to it is in a pair of contending theories because that why this happened.
The very first is basically phonetic: the develops where a "genitive" is supplied are the ones wherein genitive and oblique develops differ in a single vowel ("thou" vs "thy", "me" vs "my" etc, compared to "him" vs "his" where there"s also a consonant change). Together I understand, the main difficulty with this concept is that if it was true, you can expect to check out a duration of variation between "genitive" vs "oblique" forms across the board, including e.g. "himself" vs "hisself". There"s a small lot of proof for this (e.g. Different manuscripts the the exact same text where creates such together "himself"~"hisself" alternative in what is otherwise the exact same sentence). However maybe not as much proof as you"d expect.
The alternative theory is syntactic and a little more complicated but basically has to do with a statistical break-up that already existed in Old urbanbreathnyc.com. In Old urbanbreathnyc.com, "self" was essentially an adjective that offered as one intensifier, a little bit like "own", "very", "per se" in urbanbreathnyc.com today. Old urbanbreathnyc.com didn"t have "reflexives" together such: "I experienced me" to be the means to speak "I witnessed myelf" (as that is in German, French etc today); "I witnessed me self", would be a specifically emphatic version, a little bit like speak "I observed my very self" in contemporary urbanbreathnyc.com. Now, the exciting thing to keep in mind at this stage is the (a) together an adjective, "self" was case-marked as usual, and was that the same case as words it accompanied; (b) together an adjective, "self" to be readily used with any type of noun and also so to be probably more common in the 3rd person at the stage. Or put another way, in Old urbanbreathnyc.com, saying "thou self" to be a little like speak something like "you your really self" today: it to be an emphatic phrase that would occasionally be inserted, however wasn"t so typical compared to in the 3rd person.
As Old urbanbreathnyc.com progressively lost its instance system, there to be then a grammar "re-shifting" or re-interpretation that took place. One important change was that "self" gradually readjusted from an adjective into a noun, most likely driven by the ns of case endings (a word provided as a general intensifier in lots of areas is arguably much more recognisable together an adjective if the has situation endings).
As the occurred, the 3rd person instances of "him self" and so on where climate more clearly marked together "objects" due to the fact that they additionally frequently developed in parallel to other instances of "self" still together an intensifier alongside other nouns/noun unit volume (i.e. Civilization still said "I witnessed him self", but additionally "I saw the butcher self", for this reason they had it "more in their minds" that "self" in these 3rd person cases was offered alongside one "object"). So there wasn"t so much catalyst to evolve "him self" > "his self" (though there space a few instances of evidence for "himself" ~ "hisself" existing as choices in center urbanbreathnyc.com).
See more: Wot Vk 45.02 (P) Ausf. A
In the various other persons, on the various other hand, a phrase like "I/me self" had tendency to be provided in a sentence together an emphatic "incise" or interpolated phrase rather 보다 the subject/object every se-- a little bit like saying nowadays "I myself, I think that...". For this reason in this cases, v "self" as a noun, there was more of an incentive for "I/me self" come evolve come "my self" to help allow the noun "self" come "have somewhere to walk to" grammatically: "my self" currently becomes a much more cohesive unit. It"s precious noting the the 3rd person creates "himself" etc fused together previously than "my self" etc, which ongoing to be written as 2 words for some time.
Further analysis (on i m sorry the above draws):Van Gelderen (2000), "A background of urbanbreathnyc.com reflexive Pronouns: Person, Self, and Interpretability."Danijela (2003), testimonial of the over book in The Canadian journal of grammars (which helps to summarise some of the main arguments)Sinar, B., (2006), "A background of urbanbreathnyc.com Reexives: indigenous Old urbanbreathnyc.com into Early modern urbanbreathnyc.com" (a phd thesis the doesn"t focus solely on this issue, yet mentions it in passing v some instances of some of the forms/phenomena I"ve mentioned above)