Nuer Field Project

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

Lesson 32

This lesson will explain [ïth] meaning "which" and [winith?] meaning "where?".

A possible conversation.

You: Wu̲t ɛmɔ puɔ̲nydɛ bëë wïnïth?
That man himself where does he come from?
Friend: Kua̲cä̲ jɛ. Diɛwä̲ i̲ bëë kä̲ thɔ̲ŋɔ.
I don't know it. It is my supposition that he comes from that direction.
You: Kä̲ thɔ̲ŋ ïth?
From which direction?
Friend: Kä̲ Wakrial, diɛwdä̲.
From Wakrial, is my supposition.



  1. This consonant is made with the tongue pressed against the ridge of the mouth and protruding slightly between the teeth. It occurs in word initial and word final positions.


  1. [ïth] acts as
    1. an interrogative noun modifier meaning "which?". Its plural form is [tïth]. It either modifies the noun directly or occurs together with a relative pronoun.
      • Ɛ gat ïth? -- Which child is it?
      • Ɛ gat ïm ïth? -- Which child is it?
      • Kɛ gaat tïn tïth? -- Which children are they?
    2. It acts as a predicate nominative or a direct object when it occurs in a relative phrase with the definite relative pronoun [mïn-tïn].
      • Ɛ mïn mïth? -- It is which one?
      • Kɛ tïn tïth? -- They are which ones?
      • Go̲o̲ri̲ tïn tïth? -- Which ones do you want?
  2. [wïnïth?] is obviously a double word meaning possibly "which going?", i.e. "which direction?" or "which place?" but the true meaning is "where?". It differs in meaning from [ni̲?] whenever a large territory is in question, otherwise the words are used inter-changeably.
    e.g. If you were lost someplace you would say [ɤä̲n a wïnïth tä̲ä̲mɛ?] -- Where am I? You want to know the area you are in. [Ɣä̲n a nï?] would invite the answer [Jï̲n a thï̲n]. because it is an immediate presence.
    Grammatically [wïnïth] acts like a noun occurring in all cases except the genitive. It has no change in form.
  3. [ïth] may be given the possessive adjective endings resulting in the meaning "which of me?", "which of you?", "which of them?" etc. It occurs generally in the singular.
    ïmïthdä̲ ïmïthdan
    ïmïthdu̲ ïmïthda
    ïmïthdɛ ïmïthdu̲n
    e.g. [Jï̲n go̲o̲ri̲ ïmïthdiɛn?] Which one of them do you want?
Nuer Field Project Nouns Verbs Verb Book Expressions Grammar Genesis Others