Nuer Field Project

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

Lesson 28

This lesson is to explain the reflexive and intensive pronouns. In this conversation you are endeavoring to make certain who is going to Malakal and that he is going by himself.

You: Malakal, jï̲n kä̲ rɔaadu̲?
You yourself will go to Malakal. You by yourself?
Answer: Ɛ ŋa, Ɣä̲n?
Who, I?
You: Ɣɔ̲ɔ̲n, jï̲n.
Yes, you.
Answer: Ɣɔ̲ɔ̲n, ɛ jɛn, ɤä̲n puɔ̲nydä̲ bä̲ wä̲ pa̲ny. Bi̲ wä̲ ni̲ ɤä̲n kä̲ rɔa.
Yes, it is so, I myself wil go really. I will go by myself.

Somebody sees a goofa full of limes and wants some, so he says:

Child: Göörä̲ le̲ymu̲mi̲. Moc ɤä̲.
I want limes. Give me.
You: Ɛ jɛn. Moc rɔɔdu̲.
Okay. Give youself.
Child: Moocä̲ ŋɔ u̲? Bä̲ rɔ moc.
I give myself? I will give myself.
i.e. Give myself some, do you mean? I will give myself some.

A person comes visiting and you ask if someone else come with him. He came alone.

You: Cia bɛ̲n yɛnɛ dä̲muɔɔr mëëpan?
Do you come and your brother yesterday?
He: Ɣëc ɤä̲n /ka̲n bɛ̲n kɔnɛ dä̲maar. Cä̲ bɛ̲n ɤä̲n kä̲ rɔaadä̲.
No, I did not come and my brother. I came I by myself.

You are telling someone to do only one thing and to do it by himself.

You: Jï̲n, wu̲tɛ, bër, lä̲tni̲ nɛmɛ kä̲ rɔa. /Cu̲ nɔmɔ la̲t.
You, fellow, come, do this by yourself. Don't do that.
  Guic nɛmɛ, Lä̲tni̲ jɛ jï̲n puɔ̲nydu̲ ni̲ jï̲n kä̲ rɔaadu̲.
Look at this do it you yourself you by yourself.



  1. This diphthong goes from a front position way to the back of the throat.
  2. Continue drills.


  1. The intensive pronoun is formed from the noun "body" [puɔ̲ny] which is given the possessive adjective endings. Its limited grammatical environment avoids confusion with the word [puɔ̲ny] -- body. It is only used as an intensifier in apposition with a noun or pronoun. Its meaning is one of intensity and might be translated "I even I" or "that very man" etc. Note: If a noun is modified by other words the intensive is always spoken last. e.g. [Göörä̲ wu̲t ɤ di̲i̲t ɛmɔ puɔ̲nydɛ. ] -- I want this big man himself.

    Intensive pronoun

    puɔ̲nydä̲ pua̲nykɔn (in)
    puɔ̲nydu̲ pua̲nykɔ (ex)
    puɔ̲nydɛ pua̲nyku̲n
  2. The reflexive pronoun [rɔ - ro̲] occurs in 2 grammatical situations. It occurs as direct object of the verb or as an indirect object with the preposition [kä̲]. It may or may not be declined with the possessive adjective endings. Declension can occur only with the singular form [rɔ] in E. Nuer. The declined form is optional. The declined form tends to strengthen and clarify the meaning. Note: When [rɔ] is declined the vowel is lengthened. [kä̲] is always hi tone.
  3. When the action changes from a direct effect upon self to the self's effect on something else, [rɔ] changes to [rɔa] and the plural remains [ro̲]. This form may or may not be declined without affecting the meaning. Note: Redundancy in subjects and objects is not only permissible but constantly employed in Nuer.
  4. [cɛ rɔ nyok] is an expression which means "It happened again" literally. "it repeated itself".
  5. Go back to Lesson 20 and study in the light of this lesson the use of [kɛ kui̲c].
Nuer Field Project Nouns Verbs Verb Book Expressions Grammar Genesis Others