Nuer Field Project

Nouns Verbs Verb Book Expressions Pedagogical Grammar of Nuer Translation of Genesis in Nuer Others

Lessons 19

This lesson explains the Possessive adjective endings for singular nouns.

Someone says to you in questioning where something of yours is:

1st Person: Kä̲mni̲ ɤä̲ bi̲i̲ydu̲.
Give me your cloth.
2nd Person: Kä̲ du̲ŋdu̲ a ni̲?
But your is where?
1st Person: Kua̲cä̲ gua̲a̲thdɛ.
I am ignorante of its place. i.e. where it is.
2nd Person: Kä̲ ɤä̲n göörä̲ du̲ŋdu̲. Wër, thie̲c nɛy tɔtɔ, dɔ̲ɔ̲ bikɛ. Ji̲ ka̲m du̲ŋdiɛn.
And I want yours. Go, ask those people, maybe they will give theirs to you.

So he goes and asks the people and he says:

1st Person: Ɣä̲n göörä̲ bi̲i̲ydu̲.
I want your cloth.
2nd Person: Jï̲n go̲o̲ri̲ bi̲i̲yda? Kä̲ bi̲ jï̲n ɛ luɔ̲c jɔk i̲ nɛy?
You want our cloth? But you will return it back when?
1st Person: Bi̲ ɤä̲n ɛ luɔ̲c jɔk i̲ru̲u̲n.
I will return it back tomorrow.
2nd Person: Ɣɔ̲ɔ̲, ɛ jɛn, gɔaaɛ. Kä̲ni̲ jɛ, ɛn bi̲i̲y.
Oh, it is so, it is good. Take it, the cloth.



  1. This sound is spoken back and deep in the throat.
  2. Go back over the lesson dialogues and have the informant read them while you listen to pronunciation and intonation. If the informant cannot read, read them to him and have him repeat each sentence after you.


  1. There is a set of Possessive Adjective endings for singular nouns and a set for plural nouns. There is no possessive pronoun as such, but the word [du̲ŋ] when given the possessive endings becomes a possessive pronoun in meaning. Grammatically, however, it is a noun.


Singular Nouns
mine du̲ŋdä̲ du̲ŋdan ours (in)
yours du̲ŋdu̲ du̲ŋda ours (ex)
du̲ŋdɛ du̲ŋdu̲n yours
du̲ŋdiɛn theirs

my child gatdä̲ gatdan our child (in)
your child gatdu̲ gatda our child (ex)
her child
gatdɛ gatdu̲n your child
gatdiɛn their child


  1. Singular nouns with a final -l or -r consonant retain these consonants and the -d is dropped.
    e.g. kuä̲ä̲̲rä̲ -- my chief, dɛlä̲-- my sheep
  2. Some nouns with a final -ŋ consonant lengthen the medial vowel, exchange the -ŋ for a final -n and add the usual endings.
    e.g. yaandä̲-- my cow, from yaŋ -- cow
  3. Nouns with a final -c consonant drop the -c.
    e.g. lɔdä̲ -- my heart, from, lɔc -- heart
  4. Certain other irregularities will be found.
    e.g. nyaadä̲ -- my daughter, from, nyal -- girl
Nuer Field Project Nouns Verbs Verb Book Expressions Grammar Genesis Others