Nuer Field Project

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

Lesson 10

This lesson continues with the Genitive case, and introduces the locative case.

  1. The Genitive case is used to express possession. For example in these English sentences: The son of the woman. The house of the man etc.
    Learn the following Nuer examples.
  2. The genitive is also used to express what would in English be the object of a preposition. Nuer has only three prepositions [kɛ], [kɛ̲̈], and [ɛ]. The words "under", "over", "behind" etc. are not prepositions, but are nouns used in the locative case. The noun of possession, then, is put into the genitive case instead of the objective case. or Learn the following Nuer examples.

The following is an attempt to explain the literal meanings of these locative-genitive constructions used in place of prepositional phrases.

  1. Jɛn a wi̲i̲ maac. literally -- It is at head of fire.
    It is on the fire.
    [Wic] means "head" and Nuer cooking is done on top of flame.
    [Jɛn a wi̲i̲ jiaath.] literally -- Hi is at head of tree.
    He is in the tree.
    He cannot be [rɛy] "in" the tree because a tree is not a vessel or container. he is not on the underside of the branches, hence he is on the top or on the head ofthe branches.
  2. [Jɛn a thaar luaak.] literally -- He is at underneath of barn.
    He is at the back of the barn.
    The "underneath" is the inside back of buildings, canoes or places including villages. It can also mean the underside of some object.
  3. [Jɛn a jɔc luaak.] literally -- He is at back of barn.
    He is behind the barn.
    Like a person's body, a building has a front and back on the outside.
  4. [Jɛn a kui̲ luaak.] literally -- He is across of barn.
    He is on the other side of the barn.
    This refers to either inside or outside, but across from the speaker.
  5. [Jɛn a rɛy luaak] literally -- He is at inside of barn.
    He is inside the barn.
    This refers to the inside in the literal sense [Rɛy] indicates that the object referred to has sides, boundary or some limitations which make it capable of containing something within it.

Note: The literal translation of the above sentences omits the definite or indefinite articles "a" or "the" because Nuer does not have these words, however the idea is included in the meaning.

Nuer Field Project Nouns Verbs Verb Book Expressions Grammar Genesis Others